SYDNEY: Michael Vaughan scored an unbeaten century for England yesterday after Adam Gilchrist blasted a hundred for Australia to lay the foundations for a thrilling end to the fifth and final Ashes Test.
Vaughan made 113 not out to help England finish the day on 218 for two in their second innings after Gilchrist made 133 to guide Australia to a first innings total of 363, just one run ahead of England’s 362.
With England 217 runs ahead with eight second innings wickets in hand and two days still to play, the match seems headed towards a tight finish after Australia easily won the first four games.
Vaughan overtook Matthew Hayden as the leading run-scorer in the series (563) with his third hundred following his 177 in Adelaide and 145 in Melbourne, becoming the first Englishman since Chris Broad in 1986-87 to make three tons in an Ashes series.
The 28-year-old Vaughan made a duck in the first innings but responded with a classic second innings knock that featured 16 fours and a six to every part of the Sydney Cricket Ground.
He reached his fifty off 66 balls then hit Damien Martyn for successive fours to pass 100 from 147 deliveries.
He was dropped by Justin Langer on 102 but survived to fight another day, sharing an unbroken 94-run partnership with his captain Nasser Hussain (34 not out).
Vaughan was well supported by the rest of England’s top order with first innings centurion Mark Butcher (34) and opener Marcus Trescothick (22) making valuable contributions against an Australian attack badly missing Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
Their efforts helped swing the balance back England’s way after Australia had fought hard for a one-run lead on the first innings thanks to Gilchrist’s swashbuckling display.
CAPE TOWN: South Africa are set to become the first side to displace Australia at the top of the world test championship after moving to the brink of victory over Pakistan in the second test yesterday.
Pakistan were struggling at 184 for five in their follow on innings at the close on the third day.The tourists were dismissed for 252 in their first innings in reply to South Africa's 620 for seven,still 368 runs behind.
South Africa lead the two-match series 1-0 and a victory at Newlands would put them ahead of Australia, who have led the test championship since it was inaugurated in May 2001.
The home side capped a fine day in the field in the final over when Yousuf Youhana was caught at long on by Jacques Kallis off Nicky Boje for 50, scored off only 29 balls with six fours and two sixes.It was the second fastest test half century of all time.
Earlier,Pakistan lost their final six first innings wickets for the addition of just 12 runs in the space of 44 balls as Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini ripped through the middle and lower order leaving them 169 runs short of the follow on target of 421.
Pollock finished with four for 45 and Ntini four for 62 after fast bowler Mornantau Hayward removed Inzamam-ul-Haq and Youhana in the space of two balls just before lunch.
Only opener Taufeeq Umar offered any resistance to the bowling scoring a career best 135 off 253 balls.He then added 67 in the second innings as he and Inzamam put on 121 for the third wicket.– Agencies