England opener Andrew Strauss provided good resistance for the tourists but eventually entered himself into the history books as Warne’s 700th Test victim when he played inside a breaking delivery to be clean bowled for 50.
The partisan Victorian crowd went wild as the 37 year-old leg-spinner was mobbed by his teammates after reaching a momentous milestone, fittingly achieved with a magnificent delivery.
Pietersen’s position a mystery
England number five Kevin Pietersen crept to 21 off 70 deliveries after he watched his top order scratch around for runs, and his lower order desert him in what is becoming a worrying pattern in the English line up.
|England batsman Kevin Pietersen, left,
was deserted by his lower order [AFP]
Why England persist in playing clearly their best batsman after the fall of the fourth wicket is a mystery only to them, as everyone else can plainly see that the South African-born batsman is their key player.
Aussie quick Brett Lee started England’s demise when he had opener Alastair Cook caught behind for 11, before the impressive Stuart Clark had Ian Bell trapped LBW for seven.
Lee then had Paul Collingwood caught at second slip by Australian captain Ricky Ponting for a sketchy 28 before Warne took Test wicket number 700 to have Strauss trudging back to the pavilion after a solid half century.
Warne rips through lower order
Later in the innings Warne had replacement England keeper Chris Read caught at short cover by Ponting for three, and then helped clean up the tail, claiming the wickets of Stephen Harmison, Pietersen and Monty Panesar to finish with 5 for 39 in another sterling performance.
After the game Warne said he was suprised to have got so many wickets on a pitch that should have favoured the seamers.
“Whoever writes my scripts is doing an unbelievable job,” Warne told said. “I can’t stop shaking my head just believing it actually happened … it was a pretty amazing day.”
Once again England captain Andrew Flintoff came to his side’s rescue with the ball claiming the wickets of Langer and Lee, both caught behind by Read, to give England supporters something to cheer about going into the second days’ play.
The host side will be looking to take a big first innings lead on day two at the MCG as they push towards a dominating 5-0 series sweep to put the demons of 2005 to rest.