Watson refuses to throw in the towel
Australia opener Shane Watson insists Australia will "fight until the death" as they look to hold on for a draw on the final day of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.
The hosts will resume tomorrow on 238 for four - still 137 runs short of making England bat again - after suffering a crushing blow in the final over of the fourth day as vice-captain Michael Clarke fell victim to the occasional spin of Kevin Pietersen.
Clarke had shared a partnership of 104 with Mike Hussey to stall the tourists’ victory charge, but the former’s departure, for 80, swung the momentum back in England’s favour.
At the close, Watson said: “To lose Michael in the last over was pretty shattering. He batted beautifully throughout the day and we were starting to get a bit of momentum our way.
“But we’re going to fight until the death tomorrow. It’s going to be a very tough day of Test cricket for both sides and we’ll fight as long as we have to.”
The weather could yet ride to Australia’s rescue, with storms forecast for day five, but when asked if his side could save the match without assistance from the heavens, Watson drew a sharp breath before adding: “Let’s hope so.”
Hussey gave credit to England skipper Andrew Strauss for the bowling change with brought Clarke's departure just before stumps.
"It was a bit of a kick in the guts to lose that one in the last over, but we're still in there fighting," he said.
"Sometimes when someone's having a great game, it's not a bad idea to give them a chance with the ball as well. Sometimes they can pull off something special - like he (Pietersen) did today."
Clarke felt the need to apologise publicly, on his Twitter feed, for not walking when he knew he was out.
Hussey could tell his partner was gone too.
"By the time I'd turned around, they'd pretty much 'referred' it straight away - and I could tell in Michael's body language that he thought he was out.
"He's pretty distraught at the moment."
Watson also expressed his disappointment after once again failing to convert a half-century into a substantial score.
The 29-year-old, who registered scores of 36 and 41 not out in the first Test at Brisbane, added 57 to his first-innings 51 before edging Steven Finn to Andrew Strauss at slip.
“It would be nice to really capitalise on how I’m feeling out there. I’ve not been able to capitalise on my starts so far so hopefully I can turn that around,” Watson said.
“I feel like I’m in a really good place and my mind is clear but it’s just not working at the moment. I feel like I’m batting really well and getting to a point and then not being able to go on with it.”
Watson backed captain Ricky Ponting to bounce back after he followed up a first-innings golden duck with just nine in the second innings.
“He’s going pretty well,” Watson said. “It’s obviously disappointing for him not to be able to score the runs he wants to and knows he can, but he’s a tough man and he’ll come through.”