England tour of Australia, 2006/07 / Commentary

The Ashes - 4th Test

Australia v England

Australia won by an innings and 99 runs

Overs 1-50  | Overs 51-100

Right then. It'll be Glenn McGrath to open. No it won't, it's Brett Lee who, Ponting said yesterday, "just has to stand up". Here he comes from the Southern Stand End with a mid-off, a mid-on, square leg and fine leg

And Shane Warne leads Australia out - a huge, huge roar rings out as Australia take the field. Less cheer for the two England batsmen and just a hint of a boo, even. We're nearly ready to rock.

10.57am The covers don't know what they're doing. On, off, on and off again; it could be like this for much of the day (have a look at the radar). But they're off at the moment and, hopefully, we should be starting very shortly.

10.35am Ponting says it's a good toss to lose and that he isn't unhappy to be bowling...but he'd have batted had he won the toss. So, covering all bases there - and disappointingly, not a single "aww, look" from him yet.

Right, here are the times of today's play:

Morning session 11.00am to 12.30pm, afternoon 1.10pm to 3.40pm, final session 4.00pm to 6.00pm

Righto, we're nearly ready for the toss...Ponting and Flintoff marching out into the middle. And we'd give you the toss live if Sky had the rights, which they don't. So...just hold your horses and we'll have it for you shortly. Ah, I hear "heads is the call" and a huge roar goes up around the G...as Flintoff wins the toss and England bat

OK, here are the teams

Australia 1 Justin Langer, 2 Matthew Hayden, 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 Michael Clarke, 6 Andrew Symonds, 7 Adam Gilchrist (wk), 8 Shane Warne, 9 Brett Lee, 10 Stuart Clark, 11 Glenn McGrath.

England 1 Andrew Strauss, 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Ian Bell, 4 Paul Collingwood, 5 Kevin Pietersen, 6 Andrew Flintoff (capt), 7 Chris Read (wk), 8 Sajid Mahmood, 9 Matthew Hoggard, 10 Steve Harmison, 11 Monty Panesar.

10.20am Rudi's had a chat with Mike Atherton - a fair amount of moisture on the outfield he tells us. But we'll have play at 11am (midnight for the tragics in the UK) and the toss at 10.30am

Botham and Hussain are waxing lyrical about Shane Warne who's playing his last Test at his home ground, the MCG. Big day for the big man. So then, the original plan is/was that the first session runs from 10.30 to 12.30 with a scheduled close of play to 5.30pm (6.30am GMT) but this could all change, and not just because Martin and I might fall off our perch. Still gloomy, damp and chilly out there - but hurrah, the covers are coming off.

Well the toss has yet to happen - and we can give you the utterly thrilling news that 's raining. Not only raining but it's cold too. This could be a long night, if you're an England supporter. Or an Australian supporter for that matter. In fact, it could be a long one for anyone. However, better news - Martin Williamson is in the Cricinfo house (red).

10.00am Geraint Jones has been replaced by Chris Read for England. Hurrah for him.

09.45am "Damp and autumnal" is the verdict from Cricinfo's weatherman-on-the-spot, Andrew Miller, who's currently ironing out the dents in his hire car and winging his way to the ground. More shortly...

9.30am Good morning and a very warm, cheery, Christmas welcome to you all for Cricinfo's coverage of the fourth Test at Melbourne. I'm Will Luke and, along with Martin Williamson, will be taking you through all the drama and excitement of the next five days. At least, we hope to; Melbourne has shivered through its coldest Christmas on record, with rain, hail and sleet sweeping the city. A distinctly homely 14.5c greeted England's cricketers whose practice session was forced inside yesterday. Ergo, it's more England in May than Melbourne in December - and we'll have news from the ground in about 20 minutes. If you have any thoughts, drop us a line

0.1

Lee to Strauss, no run, outside off, no bounce there and Strauss leaves this alone

0.2

Lee to Strauss, no run, crikey moses, a monstrous wide from Lee there pitching several feet behind the cut strip

0.3

Lee to Strauss, no run, better line on off stump which Strauss pushes, on the walk, into the leg side

0.4

Lee to Strauss, no run, a hint of gentle swing into the left hander who comes forward, quite confidently, and defends it solidly on the front foot

0.5

Lee to Strauss, no run, good ball holding its line outside off. In fact, that was damn close to Strauss's outside edge who, back in his crease, tentatively pushed at it

0.6

Lee to Strauss, no run, cracking ball once more! Holding its line again and Strauss goes back to defend, wafting his bat without conviction and somehow missed it

Big cheer rings round the "G" for Glenn McGrath who's coming in from the Members' End with three slips, gully, point, mid-off, mid-on, short leg, fine leg

End of over 1 (maiden) England 0/0
AJ Strauss    0* (6b)      B Lee    1-1-0-0
AN Cook    0* (0b)     

1.1

McGrath to Cook, no run, ooh and a belter immediately from McGrath, hitting the seam and jagging away from Cook's meek forward prod

1.2

McGrath to Cook, no run, again this spits away from Cook, the left-hander - big, big movement here

1.3

McGrath to Cook, no run, ever so slightly shorter, Cook goes back and pushes it nervously out into the covers, without moving his feet

"England really should've lost the toss," Andrew Miller offers from the press box. "This could be brief"

1.4

McGrath to Cook, no run, and another fast offbreak from McGrath! Play that, Cook; not a hope of getting a bat on it and it flies through to Gilchrist

1.5

McGrath to Cook, no run, and he wisely shoulders arms to this slightly wider delivery

1.6

McGrath to Cook, no run, Cook is solidly forward here, playing it with softish hands and angling it to gully

Two maidens. England yet to get off the mark

End of over 2 (maiden) England 0/0
AN Cook    0* (6b)      GD McGrath    1-1-0-0
AJ Strauss    0* (6b)      B Lee    1-1-0-0

"Waaarnie, Waaarnie" is the cry around the ground. But here comes Lee

2.1

Lee to Strauss, no run, quick, on off stump and Strauss times it quite neatly but straight to mid on

2.2

Lee to Strauss, no run, well bowled, Lee; on middle stump, swinging just a touch into Strauss who remained in his crease and pushed it back to the bowler. That's the length, though...

