Tourists march on as McGrath makes mark

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The Independent Online

Australia marched ruthlessly towards a major first innings lead in the second Test today after Glenn McGrath had made his mark once again on the Lord's Honours Board.

Four years on from claiming eight for 38 in the drawn Ashes Test at this venue to earn the right to have his name engraved on the Pavilion Board for bowlers with five wickets or more in an innings, McGrath delivered another brilliant performance to end England's hopes of setting a challenging total.

He claimed five for 54, including five for 12 in 74 balls, as England slipped to 187 all out having resumed on 121 for four with the aim of reaching 350 to put pressure on the Australian batsmen for the first time in the series.

Opening bowlers Andrew Caddick and Darren Gough attempted to mount a counter–attack and both claimed an early wicket to leave Australia on 27 for two, but by tea on the second day they had recovered to only 69 behind on 118 for three, with Mark Waugh unbeaten on 61 while brother Steve had reached two.

Having lost the opening Test by an innings, England knew they had to at least avoid defeat at Lord's to prevent Australia virtually wrapping up the series already, and a good start today with Graham Thorpe and Alec Stewart at the crease was crucial to that objective.

Instead their partnership was broken from the 15th ball of the day when McGrath deceived Stewart with extra bounce and he edged behind to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.

Thorpe fell in a similar manner 11 deliveries later when McGrath angled the ball into him before it lifted and seamed away and was edged behind for Gilchrist to take another catch.

McGrath completed the 19th five–wicket haul of his illustrious Test career just four overs later with Craig White driving loosely away from his body and picking out Matthew Hayden in the gully to record his third duck in the last five Test innings.

At least Dominic Cork offered some resistance, hooking McGrath for six during an entertaining innings of 24 from only 28 balls, before Jason Gillespie was brought into the attack and induced the Derbyshire all–rounder into cutting straight to Ricky Ponting at cover.

Shane Warne, forced into a secondary role by McGrath's brilliance, chipped in with the final two wickets to remove Caddick and Gough just before the lunch interval to leave an expectant Lord's crowd fearing the worst.

It took only nine balls for Caddick to make the early breakthrough, surprising Hayden with the bounce and Mark Butcher took an excellent low catch at second slip.

Gough, always fiercely competitive of his new ball partner, followed suit three balls later to end a threatening innings from Ponting when a sharply rising delivery caught the shoulder of his bat and looped to Thorpe at second slip.

That was England's last success for another 20 overs. Michael Slater and Mark Waugh plundered the lack of penetration offered by both White and Cork to forge a 78–run partnership from 123 deliveries.

Slater was dismissed just three overs before tea when his unusually cautious approach, hitting only two boundaries during his nearly two hour stay at the crease, was abandoned following Caddick's return to the attack and he edged behind attempting to hook his loosener.

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