My picks of the third day:
Record breaker Kevin Pietersen has put England on top with his second Test-career double-century, giving the visitors a massive 306-run lead on the third day at the Adelaide Oval. Hitting one six and 31 fours, KP helped England to 551-4 before rain prevented any further play after tea, leaving Australia reeling and wondering when they will have to face the taunting and terrorising England bowling music with the bat.
Run of Play: Advantage to...
1st session, England 449-3, 204 ahead at lunch: England happy and healthy scoring 132 off 26 overs this session, that's over 5 runs per over! KP thriving and bashing on 159, Colly joining in on 40, England look unstoppable, Australia and Ponting in disbelief.
2nd session, England 551-4, 306 ahead at tea: England smashing boundary after boundary, partnership after partnership, KP breaking record after record, Australia in no man's land, Ponting clueless who or what to resort to to change the trend of the game.
3rd session, England 551-4, 306 ahead at the end of day three: Rain ends the day at tea, England will be contemplating whether and when to declare and put the Aussies on to bat on day four, Australia will be doing the rain dance.
Partnerships: It's all about Kevin Pietersen today, scoring boundary after boundary, holding one partnership after another: 175 with Alastair Cook (c Haddin b Harris for 148 off 269), 101 with Paul Collingwood (lbw b Watson for 42 off 70) and lastly and still standing at 99 Ian Bell joining the smashing record breaker (on 41 off 76). With 213 off 296, including 32 fours and 1 six, KP hit the record score at the Adelaide Oval, breaking Cook's record of 206 from 2006. After all the criticism he had to face over the last year or two, since losing his captaincy and form, this could not have been a better stage and a stronger performance to prove his doubters wrong. Yes, it's not the same Australian side as in the last few Ashes series, but, that should not and does not nullify Pietersen's achievement here today, exemplary top class cricket, no doubt about it.
Bowling: Ricky Ponting looked clueless who or what to turn to next. Doug Bollinger, Peter Siddle and Xavier Doherty were all England's victims with poor bowling and no sign of confidence, getting smashed all over the place. Ryan Harris was the only bowler who got something out of the pitch, keeping the batsmen guessing and that little bit wondering and worried with their bats dangling. Signs of desperation were useless and pointless reviews, lots of misfielding and skipper Ponting not having many options to take or turn to to change the trend of the game.
Ups: Bam - boom - bang, smash, hit, score. That was the tone and trend of the day. A couple of wickets fell as well of course, but KP and England made sure they were quickly forgotten and rode the show with the bat.
Downs: The rain, ending the grand day at tea - the Aussies will certainly be hoping for more of that the next two days, because I cannot see anything or anyone else saving them.
Hero to zero: Again Australia lacked options, Ricky Ponting looked a very lonely man indeed. He and everyone watching is left wondering who will be the one to step up and break up England, who will be the hero for Australia. So far, there is none, niente, zero - Harris is the only man I feel who looks able and is at least trying to make a competition of it against England so far.
Australia v England second Test day three as it happened
- Kevin Pietersen v Doug Bollinger to kick off the third day of the second Test at the Adelaide Oval, England 317-2, lead by 72, Alastair Cook on 136, Pietersen on 85, 141 partnership off 243 deliveries.
- Boundary for KP off the last ball of Bollinger's over, 321-2 after 90 overs.
- Cook v Ryan Harris at the other end, 1 0 0 0 1 0, 323-2 after 91 overs.
- Pietersen has been dismissed in his 90s five times before in his career... 1 0 0 0 0 0, 324-2 after 92 overs.
- Lbw appeal, Harris v Cook, not given, leg bye signalled, Ponting sends it to the third umpire for a review, looked outside the line plus there may have been a hint of inside edge, replay confirms, not out, Australia give away a review in desperation. Boundary brings up 150 partnership, 153 off 266, Cook contributing 59 off 113 and KP 91 off 153. 1lb 0 0 0 4 0, 329-2 after 93 overs.
- 0 0 3 2 1 1, 336-2 after 94 overs.
- KP's century drought has come to an end, his 17th in his career, 3rd v Australia, all top four batsmen have now already scored centuries for England against Australia in this Ashes series, 343-2 after 95 overs.
