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Lee, Ponting give Australia easy win

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July 10, 2005 23:54 IST


Brett Lee ripped the heart out of the England batting and Ricky Ponting stroked a century as Australia cruised to a seven-wicket win to level their three-match series 1-1 at Lord's on Sunday.

Strike bowler Lee took five for 41, England struggling to 223 for eight, before the world champions jogged home with 34 balls to spare.

Ponting, barely troubled, was back to his best after a run of poor scores to record his 18th one-day international century, jumping with joy and waving his bat in the air after reaching the mark.

He was dismissed just before the end for 111 off 115 balls, hitting one six and 14 fours. He and Damien Martyn put on 120 for the third wicket.

The win, however, after the home team won the first encounter just as conclusively, had been all but secured before Lee and Ponting got into gear.

Glenn McGrath and Michael Kasprowicz, exploiting the early juice in the pitch after Australia won the toss, took three wickets for three runs in 18 balls to leave Michael Vaughan's men reeling on 28 for three in the 11th over.

Andrew Flintoff, with a well-crafted 87 full of powerful pulls to mid-wicket, and Paul Collingwood (34) saved face with a century stand for the fifth wicket as the conditions eased, but Australia never released their stranglehold.


Coach John Buchanan believes the English top order is technically suspect. It was hard to argue after Andrew Strauss, tucked up, chopped Kasprowicz's first ball into his stumps, Vaughan went lbw without offering a shot to McGrath and Marcus Trescothick inside-edged behind to give Kasprowicz early figures of 2-1-2-2.

Lee, used in four bursts, then removed Kevin Pietersen for 15 to make it 45 for four and Flintoff was left to salvage what he could.

His rare shows of belligerence came at Jason Gillespie's expense. The all rounder, favouring the swivel-pull, hoisted Gillespie for two fours in one over, followed by a mid-wicket six.

Lee then hoovered up the rest of the middle order.

Flintoff, accelerating after a nicely-paced innings, pulled Andrew Symonds's medium pacer for a four and a six before he carved Lee high to Mike Hussey at deep point.

Lee's fifth wicket was his most spectacular, Ashley Giles driving to extra cover where Ponting went full length to his right to take a one-handed catch.

England's bowlers never threatened when the Australians replied. Offered a string of short-pitched deliveries, Adam Gilchrist whacked 29 off 20 balls - his opening partner Simon Katich had still not got off the mark - to set the tone.

Gilchrist, bowled by a Darren Gough no-ball in his first over, then edged Flintoff behind with his second ball and Katich later lofted Ashley Giles's left-arm spin to long on after making 30.

But Ponting and Damien Martyn made sure there would be no further drama. Ponting was finally caught at mid-wicket off a Gough full toss.

The most exciting moment came when a Lancaster bomber escorted by two World War Two fighters flew over Lord's as part of a week of commemorations.

There was a minute's silence before the game as a mark of respect to those killed in the London bombings on Thursday.

The teams meet in the decider at The Oval on Tuesday before the Ashes begin on July 21.

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