2.3

Lee to Strauss, no run, cracking ball! Unplayable, even, angling into Strauss before cutting away from him, Strauss wafted at it and it flies through to Gilchrist

2.4

Lee to Strauss, 1 run, but England are away as Strauss pushes this off his hips down to fine leg

Massive cheer from the Barmies as England get off the mark. Only 60-70,000 in the G at the moment. Paltry (not poultry).

2.5

Lee to Cook, 1 run, and Cook mirrors Strauss's shot, clipping it off his hip for a single

2.6

Lee to Strauss, no run, quicker but wider and it's left alone

End of over 3 (2 runs) England 2/0
AJ Strauss    1* (11b)      B Lee    2-1-2-0
AN Cook    1* (7b)      GD McGrath    1-1-0-0

McGrath to continue from the Members End

3.1

McGrath to Cook, no run, ooh, Cook is late on this; turning the face of the bat to push it to leg, just past Hussey at short leg. Just short of him, in fact

3.2

McGrath to Cook, no run, full, on off stump but Cook is back in his crease here and defends it

3.3

McGrath to Cook, no run, again back in his crease, Cook squirts this with a wobbly bat into the covers

3.4

McGrath to Cook, no run, but this is too wide from McGrath and Cook stands tall before leaving it well alone. As well he should.

3.5

McGrath to Cook, no run, again wide enough for Cook to leave alone, which he does

McGrath is averaging about 127kph in this spell, about 5-10kph slower than usual. But then, that's still a pretty tidy pace for an offbreak ...

3.6

McGrath to Cook, no run, ooh big appeal from my-cup-is-always-full McGrath but Cook got bat on that

Everyone's chatting with the umpires...the batsmen were wandering off to give the two a massive hint. But they're carrying on

End of over 4 (maiden) England 2/0
AN Cook    1* (13b)      GD McGrath    2-2-0-0
AJ Strauss    1* (11b)      B Lee    2-1-2-0

4.1

Lee to Strauss, no run, swinging into Strauss who pushes it off the back foot

Umpires are having a mothers meeting. Dar wants to go off. Rudi's having none of it, absolutely none of it and shoos his colleague away

4.2

Lee to Strauss, no run, ooh swinging back into Strauss who is almost doubled-up, the ball spooning off his outside edge into the gully - but short of gully

4.3

Lee to Strauss, no run, good length - quick, too - and Strauss defends on the back foot

4.4

Lee to Strauss, no run, ah, well played from Strauss - the first authoritative forward defence of the morning, and the solid ball-on-bat-clunk resounds around the ground

4.5

Lee to Strauss, no run, too wide, Strauss easily leaves alone

Still drizzling, but less so. This is more Manchester than Melbourne - although apart from the rain, I can't think of any other traits the two cities share

4.6

Lee to Strauss, no run, punched with confidence on the front foot but straight to Symonds, he of massive hair fame, at mid-off

Here comes Plunkett with some gloves and, no doubt, a message from Duncan and co.

End of over 5 (maiden) England 2/0
AJ Strauss    1* (17b)      B Lee    3-2-2-0
AN Cook    1* (13b)      GD McGrath    2-2-0-0

5.1

McGrath to Cook, no run, left alone outside off, again a bit of movement off the pitch away from the left hander who leaves it alone

Hurrah! The first klaxon of the day. Pang.

5.2

McGrath to Cook, no run, down the leg side - wasted delivery, and Cook misses out

5.3

McGrath to Cook, no run, lovely bowling! Another fast offbreak which Cook misses. Good bounce, too.

Clark needs to replace Lee at the other end. I've decided

5.4

McGrath to Cook, no run, slightly wider, Cook fishes at it but finds nothing

Around the wicket, good move this. Ponting instigated it from slip

5.5

McGrath to Cook, no run, and it's full, too straight too and Cook pushes it to leg

5.6

McGrath to Cook, no run, too wide of the off stump and Cook leaves alone

Three maidens in a row and it's the fist GD-chunter of the day. He's fuming - and why wouldn't he be? Three maidens, no wickets, and off he goes to graze in the outfield

End of over 6 (maiden) England 2/0
AN Cook    1* (19b)      GD McGrath    3-3-0-0
AJ Strauss    1* (17b)      B Lee    3-2-2-0

6.1

Lee to Strauss, no run, oh dear. This is rubbish. Far too wide, massively full - Lee is all over the shop here

6.2

Lee to Strauss, no run, better - fuller and swinging into Strauss who leaves alone

6.3

Lee to Strauss, no run, a touch straighter and fuller, Strauss pushes it back to the bowler

The Barmies have woken up. Outnumbered by Victorians, though - nearly 100,000 of them

6.4

Lee to Strauss, 1 run, fine shot, driving Lee back past him - or nearly, as Lee stoops to his left and does well to prevent four. Fine fielding - great cricket all round. In fact - well done everyone

6.5

Lee to Cook, no run, outside off, the ball hardly carrying to Gilchrist, the winner behind the stumps, and it's left alone

Time for Clark to replace Lee. Ponting should listen to me.

6.6

Lee to Cook, 3 runs, very elegantly played by Cook, calmly pulling Lee - who is getting no pace off the pitch whatsoever - behind square for three

Half-an-hour gone. 6 runs.

