Day 4 - Close
Momentum is a precarious category in sport. A seamless explanation for a run of play, it suddenly loses all relevance when that run of play changes.
England began the day with the momentum propelling their historic mission. Flintoff, in what may yet be his last Test for England, finally located the length that eluded his entire career. He pitched the ball up sufficiently to find, rather than pass, the edges of Katich and Hughes.
As Swann found a verve that Panesar couldn't last year to reduce Australia to 128 - 5, the 'momentum' was firmly with England. And then nothing. Michael Clarke's silky footwork and breezy confidence found a willing partner in Brad Haddin as Australia fought back. Gently and with growing certainty they dominated England. It was a measure of how flat England had become that Andrew Strauss felt compelled to call an emergency huddle before the second new ball.
England, haunted by Chennai, looked increasingly panicked as the second new ball failed to deliver the wicket. Such was their control, Clarke and Haddin would have been tempted to stay out there when shadows stopped play for the day.
With rested bowlers and 200 runs still in the bank, their lead is surely 'too big to fail', but we've thought that before. Modern pitches and Australia's unwavering belief make anything possible. England, though, will take heart that with just one wicket, the 'momentum' will suddenly be theirs again.
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