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England take Edgbaston thriller

Investec Test Series
Stephen Harmison

Stephen Harmison punches his fist into the air after England clinch a dramatic win at Edgbaston © Getty Images

England reignited their hopes of regaining the Ashes for the first time in 16 years when they completed a dramatic two-run victory over Australia in the second npower Test at Edgbaston.

Stubborn resistance from the 10th-wicket pair of Brett Lee and last man Michael Kasprowicz looked like taking the game out of England's reach.

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But at 279 for nine, Kasprowicz was caught down the legside by wicket-keeper Geraint Jones off Steve Harmison to signal scenes of unprecedented joy from the England players and the capacity crowd.

Overall England had bounced back in impressive style from their 239-run defeat at Lord's and will now look to continue their resurgence in the third Test which starts at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Geraint Jones

Geraint Jones took the catch that secured England's superb victory © Getty Images

It is only the second time that a side batting first has won in the last 14 Tests on the ground and Australian skipper Ricky Ponting was left to rue his decision to field first after winning the toss.

England's aggressive intent on the first day, when they scored 407, set the tone for the game, although the Aussies clearly missed the influence of paceman Glenn McGrath who withdrew on the morning of the game with an ankle injury.

Despite the possibility of the match being over quickly on the fourth day, a capacity crowd was present for the start of play and they gave Michael Vaughan's side a huge cheer when they took to the field.

Australian were determined to make life as difficult as possible for England judging by the comments on Saturday evening of Shane Warne who admitted he "hated losing."

Lee has proven himself to be an accomplished lower order batsman and he opened his account with the first ball from Steve Harmison via a push into the covers for two.

Shane Warne

Shane Warne is given a testing time by the England fast bowlers © Getty Images

But he was given a testing examination in Harmison's second over and fenced three times outside the off-stump at the Durham paceman.

Warne picked up the first boundary of the session when he rocked back onto his heels to square cut Harmison. But Lee was fortunate when he edged Harmison over the slip cordon.

Lee looked more at home when he turned Harmison off his legs for four in an over costing 13 runs and Warne brought up the 200 when he slashed Flintoff down to third man.

The ninth-wicket pair were looking full of confidence and Lee hammered Harmison for a straight four

But after adding 45 in 56 balls Flintoff made the breakthrough when Warne, on 42, stepped back onto his own wicket to leave Australia on 220 for nine. Warne had struck two sixes and four fours in his 59-ball knock.

Harmison was replaced by Ashley Giles after a spell of no wickets for 27 from 3.2 overs, but last man Kasprowicz also looked full of determination.

Shane Warne

Warne falls after managing to step onto his own wickets © Getty Images

He straight drove Giles for four and then steered the Warwickshire spinner to the third man boundary as the 250 came up in the 57th over.

The atmosphere was becoming increasingly tense around the ground as Australia crept to within 20 runs of an unlikely victory, after the returning Harmison had conceded four byes down the leg side.

Lee needed treatment on his left hand after being hit by Harmison but recovered sufficiently to inside edge Flintoff past the stumps for four.

England's last chance looked to have disappeared when Simon Jones spilled a low chance after Kasprowicz, on 18, had sliced Flintoff down to third man with 15 needed.

But then came the incredible finale which left Lee unbeaten on 43 from 75 balls with five fours.

Man-of-the-match Flintoff finished with 4-79 while Giles picked up 2-68.

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