Gooch scores century to lead England fightback
GRAHAM Gooch, his captaincy in doubt after a year of disastrous results, led a superb England recovery on the fourth day of the third Test against Australia at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, yesterday.
With defeat looking ominously likely and knowing a 3-0 series deficit would end the remaining slim hopes of regaining the Ashes, Gooch played an innings of quality and courage to score 120 and open just a glimmer of hope of a victory.
By the close, England, beginning the day a meagre 70 runs ahead and with four wickets already down, had battled their way to 362 for six and an overall lead of 310. Graham Thorpe, making his debut, remained undefeated on 88.
England's task was made more easy when Australia's sole strike bowler Merv Hughes was forced to leave the field with a groin strain in mid-afternoon.
Gooch clipped a ball from Brendon Julian to long leg for the boundary that brought his 19th Test century. Two balls later he hit Julian for three to become the eighth player in cricket history to reach 8,000 runs in Tests.
Gooch, who hit 18 fours and one six, was out for 120 when leg-spinner Shane Warne produced a sharply-turning leg break. The ball found the edge of his bat before going to Mark Taylor at slip for a simple catch.
The wicket broke a partnership of 150 with left-hander Thorpe, who hit eight fours in a patient innings which had lasted almost five hours by the close.
Thorpe and Nasser Hussain, who was 16 not out at the close, also contributed an unbroken partnership of 53 and England, 2-0 down in the series, are now in a position to make a declaration early today with the outside chance of bowling Australia out.
The only other wicket to fall yesterday went to left-handed seam bowler Julian who had nightwatchman Andrew Caddick caught for 12. Caddick prodded a lifting ball to David Boon, fielding at short leg, and the fifth wicket fell at 159.
The Australians were on their best behaviour in the field yesterday after a weekend warning from match referee Clive Lloyd about abusive language and constant questioning of umpires' decisions.