End of over 7 (4 runs) England 6/0
AN Cook    4* (21b)      B Lee    4-2-6-0
AJ Strauss    2* (21b)      GD McGrath    3-3-0-0

Around the wicket

7.1

McGrath to Cook, no run, ooh, Cook plays and misses at this one outside the off stump

7.2

McGrath to Cook, no run, and yet more movement from McGrath - bounce too - as Cook is rapped high on the pad and the ball balloons out to gully

7.3

McGrath to Cook, no run, Cook jumps back in his crease to defend this off the back foot, with a pleasingly straight bat

7.4

McGrath to Cook, 2 runs, well, too straight from McGrath and Cook easily works it off his hip behind square and they scamper two. Well run, too (or "well run two")

7.5

McGrath to Cook, no run, too wide of Cook's off stump and he shoulders arms, raising his arms high

7.6

McGrath to Cook, no run, better line this time and Cook defends it solidly off the back foot

Quiet start, then. The ground slowly filling up; 100,000 are expected, eventually. The Barmies are giving a truly dreadful, painful rendition of the national anthem

End of over 8 (2 runs) England 8/0
AN Cook    6* (27b)      GD McGrath    4-3-2-0
AJ Strauss    2* (21b)      B Lee    4-2-6-0

8.1

Lee to Strauss, no run, dropped! Was it? Edged off the back foot by Strauss but it drops just short of Ponting at second slip

8.2

Lee to Strauss, 3 runs, shot, Strauss, driving on the up. A check-drive, if anything, firmly punched through the covers but the damp outfield prevents it from going for four

8.3

Lee to Cook, (no ball) 1 run, intelligently played from Cook, just calmly working it to leg for a single. No-ball from Lee too.

Cook does that well. He's not a batsman who ever looks in majestic form; instead a nurdler, a worker.

8.3

Lee to Strauss, no run, ooh, full - almost yorker-length - outside off which Strauss drives at, misses and it flies through to the keeper

8.4

Lee to Strauss, no run, well bowled; this one just cuts off the seam, ala McGrath so far this morning, and Strauss again fishes at it meekly

8.5

Lee to Strauss, no run, ooh Strauss is desperate to edge Lee here. He's absolutely gagging to give the slips a chance but again misses

8.6

Lee to Strauss, 3 runs, full and driven on the up, Strauss opening the face of the bat to guide it wide of the gully

End of over 9 (8 runs) England 16/0
AJ Strauss    8* (27b)      B Lee    5-2-14-0
AN Cook    7* (28b)      GD McGrath    4-3-2-0

Right then. McGrath to continue from the Members End, around the wicket. Three slips and a gully

9.1

McGrath to Strauss, no run, marvellous ball angling into the left hander before cutting away, markedly, from Strauss's forward defence. A great ball, almost unplayable

9.2

McGrath to Strauss, 1 run, well this is a touch too straight and Strauss works it off his legs down to fine leg

9.3

McGrath to Cook, 1 no ball, and he shoulders arms outside off - no ball, too

9.3

McGrath to Cook, no run, just a touch fuller from the bowler, Cook pushes it to leg but there's no run on offer

Got a comment to make? Make it.

9.4

McGrath to Cook, no run, ooh, a play-and-a-miss from Cook

9.5

McGrath to Cook, FOUR, well played, very well played from Cook. He came forward confidently; he drove it with a flourish through extra cover. Andrew Symonds made excellent ground in the deep, chasing after it and sliding along the greasy turf for at least five metres, getting a hand to it but the ball trickled over the boundary

9.6

McGrath to Cook, no run, pushed to cover to end the over

Still no Clark, so it's Lee to continue

Drinks out in the middle

End of over 10 (6 runs) England 22/0
AN Cook    11* (33b 1x4)      GD McGrath    5-3-8-0
AJ Strauss    9* (29b)      B Lee    5-2-14-0

10.1

Lee to Strauss, 1 run, punched, confidently and firmly to mid on

10.2

Lee to Cook, no run, on off stump Cook - with a Lara-esque raise of the bat - clamps down on this

75-80,000 people in the ground now apparently. Ye gods

10.3

Lee to Cook, no run, no, too wide from Lee and it's left alone

Lee can't work out his line here. Well - I'll tell him - on or just outside off stump and let the pitch do the work

10.4

Lee to Cook, no run, still too wide, Cook leaves it alone with ease

10.5

Lee to Cook, OUT, GONE! Cook tried to leave it but was late, couldn't get the bat out of the way - the ball just feathering the bottom, or toe-end of his bat

AN Cook c †Gilchrist b Lee 11 (49m 37b 1x4 0x6) SR: 29.72

Disappointing dismissal for Cook who rightly tried to leave that one alone but couldn't quite get his bat out of the way

The Sherminator is in and has three slips, gully, point, mid-off, mid-on, square leg, fine leg

10.6

Lee to Bell, 1 run, full, on off stump and Bell punches it to cover. Oh hello - what's he up to here? He's going for a run, that's what, and dives to make his ground as Clarke flings in a throw. What a stupid run that was. Morning, Ian Bell.

