It was cracker till the last ball when England's Kevin Pietersen dismissed Michael Clark to land Australia a heavy blow on day four of the second Ashes test at Adelaide. The wicket left Australia at 238/4 needing 137 runs more to avoid an innings defeat on day five.
With rain predicted in the forecast, England skipper Andrew Strauss' decision to continue batting despite his side already holding a commanding lead of 306 was questionable. However, England added 69 runs to their overnight total and declared on 620-5, with Pietersen scoring a career best 227 before falling to Xavier Doherty.
Australia started strongly enough, with Simon Katich and Shane Watson stitching an opening stand of 84. But Katich fell to Graeme Swann, who troubled the Aussie line the whole day, when he edged behind on 43.
They weren't helped by skipper Ricky Ponting's quick dismissal to Swann. The bowler had the Aussie skipper dancing to his tunes and he took 13 deliveries to get off the mark. Though he punished Swann with a cut and sweep, both which made the fence, he was walking back when he edged Swann's off-spinner to first slip. It hasn't been a happy return to Adelaide for Ponting, with the skipper failing to replicate his usual good form at the ground.
It was up to Watson take them on from there, but the Aussie opener yet again failed to convert a 50 into a 100. Steven Finn's patience paid off when Watson edged to first slip on 57 and the Aussies were left reeling with 134-3.
However, Michael Clarke shook-off his bad form and back problems with a solid knock of 80, including 11 boundaries. His fourth wicket stand of 104 with Michael Hussey (44 not out), helped Australia to a much needed 238.
But England would have the final say on day four and Kevin Pietersen, who had opened the day with his career best score on the bat, struck the crucial blow. On the last ball of the day, the right-arm spinner's delivery was inside-edged into his own pad by Clarke, and the looping rebound was well caught by Alastair Cook. The late drama wasn't over as umpire Tony Hill called the appeal not out, but England reviewed successfully to make for an enticing final day.
With Clarke's dismissal, Australia need a steady innings from Hussey, North and Haddin. With the possibility of rain on the fifth day, the Aussies will try and bat out for a draw. However, a draw will be hard on the visitors who have performed impressively in the series so far and they will hope James Anderson, who was a bit off colour on day four, can replicate the sort of form that saw him take 4-51 in the first innings.