Spirited spinner earns respect from Australia

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"We're behind in the game, there is no doubt about that," he said. "But as you saw at Edgbaston there is a lot of fight in the Australian team and there is a still a lot of cricket to be played in this match.

"We created opportunities and failed to capitalise on them but England are consistently delivering in their game plan and in Giles and Jones had two bowlers who are doing a fantastic job for their team.

"All the talk has been about Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff and then they pull out these two rabbits to come in and take the wickets.

"Ashley Giles troubled the left-handers today by putting the ball in the right area and I thought he bowled a very good ball to get Damien Martyn. He is doing the job they seem to want him to do.

"Jones has the knack of coming on and picking up a wicket almost in the first over he bowls. He has not taken a lot of wickets in the series but they have often been vital ones. With guys like that performing, it gives Vaughan the confidence to toss them the ball and give the likes of Flintoff and Harmison a bit of a blow."

Jones finished the day with 3 for 30 from 11 overs and Giles 3 for 66 from 11, the latter imploring his team-mates to ensure the opportunity created does not go to waste.

"We are in a great position," he said. "To have Australia 210 for 7 is fantastic but we cannot afford to take our foot off the accelerator. This is crunch time, this Test is vital in the series."

Buchanan defended his under-pressure fast bowler, Jason Gillespie, whose struggle to find form has added to Australia's problems, not the least of which is the back injury that obliged Michael Clarke to bat with a runner. Bowlers Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee, of course, are both playing after their participation was in serious doubt. Gillespie, Australia's fifth all-time leading wicket-taker, conceded 100 runs in an innings in comfortably the quickest time in his career.

Five previous instances occurred on occasions when he was asked to bowl up to 40 overs but in this match he has been the least used of Australia's four front-liners. He bowled 19 overs and his deficit was in three figures by the 17th.

"Jason is going through a hollow period but when you get to 251 Test wickets in a career it does not come by chance," Buchanan said. "England have targeted his length but the biggest thing for anyone who is struggling is to go back to the basics, to do the things that allow them to succeed. If we can make some adjustments to his length I'm sure he can be more consistent."

When, at last, Gillespie did enjoy a moment of success, hurrying one through to locate Geraint Jones's off stump, he celebrated with feeling, wagging a finger, one supposed, in the direction of the England fans who had taken such delight in watching him toil. "Where's your caravan?" they enquired, in the subtle way that football crowds routinely taunt anyone whose hair exceeds collar length, inferring some sort of gypsy heritage. Gillespie, in fact, has Aborigine roots, of which he is proud.

He had a right to be offended. Some sympathy, then, was in order. But there is no disguising his figures.

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