End of over 11 (2 runs) England 24/1
IR Bell    1* (1b)      B Lee    6-2-16-1
AJ Strauss    10* (30b)      GD McGrath    5-3-8-0

11.1

McGrath to Bell, no run, wide of Bell and it cuts further away from him. Left alone

11.2

McGrath to Bell, no run

11.3

McGrath to Bell, no run, excellent ball on off stump and cutting back further still into Bell who is rock solid in defence

11.4

McGrath to Bell, no run, very well bowled, squaring Bell up - but he played it with soft hands. Mild green, fairy liquid. Remember that advert? What rubbish

11.5

McGrath to Bell, no run, ooh, pushes this off the back foot and it bobbles down a foot or so from his offstump

11.6

McGrath to Bell, no run, and Bell swings and misses here! A straighter ball which cut back massively into Bell - in fact, the movement saved him in the end

Lee to continue

End of over 12 (maiden) England 24/1
IR Bell    1* (7b)      GD McGrath    6-4-8-0
AJ Strauss    10* (30b)      B Lee    6-2-16-1

12.1

Lee to Strauss, no run, crash; lovely sound there, as Strauss cracks it to point

12.2

Lee to Strauss, no run, and a thick, uneducated, on-the-dole inside edge as Strauss tries to drive this through the covers

12.3

Lee to Strauss, no run, another inside edge, Lee throws his hands up in disgust

Splendid. The Barmy Bugler pipes up with Jingle Bells. Marvellous tune, that

12.4

Lee to Strauss, 3 runs, pulled just backward of square, well timed and that'll be four. No it won't, McGrath chugs round and saves it - although the wet outfield did as much to prevent that going for four as McGrath did

"There's the trumpeter," mutters Andrew. "He's got special dispensation to play here. Amazing how chilled out the Aussies get once they've won the Ashes"

12.5

Lee to Bell, no run, lovely, juicy drive from the Sherminator to mid-on - Michael Clarke - who dives and parries it to Symonds. Excellent fielding

12.6

Lee to Bell, (no ball) 1 run, short and straight, turned off his hip for a single to add to Lee's over-stepping no-ball

12.6

Lee to Strauss, 1 run, a neat flick of the wrists and Strauss scampers a single

That's it from me for now. Here's Martin, full of Christmas cheer, to take you through until lunch

End of over 13 (6 runs) England 30/1
AJ Strauss    14* (35b)      B Lee    7-2-22-1
IR Bell    2* (9b)      GD McGrath    6-4-8-0

Thanks Will ... he's off for another Brussel sprout or nine (odd guy) so it's good afternoon and merry Christmas from me, Martin Williamson

13.1

McGrath to Strauss, 1 run, flicked to leg and an ambled single, all very casual

13.2

McGrath to Bell, no run, Bell behind that, all very careful

A gentle buzz in the ground, not like there are 75,000 watching.&

13.3

McGrath to Bell, no run, wide and Bell moved forward and then just watched it pass

13.4

McGrath to Bell, no run, "oohs" all round as McGrath rips that through Bell, jagged back between bat and midriff

13.5

McGrath to Bell, 3 runs, neatly flicked off his legs, through midwicket and Clark has a lot of ground to make up from long leg

13.6

McGrath to Strauss, no run, solid defence

For followers of Boonie and Beefy, they've been in fine fettle over Christmas, the highlight being their duet of Silent Night on Christmas Eve which my daughter told me was the best part of her day. Makes all those hours queuing in the shops for her presents so worthwhile ...

End of over 14 (4 runs) England 34/1
AJ Strauss    15* (37b)      GD McGrath    7-4-12-0
IR Bell    5* (13b)      B Lee    7-2-22-1

Clark on now for Lee

14.1

Clark to Bell, no run, on the spot from the off, Bell forced to block

14.2

Clark to Bell, no run, slightly miscued straight drive squirts to mid-on

14.3

Clark to Bell, no run

14.4

Clark to Bell, no run, shorter and Bell climbs on his toes to play it but still doesn't quite get over it, but with no short leg, it's quite safe

14.5

Clark to Bell, 2 runs, carbon copy of the flick of his legs the previous over, timed but the outfield is slow and Hussey overhauls it two-thirds of the way to the fence

14.6

Clark to Bell, no run, straight drive but mid-off doesn't have to move to get it

Still rather subdued ... the cold doesn't help, but given the noise at the previous three Tests, it's a surprise

End of over 15 (2 runs) England 36/1
IR Bell    7* (19b)      SR Clark    1-0-2-0
AJ Strauss    15* (37b)      GD McGrath    7-4-12-0

15.1

McGrath to Strauss, no run, beat Strauss, but going down leg side even though McGrath gets fairly excited as he roars an appeal for leg-before

15.2

McGrath to Strauss, no run

15.3

McGrath to Strauss, no run, again McGrath barks an appeal, but once more that was heading down the leg side. THis time McGrath looks slightly more miffed, but replays show Aleem Dar was spot on

And the rain starts

15.4

McGrath to Strauss, no run, Strauss blocks

12.55pm The rain has stopped and the outfield is being cleared and swept of moisture by a long rope. Play will resume in five minutes.

Just come across a quote from Sky's own Ian Botham. Someone told him that Mark Ramprakash won the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, and he went off on one. ""When me and Lamby were playing we weren't to be seen done up like a couple of pox-doctors' clerks prancing about. No way!" That would be the same Ian Botham while still and England player opted to spend a winter playing a pantaloon-clad Jack in a pantomime? And as for prancing about? Check page 336 of his autobiography.

12.20pm It's been confirmed that lunch has been taken early and so we are in for a long final session, assuming the rain relents. Sorry to sound gloomy but the forecast is: "cool weather and showers are forecast over the first three days, but fine weather for days four and five".

The ball has hardly been played and the fielders are scurrying for dry land and the groundstaff and tractors are bringing covers to the middle. It's quite a downpour and that is probably that for the morning session. It's a great shame for a massive crowd but it was predicted ...

Right. Were back. Two balls left in the over.

