Australia aim to bat out for draw - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Australia aim to bat out for draw

By Adam Cooper 15/08/2005 05:55:47 AM Comments (0)

A draw appears Australia's best result in the third Test against England, which concludes at Old Trafford.

Australia's struggling batsmen must produce their best collective effort of the series to bat out the day to avoid going down 2-1 in the series, as fine weather is forecast and the wicket could contain a few gremlins.

Australia will resume on 0-24, having been set a Test record 423 to win, but will be more focused on batting for six hours rather than blasting the 399 more runs needed for victory.

That will be a big ask for the specialist batsmen, of which only Justin Langer is averaging above 40 this series.

Fast bowler Glenn McGrath, who took 5-115 in England's second innings, admitted the world champions faced a big challenge to bat on the last day on a wicket that would provide some turn for left-arm spinner Ashley Giles and some assistance for the pacemen, who have used reverse swing well this series.

"It is reasonably tough to bat out there, it's turning a bit out of the rough," McGrath said.

"The ball's going reverse swing after about the 15-over mark and it's about the 15 to 20-over period there where the ball's still hard and it's quite tough work ... so that initial period, if we can get through the first 15 or 20 overs, that will be toughest."

England set Australia a monster run-chase on the back of some aggressive batting in the second innings from opener Andrew Strauss and No.4 Ian Bell, who added 127 runs in a third-wicket stand that broke the tourists' spirit.

Strauss more than doubled his series aggregate by making 106 - his sixth century in his 17th Test - and handled the spin of Shane Warne much better than he did last Test, when he was twice bowled by the legspinner.

"It's a big thing to get a hundred against the Aussies in whatever circumstances really," Strauss said.

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