Warne leaves England in a spin as Ashes whitewash beckons

SHANE WARNE savoured every second of his final confrontation with England to deliver one of his best all-round displays and put Australia on the brink of an Ashes whitewash.

The 37-year-old has claimed a staggering 193 wickets in 35 Tests to play a leading role in Australia’s Ashes dominance.

But he chose his final Test to deliver another of his cameo innings which put Australia in control as they attempt to claim the first 5-0 Ashes scoreline since 1920-21.

Warne hammered a brilliant 71 off only 65 balls to help transform a 103-run deficit overnight into a 102-run lead and by the close England were reeling, just 12 runs ahead on 114 for five.

Warne relished a sledging battle with Paul Collingwood which had to be diffused by umpire Billy Bowden.

It inspired Warne, who told Collingwood he might think to return his MBE after contributing just 17 runs in his only appearance during the Ashes win of 2005.

“It fires me up a bit and I told him that in Adelaide, too,” said Warne.

Australia had resumed on 188 for four and lost Mike Hussey in the second over of the day.

After a70-run partnership between Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist, Symonds was bowled by left-arm spinner Monty Panesar to mark the arrival of Warne to a standing ovation. He responded by sweeping his first ball for four and then pulling Panesar over mid-wicket for six.

Warne contributed 38 in a 58-run stand with Gilchrist off 44 balls.

Gilchrist was bowled out at 62 off 71 balls. Despite losing Brett Lee cheaply after tea, Warne still managed to add 75 runs for the final three wickets, including 68 with Stuart Clark, before being stumped charging Panesar.

Warne said: “I’m normally a terrible starter so I thought I’d try a few Red Bulls and I had a couple of them and I was buzzing out there.”

His efforts laid the foundations for another superlative display from Australia’s seamers.

Alastair Cook fell cheaply in the third over and two balls later Lee felled Andrew Strauss when he ducked into a bouncer and was hit at the back of the helmet.

Strauss then became one of two victims for Clark.

The only resistance was a 34-run stand between Kevin Pietersen and Collingwood, ended eight overs before the close when the Durham batsman drove Clark to gully. Finally Warne swooped to dismiss Flintoff, stumped by Gilchrist in the penultimate over.

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