15.5

McGrath to Strauss, no run, Strauss leaves that. He's standing well out of his crease while facing McGrath

15.6

McGrath to Strauss, no run, a few "oohs" from the crowd but Strauss pulled his bat out the way of that in good time

Clark to resume from the Southern Stand End

End of over 16 (maiden) England 36/1
AJ Strauss    15* (43b)      GD McGrath    8-5-12-0
IR Bell    7* (19b)      SR Clark    1-0-2-0

16.1

Clark to Bell, no run, again right into the groove, Bell into line to block

16.2

Clark to Bell, no run, Bell once more right into line, head over the ball

16.3

Clark to Bell, no run, forced slightly back, patted into the covers

False start as Clark begins his run only to see Gilchrist heading to the side with a large piece of card which blew on

16.4

Clark to Bell, no run, Bell strokes the ball effortlessly back past Clark and mid-on and mid-off converge to field

16.5

Clark to Bell, no run, shorter, Bell back and gets a mixture of thigh pad and body behind that

Spectators start to put on rainwear ...it's starting to drizzle again

16.6

Clark to Bell, no run, again short and Bell a bit cramped but not unduly troubled

The drizzle is now turning into something more serious

End of over 17 (maiden) England 36/1
IR Bell    7* (25b)      SR Clark    2-1-2-0
AJ Strauss    15* (43b)      GD McGrath    8-5-12-0

17.1

McGrath to Strauss, no run, outside the left-hander's off stump, angled across him, and left alone

17.2

McGrath to Strauss, no run, much the same, outside the off stump, angled across Strauss who leaves it well alone

17.3

McGrath to Strauss, no run, now, that one he did nibble at, slightly shorter and it passed him at hip height and beat the outside edge

17.4

McGrath to Strauss, no run, played off the back foot at stomach height, right behind it this time

17.5

McGrath to Strauss, no run, left alone, too wide

17.6

McGrath to Strauss, 1 run, not convincing, a leading edge into the off side but it brings him the single

End of over 18 (1 run) England 37/1
AJ Strauss    16* (49b)      GD McGrath    9-5-13-0
IR Bell    7* (25b)      SR Clark    2-1-2-0

18.1

Clark to Strauss, no run, Strauss withdrew the bat but the ball was through him by the time he did so. Lovely line slanting across the left-hander

18.2

Clark to Strauss, no run, a little too wide this time and no stroke offered

18.3

Clark to Strauss, no run, over adjustment, a bit leggish and flicked to midwicket

18.4

Clark to Strauss, no run, the pressure tells as Strauss aims a booming drive and misses it by some way

18.5

Clark to Strauss, 2 byes, leg side, it doesn't get up and rolls under a sprawling Gilchrist ... Warne puffs round and fields to huge cheers from the terraces. Clark apologises to his keeper

18.6

Clark to Strauss, 1 run, turned into the leg side with more conviction. Strauss is positively Boycottesque in his manipulation of the strike ... twice he has taken singles off the last ball of the over

There is still drizzle, which makes it hard for the bowlers as the ball gets slippery and soggy

End of over 19 (3 runs) England 40/1
AJ Strauss    17* (55b)      SR Clark    3-1-3-0
IR Bell    7* (25b)      GD McGrath    9-5-13-0

19.1

McGrath to Strauss, no run, wide enough to leave Strauss untempted

19.2

McGrath to Strauss, no run, and again. McGrath just needs to get a little closer to the off stump

19.3

McGrath to Strauss, no run, much better. Short of a length, beats Strauss and the slips all go up although McGrath looks somewhat bemused as the batsman missed that by inches

19.4

McGrath to Strauss, no run, Strauss behind it this time, but he's leading a charmed life since lunch

19.5

McGrath to Strauss, 1 run, too leg side and turned with ease to long leg

Bell faces his first ball in 17 deliveries

19.6

McGrath to Bell, no run, seamed away from him and beat the bat by enough to not really be that threatening

"Ho, ho, ho, it's Father Boonie," chirps Boonie. Beefy is less seasonal with his response: "Chase that you convict."

End of over 20 (1 run) England 41/1
IR Bell    7* (26b)      GD McGrath    10-5-14-0
AJ Strauss    18* (60b)      SR Clark    3-1-3-0

20.1

Clark to Strauss, 3 runs, overpitched, classic straight drive between bowler and mid-off, but a slow outfield prevents a four. I can imagine Mark Nicholas in raptures with that

20.2

Clark to Bell, no run, well, well. Bell turned square by that one, super ball all through him

20.3

Clark to Bell, no run, again a bit square, but he got behind it

20.4

Clark to Bell, no run, played into the off side and for the briefest second Bell looked as if he was about to set off for a single but he wisely thought better of it

20.5

Clark to Bell, OUT, that's about as out as you can get without hitting the stumps. Bell caught in the crease by one that zipped back and hit him on the knee roll, and Bell was off and the crowd were celebrating before Rudi Koertzen's finger had even started it's super slow-mo upwards motion

IR Bell lbw b Clark 7 (46m 30b 0x4 0x6) SR: 23.33

20.6

Clark to Collingwood, no run, Collingwood into line and he plays it into the off

"Warnie, Warnie," chant the crowd. A bit hard on Clark who has just broken through!

End of over 21 (3 runs) England 44/2
PD Collingwood    0* (1b)      SR Clark    4-1-6-1
AJ Strauss    21* (61b)      GD McGrath    10-5-14-0

21.1

McGrath to Strauss, no run, Strauss looks to play through midwicket but it swings late and he ends up patting it back to the bowler ... but that could so easily have caught the leading edge

21.2

McGrath to Strauss, no run, a more conventional block

21.3

McGrath to Strauss, no run, Strauss looks to punch that off the back foot through the covers but doesn't time it

21.4

McGrath to Strauss, no run, a bouncer, outside off stump through, Strauss pulled out of the hook very early and pivoted on his heels while dropped his bat well out of the well

21.5

McGrath to Strauss, no run, another leading edge as he tries to flick through midwicket. He's looking a candidate for a caught and bowled here

