|Player:||GD McGrath, SK Warne, JL Langer, MEK Hussey, A Symonds, RT Ponting, NK Foster, JM Anderson|
DateLine: 8th January 2007
Ever-positive Glenn McGrath is confident Australia can again shut the door on England and go on and clinch a rare Ashes clean sweep in the fifth and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The veteran pace bowler is playing his final Test along with leg-spinning great Shane Warne and opening batsman Justin Langer and steadfastly believes Australia can overcome second-day set-backs to take charge on the third day, on Thursday.
At stumps, Australia had worked their way to 188 for four and trailed England by 103 runs, with Mike Hussey on 37 and Melbourne centurion Andrew Symonds on 22.
England have made a habit of failing to capitalize when they have had Australia on the back foot and McGrath believes nothing will change in the last match of the one-sided series.
"If we go out there and have a good session, it's a real good session and if we have a bad session it's not too bad," the 36-year-old paceman said. "We feel if we play as well as we can it doesn't matter who we're playing, we can turn things around pretty quickly. We feel we can turn things around from almost any situation and win a Test match. The guys are pretty positive. Early runs tomorrow and who knows?"
Ricky Ponting's run out for 45 provided England with an unexpected opportunity to get back into the fifth Test before Hussey and Symonds helped restore the innings late on the rain-hit day. Australia were 118 for two when the Australian captain attempted a risky single off spinner Monty Panesar. Ponting, cruising along without threat from the English bowlers, was caught out of his ground by a throw from James Anderson, fielding at mid-off.
"It's reasonably evenly poised. Tomorrow, the first session will be quite important," McGrath said. "If we can get through that without losing any wickets, or not too many and get some runs on the board then I'd say we're in front. It would be nice to get a first-innings lead or quite a sizeable one and then see how we go."
McGrath said he and Warne were handling the emotions of their last Test match well. "For me it feels a little strange because I'm not actually retiring from cricket after this game, I've still got the one-dayers, so it feels a bit strange in that respect," he said. "I'm just trying to take it all in. I think myself and Shane probably keep our emotions pretty much in check, whereas Justin is quite an emotional person and cricketer so he's found it a little bit tougher then we have."
Langer has dropped three catches and scored 26 so far in his final Test.