Swann hails Pietersen late show
England off-spinner Graeme Swann praised Kevin Pietersen after his final-over heroics with the ball gave the tourists renewed hope of victory after day four of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.
Pietersen, who scored a career-best Test score of 227 to help England to 620 for five declared, struck with his occasional spin to unseat Michael Clarke for 80 after he had looked to be in for the long haul alongside Mike Hussey.
The fourth-wicket pair had given Australia, set 375 to make England bat again, hope of forcing a draw but the dismissal of Clarke gives the tourists added impetus heading into the final day of the match.
Australia closed on 238 for four and were left hoping that the forecast adverse weather comes to their aid tomorrow in a bid to keep the series level.
Clarke started to walk after an inside edge found the hands of Alastair Cook at short-leg, but, with umpire Tony Hill remaining unmoved, the batsman opted to stand his ground, prompting England to immediately call for a review.
“We had to review it,” said Swann. “It wasn’t given but we all knew he got an inside edge so we called for the review system and thankfully it went in our favour.
“We toiled hard in the last session and a half with very little luck.
“Sometimes you need a bit of inspiration and who else but KP to be up there telling you how to get Clarke out? He went straight in and said ‘I’m an all-rounder, I’m an all-rounder’ and he’s still shouting it I think.”
Swann's rise to number one in the international rankings for spin bowlers means much has been and will continue to be expected of him this winter.
But he added: "Personally, I couldn't give a monkey's who gets the wickets.
"I'm so glad KP got that one in the last over, because Clarke is their best player of spin - and to get him out like that was magic.
"I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed to be taken off. But it's great when Kev can come on and do that.
"It is sod's law - but I love sod's law sometimes. It's a massive bonus for us."
Swann had earlier snared Australia opener Simon Katich and captain Ricky Ponting to leave the hosts on 98 for two.
The Nottinghamshire bowler was unable to add to his tally thereafter, but remained a significant threat as he finished with figures of 2-72 from 34 overs.
“I was really happy with the way the ball came out,” he said. “Obviously when you get a couple of early wickets you think ‘this is going to be my day, I could get four or five today’ but it wasn’t to be.
“Their best two players of spin combated me really well. Clarke was very tricky to bowl at.
“We didn’t have much going for us but it all went our way in the last over.”
England will now hope to finish the job tomorrow by claiming the final six Australia wickets as quickly as possible.
Swann added: “We need to bowl as well as we did today and I think if we do that we can win this game.
“It’s a case of sticking at it, which we have done very well on this trip so far.”