21.6

McGrath to Strauss, no run, better, driven firmly straight to mid-off

End of over 22 (maiden) England 44/2
AJ Strauss    21* (67b)      GD McGrath    11-6-14-0
PD Collingwood    0* (1b)      SR Clark    4-1-6-1

22.1

Clark to Collingwood, no run, oh, hello. That struck Collingwood on the front pad and a raucous appeal is turned down by Koertzen who shakes his head like a father asked for extra pocket money. It looked out, but Hawkeye suggests if it was hitting, it was the very top of the stumps

22.2

Clark to Collingwood, 2 runs, flicked well of leg stump wide of long leg

22.3

Clark to Collingwood, no run, into line, well defended

22.4

Clark to Collingwood, no run, yet again this one cuts back and beats Collingwood, but this time he's got far enough forward to be outside the line and there's no appeal

The players are coming back on ... a seven-minute delay and a pitch spruced-up again by the rain. Will Luke has found another bottle of Chateau Cricinfo in anticipation of his return to BBB in a few minutes ...

For all those global warming enthusiasts who have emailed to point out that rain in Melbourne is unseasonal evidence of climate change, our local experts tells us it's far from abnormal. The 1970-71 Melbourne Test was washed out without a ball being bowled, leading to the first ODI of all time, staged to try to regain some of the lost income ... mind you, I am told that Santa's home in Lapland (which is in the Arctic Circle) has had almost no snow this year ... if you have any thoughts about the match, the climate or even Santa, drop us a line.

And the two umpires amble towards each other to chat ... and once more the players are heading off. The groundstaff get all their paraphernalia out to the middle and then wait and look towards the umpires, who are still on the outfield, as if to say "is this worth it ... it'll blow over any second". But they are told to get on with it ...

22.5

Clark to Collingwood, no run, outside off stump and left alone

22.6

Clark to Collingwood, no run, again wide and a slightly over theatrical leave

Again the crowd start a chant of "Warnie, Warnie".

End of over 23 (2 runs) England 46/2
PD Collingwood    2* (7b)      SR Clark    5-1-8-1
AJ Strauss    21* (67b)      GD McGrath    11-6-14-0

23.1

McGrath to Strauss, no run, turned with minimal timing to square leg

23.2

McGrath to Strauss, no run, slanted across Strauss and he pulled out of that despite the amateur dramatics of the close fielders

23.3

McGrath to Strauss, 1 run, turned to the left of square leg and an easy single to the man at long leg

23.4

McGrath to Collingwood, no run, wide and short, it kicked off the seam and Collingwood started to spar but fortunately his brain got the better of his hands soon enough

23.5

McGrath to Collingwood, no run, angled to gully, Hayden makes a sprawling half stop diving to his right, and there is then a second or two of "yes, no, sorry" before all concerned settle on staying put

23.6

McGrath to Collingwood, FOUR, dropped. Collingwood turned square, a thick edge flies between Gilchrist and Warne at first slip ... a diving Gilchrist, at full stretch, gets a finger to it and deflects it past Warne

End of over 24 (5 runs) England 51/2
PD Collingwood    6* (10b 1x4)      GD McGrath    12-6-19-0
AJ Strauss    22* (70b)      SR Clark    5-1-8-1

24.1

Clark to Strauss, no run, into line, textbook defence

24.2

Clark to Strauss, no run, and again, all very correct so far

24.3

Clark to Strauss, no run, pushed into the off side, never a single even considered

24.4

Clark to Strauss, no run, Strauss stands up and punches that to mid-off

24.5

Clark to Strauss, no run, driven to mid-off

A few cheers going up from the crowd, the kind that are fuelled by alcohol rather than anything happening in the middle

24.6

Clark to Strauss, 1 run, back foot, placed between cover and mid-off and again Strauss pinches the strike

It's still overcast and the floodlights have been on all day. But at least it's dry for the moment.

End of over 25 (1 run) England 52/2
AJ Strauss    23* (76b)      SR Clark    6-1-9-1
PD Collingwood    6* (10b 1x4)      GD McGrath    12-6-19-0

25.1

McGrath to Strauss, no run, driven square on the off, and that was only a foot or so short of carrying to Michael Clarke at cover point

25.2

McGrath to Strauss, no run, pushed into the covers

Boos from the crowd for reasons known only to themselves.

25.3

McGrath to Strauss, 2 runs, turned into space, a semi diving stop by mid-on

25.4

McGrath to Strauss, 3 runs, sweetly turned wide of midwicket but the boundaries are long and the outfield damp and slow

We ask our man of the spot for reasons for the sudden outburst of noise ... "I'm in a hermetically sealed sardine-can for this one," he replies.

25.5

McGrath to Collingwood, no run, beaten, hit on the pads but too high and outside off stump

25.6

McGrath to Collingwood, no run, safely defended. McGrath may be on the way out but he still cares, and he pulls all sorts of faces as he heads back into the deep

Andrew Symonds on ahead of Warne, and that's not gone down well with the locals.

