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Gilchrist flays England

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Last updated on: July 12, 2005 22:47 IST


Australia, with the irrepressible Adam Gilchrist back at centre stage, completed a timely Ashes warning by routing England by eight wickets to win the one-day series 2-1 on Tuesday.

With the first Ashes Test just over a week away, the World champions produced a clinical performance, first to restrict England to 228 for seven, then to win with 15.1 overs to spare.

Gilchrist, owing his team mates more than a hard-hit cameo, blitzed 121 not out, his highest score of the English summer. He scored his runs off 101 balls.

Jason Gillespie, though, was as much a cherry on top of the Australian cake. Woefully off-colour and struggling for form, the fast bowler bounced back with three for 44, including the wicket of Kevin Pietersen.

Pietersen, the one England highlight and hoping to be selected for the first Test at Lord's starting next Thurday, made 74 off 84 balls.

England, put in by Australia, lost five wickets for 49 runs to slump to 93 for six before Pietersen linked with 'supersub' Vikram Solanki in a 93-run stand for the seventh wicket.

The home side had been in such disarray that captain Michael Vaughan was forced to sacrifice opening bowler Simon Jones - named in the starting 11 - and call on Solanki to try and post a decent total.

Solanki finished on 53 not out from 63 deliveries as 80 runs came off the last 10 overs. Pietersen boosted his hopes of Ashes selection in hitting two sixes and seven fours.

Australia, as they had done in the previous game at Lord's, took an immediate stranglehold. While Glenn McGrath bottled up one end, Brett Lee broke through when Marcus Trescothick, yet to score, threw away his wicket with a lazy uppercut to third man.

The world champions then produced two extraordinary lapses. McGrath had reeled off four maidens when Vaughan top-edged a pull which skied to fine leg, only for Gillespie inexplicably to grass the ball.

That should have made it 22 to two and it could have been 28 for three in the 11th over when Andrew Strauss top-edged another pull, this time off Michael Kasprowicz, only for Adam Gilchrist, running back, to let the ball slip through his gloves.

It did not matter much. Vaughan, after a couple of perfect cover drives, called for a run from the non-striker's end and Ricky Ponting ran him out for 15 with a direct hit.

Strauss fed off Kasprowicz with a string of cuts for four but, on 36, he edged the same bowler behind to make it 61 for three. Andrew Flintoff came and went in the same fashion and Paul Collingwood also did not hang around, a leading edge off Gillespie pouched at cover by Andrew Symonds.

When Geraint Jones gave Gillespie a second wicket in 10 deliveries, flat-batting a catch to wide third man, England were in such a mess that they opted to bring on 12th man Solanki.

Pietersen, on 40, survived a one-handed catch as he launched a six off Michael Clarke's left-arm spin.

Kasprowicz jumped up, took the ball way above his head and fell over the boundary rope at long on.

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