From Sam Collins at The Gabba
Close: first Test, day five, Brisbane
Match score: Australia 107-1 (Watson 40, Ponting 50) and 481 (Hussey 193, Haddin 136, Finn 6-125) drew with England 517-1 (Cook 235*, Trott 135*, Strauss 110) and 260 (Bell 76, Cook 67, Siddle 6-54)
Session score: Australia 96-0 Australia win
Session in six words: Ponting hits defiant fifty in draw
And so it ended with a handshake. A match of resuscitation and humiliation, when England’s batsmen showed their best and worst, and both sides the limitation of their bowling attacks, ended rather curiously with Australia in the ascendancy. England’s declaration was oddly timed, allowing Ricky Ponting enough time to lay another blow on the confidence of Graeme Swann, and smash Finn when he dropped short. When Finn cracked Ponting on the head with a well-aimed bouncer it was almost impertinent – bad move, that was a shock that got him going.
If anything, the pitch has been the villain in this game, save for a few that hit the cracks it stayed true until the last, offering little hope of a result save for inexplicable implosion. It has meant a long five days for the players – both teams had sessions of over 150 overs in the field, and yet the Adelaide Oval looms on Friday. Australia will consider changes – they have called Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris to join their squad – and while England are likely to remain unchanged they also have things to consider, namely the form of Swann, the rawness of Finn and whether Ian Bell is batting a place too low at six.
Travelling English will take heart that the result means the series is guaranteed to be alive in Melbourne. Yet ultimately this will be remembered as the day England made 517-1 in Australia. Enjoy it.
Sam Collins is TWC’s man in Australia and will be blogging on TWC and sampsoncollins.wordpress.com throughout the Ashes
Read more on the Ashes:
Sam Collins’ morning session from day 3
Columns of conviction: Hussey good, Clarke bad
Sam Collins’ second day
Columns of conviction: The Aussie press go Siddle mad
Sam Collins’ first day – session-by-session
Alan Tyers: Ashes cliché drinking game
Lawrence Booth: 10 Ashes things to look forward to
Daniel Brigham: Are England good enough?
Jrod: Bored by the fake fight
Sam Collins: Cycling to the Ashes – the end of the road
Sam Collins: Australia in need of Ashes inspiration
Benj Moorehead: it all seems too good for England
Sam Collins: the temptations of tours