End of over 26 (5 runs) England 57/2
PD Collingwood    6* (12b 1x4)      GD McGrath    13-6-24-0
AJ Strauss    28* (80b)      SR Clark    6-1-9-1

26.1

Symonds to Strauss, no run, gentle one to start, wide and no suggestion of any movement

Two slips and a gully for Symonds. Point, short cover, mid-off, mid-on, short midwicket, fine leg

26.2

Symonds to Strauss, no run, better line, but Strauss not worried as he blocks

26.3

Symonds to Strauss, no run, fuller, dug out by Strauss

Symonds is actually the same pace as McGrath in the high 70s

26.4

Symonds to Strauss, no run, all very low key, straight and Strauss defends

26.5

Symonds to Strauss, no run, too full, Strauss drives with some venom but straight to extra cover

26.6

Symonds to Strauss, no run, outside off stump and Strauss not interested

More drizzle and the two umpires glance towards each other and then decide to carry on for the moment

End of over 27 (maiden) England 57/2
AJ Strauss    28* (86b)      A Symonds    1-1-0-0
PD Collingwood    6* (12b 1x4)      GD McGrath    13-6-24-0

27.1

McGrath to Collingwood, no run, McGrath on the button, safely handled

27.2

McGrath to Collingwood, no run, Collingwood plays that as he lunges forward and immediately yells "no"

27.3

McGrath to Collingwood, no run, well forward and blocked

27.4

McGrath to Collingwood, no run, Collingwood's bat and bad appear welded together and the pair of them keep the ball out

27.5

McGrath to Collingwood, no run, Collingwood shoulders arms, it zips back in and flicks his pads, a lone appeal from behind the stumps but it was far too high

27.6

McGrath to Collingwood, no run, wow, that was a snorter, beats Collingwood all ends up and another excellent over from the wicketless McGrath ... he's bowled so well in conditions that could be made for him

End of over 28 (maiden) England 57/2
PD Collingwood    6* (18b 1x4)      GD McGrath    14-7-24-0
AJ Strauss    28* (86b)      A Symonds    1-1-0-0

28.1

Symonds to Strauss, 3 runs, short, wide and absolutely leathered to the cover boundary but like an old man climbing up a hill, the ball runs out of puff inches from the rope and Clarke retrieves it

28.2

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, loud and confident appeal, beat his inside edge, off the pad and everyone goes up. Koertzen takes an age to decide, even by his standards, but he had to think about the leg-before and the possible catch behind. Symonds makes it clear he thinks the decision is suspect with some facial contortions

28.3

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, and another loud appeal is turned down. It was hitting the off stump but Collingwood got just outside the line which spared him. Good umpiring here as many other lesser officials might have given this out on the strength of the previous ball

28.4

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, oh! He's been beaten all ends up again

28.5

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, Collingwood might be batting in a darkened room ...he can't lay bat on ball here and Symonds has done everything except take a wicket

28.6

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, and again the ball hits him rather than him the ball

Clark back into the attack

End of over 29 (3 runs) England 60/2
PD Collingwood    6* (23b 1x4)      A Symonds    2-1-3-0
AJ Strauss    31* (87b)      GD McGrath    14-7-24-0

29.1

Clark to Strauss, no run, angled into the gully area

29.2

Clark to Strauss, no run, meets that with the full face of the bat

29.3

Clark to Strauss, no run, mistimed a drive to cover

29.4

Clark to Strauss, no run, no shot, too wide to tempt

29.5

Clark to Strauss, FOUR, again wide but this time short as well, Strauss leans into that and belts it through extra cover and the ball beats the best efforts of the outfield and crawls over the rope

29.6

Clark to Strauss, no run, Strauss leaves that ... he thought about it but made up his mind in good time

And now, after three bottles of Chateau Cricinfo 2005 and a strong coffee, Will Luke is back in harness for another hour or so from the MCG. Whether he drops off if there is another rain delay remains dubious ...

End of over 30 (4 runs) England 64/2
AJ Strauss    35* (93b 1x4)      SR Clark    7-1-13-1
PD Collingwood    6* (23b 1x4)      A Symonds    2-1-3-0

30.1

Symonds to Collingwood, 1 run, on leg stump and clipped, firmly, to midwicket who makes a good diving stop

30.2

Symonds to Strauss, 3 runs, cor he's hammered that with an immense dose of humpty through extra cover, but the quicksand outfield prevents it going for four

30.3

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, and he comes forward solidly, defending it watchfully

30.4

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, with a rather closed face of the bat Collingwood pushes this to mid on

30.5

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, that is a dreadful stroke. Symonds sent it wider, Collingwood fell for the bait like a blind mackerel and flayed his hands at it...missing it by miles

30.6

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, pushed, with a heavy bottom hand, to midwicket

Yes, and hello to all. Will here and, somehow, I'm still awake.

End of over 31 (4 runs) England 68/2
PD Collingwood    7* (28b 1x4)      A Symonds    3-1-7-0
AJ Strauss    38* (94b 1x4)      SR Clark    7-1-13-1

31.1

Clark to Strauss, no run, pushed firmly to mid off, or just to his right and Symonds again does brilliantly to field to his right and prevent the single

He is so dynamic in the field, Symonds. He really does add zest to Australia

31.2

Clark to Strauss, no run, solidly defended on the front foot

31.3

Clark to Strauss, 2 runs, pushed into the covers and they scamper a single. In comes the throw, but it's wide

Ah it's Mark Taylor on comms at Sky, the man who talks faster than the speed of light

31.4

Clark to Strauss, no run, calmly pushed to leg, no run there

31.5

Clark to Strauss, no run, fuller, on off stump and it's rather spooned into the gully by Strauss who nevertheless played it with soft hands

I'd offer you some insight into what Tubby Taylor is saying, but unfortunately have forgotten to recharge my Mark Taylor Decoder 2000 this evening. It's all a blur

31.6

Clark to Strauss, no run, left alone outside off

End of over 32 (2 runs) England 70/2
AJ Strauss    40* (100b 1x4)      SR Clark    8-1-15-1
PD Collingwood    7* (28b 1x4)      A Symonds    3-1-7-0

32.1

Symonds to Collingwood, 1 run, too straight from Symonds and Collingwood turns it off his legs neatly

32.2

Symonds to Strauss, no run, cracking delivery - this pitch is ideally suited to Symonds's wobblers. And this little offcutter jags back into Strauss who shoulders arms, the ball just passing over his middle stump

32.3

Symonds to Strauss, no run, a touch fuller and Strauss punches it to cover

32.4

Symonds to Strauss, no run, ooh and he jags this one off the seam away from Strauss - but the batsman read it. Well..he left it alone at any rate

32.5

Symonds to Strauss, 1 run

32.6

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, nicely bowled, cutting this back into Collingwood who offers no shot

Symonds looking really good here, moving the ball off the seam seemingly at will

End of over 33 (2 runs) England 72/2
PD Collingwood    8* (30b 1x4)      A Symonds    4-1-9-0
AJ Strauss    41* (104b 1x4)      SR Clark    8-1-15-1

33.1

Clark to Strauss, no run, and he's dropped. Strauss drives on the up, loses a hand off the bat and the ball flies straight to Matthew Hayden at gully - just to his right - and, somehow, he shells it

What a clanger that is. Strauss has looked solid so far today...

