Champagne on ice

Joe Drabble is getting ready for the party of all parties after England moved within touching distance of victory

By Joe Drabble   Last updated: 6th January 2011  

Champagne on ice

England are on the brink in Sydney

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The fat lady is clearing her throat, the champagne is nestling in a bath of ice and Sydney is preparing for the party of all parties after England surged within touching distance of a series-clinching victory at the SCG.

It was another of those days you dream about today as everything went right for England and wrong for those hapless Aussies.

Matt Prior set the tone first up, surging from his overnight 54 to bring up his fourth Test century and first against Australia. I doubt he has ever played more fluently, driving menacingly and scampering singles as the fielders chased leather.

Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann played their part too, both chipping in with useful contributions which eventually saw England rack up their highest ever score Down Under - 644 all out.

On a day where records were smashed, this was the first time in Tests wickets six, seven and eight have put on 100 partnerships. A real sign of England's strength-in-depth at the moment.

With the lead 364, it was now up to the bowlers to do what they have done so well all series - take wickets.

Misery

They struggled early on, however a real gift from Shane Watson and Phil Hughes set the wheels in motion. A comical mix-up saw both batsmen stood at one end, allowing Kevin Pietersen to set up Prior for the easiest of run outs.

Michael Clarke and Usman Khawaja briefly rallied with a 65-run partnership for the third wicket, however when Anderson returned to remove the debutant it was all England.

With Australia fans heading for the exits early yet again, England piled more misery on their wounded opponents with five wickets in the final session.

Chris Tremlett literally took the roof off the SCG when he dismissed Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson in successive balls. Haddin and Johnson have been the pantomime villains this tour and the Barmy Army were jumping for joy after that double strike!

It is hard to find the words to describe England's support out here, it makes you immensely proud when you see the amount of people who are out here cheering on their nation.

The players have paid them back, and how!

It will be a real carnival atmosphere inside the SCG tomorrow, so I'm off home to iron the party shirt.

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