- Pietersen boundary brings up 100 lead for England, 347-2 after 96 overs.
- Harris v Pietersen, gets him in a mighty tangle with a high bouncer, right in the face, followed by another quick bouncer which KP smashes up but is lucky that the ball drops to ground nowhere near a fieldsman, boundary through Clarke's legs the next delivery, frustration to embarrasment - to joy! Haddin catches Cook's chip, what a catch, jump far and low to his right, Cook knows it came of his bat, big inside edge, and he walks without opting for a review, standing ovation, Cook out for 148 off 269, England 351-3. Paul Collingwood is on. Good, impressive over by Harris, 0 1 2 W 0 0, 351-3, 106 ahead after 97 overs.
- KP is skipping now against a slowed down Bollinger, hitting him left, right and centre, for a couple here, a boundary there, 357-3 after 98 overs, lead by 112.
- Harris not looking very comfortable, he seems to be having problem with his shoulder, but finishes with a maiden over, 357-3 after 99 overs.
- Figures so far today: 10 overs, 40 runs, 1 wicket, 12.4 over rate, 4 run rate.
- Peter Siddle is on for Bollinger, v KP, bangs in a bouncer to start with... 0 4 4 1 0 0, 366-3 after 100 overs.
- Poor bouncers by Siddle, Collingwood survives a couple, two slips and two gullies set against him after long mangling and hangling by Ricky Ponting. His tactical change didn't work there, at all! Pietersen 121 off 174.
- Harris into his sixth over in this spell, Collingwood off the mark running four, followed by a misfield-single. 372-3 after 101, 3.68 is the healthy run rate putting England in a very strong position for a massive total again.
- 4 byes from a massive reverse swing, no chance for the keeper, Siddle's surprised himself, 378-3 after 102 overs, drinks come on after an hour's play this morning, England averaging about one run per minute, 4.7 per over, healthy rates.
- Xavier Doherty on for Harris v KP, who has shown weakness against left-arm spin in the past, a couple of boundaries, 9 runs in total off the over, early signs of the day not good for Doherty, England 387-3 after 103 overs.
- Yet another boundary brings up KP's 150, his 6th 150+ score.
- KP finds the gap, between two fielders for yet another four, the Aussies were shouting for a catch...
- This session: 26 overs, 132 runs, 1 wicket, 13 over rate, 5.08 run rate, England happy and healthy on 449-3 after 115 overs, lead by 204 at lunch, KP on 159, Colly on 40, Ponting in disbelief.
- Collingwood out after just passing the 100 partnership with KP, lbw, no review, ball hit both pads, deep in the crease, plumb, Colly out for 42 (70), England 452-4, Ian Bell's off the mark with a boundary.
- Lbw + catch-it shouts v Bell, not out, not worth a review as there was an obvious inside edge, the Aussies clutching onto any straw or anything right now.
- Austrlia looking very tired, hobbling around, showing no variety, change, Ponting one lonely man.
- Harris v Pietersen, the only bowler who kept the batsmen guessing and that little bit wondering and worried, beats KP first ball, the ball passing his dangling bat. 493-4 after that over.
- Pietersen boundary and tight single brings up 500 for England, looks like KP pulled a hamstring there.
- 50 partnership, KP contributing 28 off 44, Bell 20 off 40.
- Boundary after boundary after boundary... England pass 275-lead... Pietersen moves onto 198, Bell 30...
- And that's KP's 2nd Test double-century for England, he's the man, he has made Adelaide his own today. Bell wants his say as well, pushing in a boundary of his own. Light drizzle around...
- More clean strikes and boundaries bring up the 300 lead for England and a record to KP, the highest scorer at this ground. Expensive over for Doherty brings up 550 for England, 14 runs from it, 551-4.
- 102 runs from 28 overs this session, 3.64 run rate, 99 partnership between Pietersen (213 off 296, record score at the Adelaide Oval, breaking Cook's record of 206 from 2006, 32 fours, 1 six) and Bell (41 off 75), 551-4, a lead of 306 runs after 143 overs at tea.
- And that's it for the day, rain taking over at Adelaide, England will be contemplating whether and when to declare and put the Aussies on to bat on day four, Australia will be doing the rain dance.