Stubborn England force dramatic Ashes draw - Cricket - Sport - The Independent

Stubborn England force dramatic Ashes draw

Paul Collingwood's determined effort proved just enough today as England secured a nailbiting Ashes Test draw in Cardiff.

Collingwood dragged England to the verge of salvation in the first npower Test with 74, in almost six hours at the crease, and final pair James Anderson and Monty Panesar somehow combined for 39 minutes to secure the stalemate in the series opener.

The last-wicket duo began their stand six runs behind but managed to sneak themselves in front and then ran down the clock to deny Australia the chance to bat again.

A capacity crowd cheered virtually every ball of their 19-run stand, which spanned 69 deliveries, and they left the field at 6.41pm to a mass standing ovation.

Collingwood was dismissed in the 87th over of the day with his team agonisingly close to parity.

His gutsy innings came to its conclusion in the tamest of manners, however, to swing the momentum back to Australia.

A half-hearted cut at Peter Siddle was palmed into the air and claimed at the second attempt by Michael Hussey in the gully with England still six runs short of their most immediate target.

The drama intensified when number 10 Anderson jabbed down on consecutive yorkers from Siddle.

Both went behind square on the off-side for four, the first of which received the biggest cheer of the entire match as it put England into credit by one run.

Suddenly every single ball negotiated was being greeted raucously, evoking memories of the theatre of the 2005 series here.

But as the seconds ticked by, England showed some gamesmanship by sending out spare batting gloves.

England's delaying tactics - 12th man Bilal Shafayat reappeared for a second time along with physio Steve McCaig with three overs remaining - clearly angered Australia captain Ricky Ponting and umpire Aleem Dar ushered them from the field.

Ponting turned to part-time spinner Marcus North in tandem with Hauritz in a bid to get extra overs in but with 10 minutes required between innings, the result was confirmed at 6.41pm.

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