Day 4 - Close
It's a measure of Ricky Ponting’s quality that his battles with Flintoff (2005) and Ishant Sharma (2008) are part of cricket's folklore. Today’s compelling confrontation with Graeme Swann was worthy of addition.
While Warne and Murali reigned over international cricket, finger-spin was the sport's dustbin category: the preserve of triers, not achievers.
But now, it seems, finger-spin is back. Mendis bowled Sri Lanka to the T20 World Cup final, Paul Harris is ranked 8th in the world, and Swann is castling the game's premier batsman.
While wrist-spinners can call on zooters and flippers to deceive, the finger-spinner must rely on nous and personality, which Swann has in bucket loads.
With the loss of Katich, it was this zest Ponting had to counter. Added to a charged Edgbaston crowd, circling fielders and an enticing gap at cover, the situation was set for the contest that may have defined the series.
The match is now delicately poised. Australia will need to bat two sessions to secure a draw. Their chances, as ever, will depend on the first hour. Throughout the series wickets have fallen in the morning and runs have been scored in the evening.
With the situation demanding heroics, could this be the time for finger-spin to turn a series?
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