13 Jul 2009

England cricketers hold on for Ashes draw

7:34 am on 13 July 2009

England tailenders James Anderson and Monty Panesar denied Australia victory in the first Ashes test with an heroic unbeaten last-wicket stand before an ecstatic capacity 16,000-strong crowd on Sunday.

Victory seemed assured for the Australians when Paul Collingwood was dismissed for 74, after five hours 43 minutes of dogged resistance, with England still needing six to make Australia bat again and a minimum 11.3 overs remaining.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting put his faith in off-spinners Nathan Hauritz and Marcus North for the final overs after taking pace bowler Peter Siddle out of the attack.

Anderson (21 not out) and Panesar (seven not out), playing resolutely straight, defied the bowling with the former negotiating the final over from Hauritz to tumultuous applause from the crowd at Cardiff.

Ponting said he would be happy to give away his man-of-the-match medal in exchange for one more wicket and 20 fewer England runs.