Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Just Mac-Nificent!

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Just Mac-Nificent!

Article excerpt

Glenn McGrath marked his return to Test cricket by making key contributions with bat and ball to plunge England into trouble in the opening Ashes Test.

The 36-year-old seamer, playing his first Test since January having taken time out to care for his ill wife Jane, ensured Australia finished the second day at the Gabba firmly in control.

McGrath firstly made an important contribution with the bat by scoring an unbeaten eight and helping Brett Lee forge a 24-run unbroken last-wicket stand which enabled Australia to declare on an imposing 602-9.

Then he excelled with the ball by dismissing both England openers as the tourists slipped to 53-3 by the close, leaving them adrift and needing a further 350 runs to avoid the follow on.

Andrew Strauss had progressed to 12 when he attempted to pull a ball from outside off stump in McGrath's third over and found the safe hands of former Durham captain Mike Hussey at backward square, who trod on the advancing Lee's left knee to take the catch.

Having crossed while the ball was in the air, McGrath (pictured) then dismissed left-hander Alastair Cook after coming around the wicket and squaring up the Essex batsman who edged to Shane Warne at first slip.

England's start to their innings had continued another frustrating day when Australia's lower order had added useful runs to undermine an epic fast-bowling display from captain Andrew Flintoff.

Australia's last three wickets added 102 runs to help them reach their highest score against England on home soil since 1946-7 after Ricky Ponting had progressed from his overnight 137 to hit 196 and Michael Clarke contributed a useful 56.

However, it was the lower order which frustrated England with Stuart Clark, playing his first home Test match, hammering 39 off only 23 balls including successive sixes off James Anderson while Lee finished unbeaten on 43. …

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