33.2

Clark to Strauss, no run, ooh Clark hurries Strauss here who tries to whip it off his legs

33.3

Clark to Strauss, no run, and Strauss does get bat on this, pushing it to a deep short leg

33.4

Clark to Strauss, no run, very well left outside off by Strauss

33.5

Clark to Strauss, no run, well bowled indeed! Clark's control of line is terrific to watch...here, landing it a touch straighter - maybe an inch outside Strauss's off stump. But to his credit Strauss left it well, watching the ball into Gilchrist's gloves

33.6

Clark to Strauss, no run, and he shoulders arms again to end the over

They're having drinks out there in the middle. Water, probably. Or perhaps ribena. What a marvellous drink ribena is - as is bovril. Here's Symonds

End of over 34 (maiden) England 72/2
AJ Strauss    41* (110b 1x4)      SR Clark    9-2-15-1
PD Collingwood    8* (30b 1x4)      A Symonds    4-1-9-0

34.1

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, good line on off stump, cutting back just a touch on Collingwood who defends solidly

34.2

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, another big appeal, Collingwood coming forward and the ball rapping him on the pad but it's outside the line

34.3

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, much better from Collingwood, coming right forward and driving it fluently into the covers

34.4

Symonds to Collingwood, 1 run, pushed to midwicket

34.5

Symonds to Strauss, 2 runs, the wrong line, down the leg side and Strauss flicks it calmly down to fine leg

And that's Strauss's highest score of the series. Ergo, he will now fall...

34.6

Symonds to Strauss, 2 runs, lovely clip off his pads, in front of square - neat, calm stroke

End of over 35 (5 runs) England 77/2
AJ Strauss    45* (112b 1x4)      A Symonds    5-1-14-0
PD Collingwood    9* (34b 1x4)      SR Clark    9-2-15-1

35.1

Clark to Collingwood, no run, just outside the off stump, Collingwood comes confidently forward to defend

35.2

Clark to Collingwood, no run, lovely bowling, that's a superb ball from Clark; swinging into Collingwood who goes for an expansive drive, the ball cuts away. Unplayable. It was certainly full enough to drive but the movement beat Collingwood

35.3

Clark to Collingwood, 2 runs, "catch" is the optimistic cry from, someone, as Collingwood works this airborne just to the left of short leg

35.4

Clark to Collingwood, no run, full and straight, Collingwood blocks it out

35.5

Clark to Collingwood, no run, poor, poor stroke. Wider, fuller, Collingwood goes for another expansive drive but fails to move his feet. Fortunately the away swing saved him...he is struggling here

35.6

Clark to Collingwood, no run, straighter and this time Collingwood shoulders arms

End of over 36 (2 runs) England 79/2
PD Collingwood    11* (40b 1x4)      SR Clark    10-2-17-1
AJ Strauss    45* (112b 1x4)      A Symonds    5-1-14-0

Mitchell Johnson is on as a sub for...not sure. We'll let you know

36.1

Symonds to Strauss, no run, Strauss is quickly back into his crease, firmly punching it to cover

36.2

Symonds to Strauss, no run, forward this time, defending it solidly

36.3

Symonds to Strauss, no run, wider of the off stump and he offers no shot

36.4

Symonds to Strauss, no run, too wide of Strauss's off stump and it's easily left alone

36.5

Symonds to Strauss, no run, wider still, Strauss late cuts this - a chop, if anything - down to gully

36.6

Symonds to Strauss, no run, pushed back to the bowler who, typically, fields it with ease on the half volley

End of over 37 (maiden) England 79/2
AJ Strauss    45* (118b 1x4)      A Symonds    6-2-14-0
PD Collingwood    11* (40b 1x4)      SR Clark    10-2-17-1

37.1

Clark to Collingwood, no run, ooh and this jags back nastily on Collingwood who shapes to play it, before deciding to leave it, and is rapped high on the pad

Warne's getting loose

37.2

Clark to Collingwood, no run, and a little bit too wide to trouble the right hander who leaves this alone with ease

37.3

Clark to Collingwood, no run, a fluent cover drive from Collingwood but, inevitably, he can't find the gap

37.4

Clark to Collingwood, no run, excellent line just outside the off stump but, this time, Collingwood won't be lured into driving. Good length, too

"Well. He's still there. And that's all you can ask" offers Botham when asked to opine on Collingwood's innings. Insightful as ever.

37.5

Clark to Collingwood, no run, left alone, too wide to bother with

Cries of "Warnie" ring out round his MCG

37.6

Clark to Collingwood, no run, straighter this time and it's left alone

Langer creeps up on Warne, takes off his cap and the entire MCG roar a cheer. But the hat goes back on and Warne chugs back to the slips! Great moment

End of over 38 (maiden) England 79/2
PD Collingwood    11* (46b 1x4)      SR Clark    11-3-17-1
AJ Strauss    45* (118b 1x4)      A Symonds    6-2-14-0

38.1

Symonds to Strauss, no run, ooh that one spat up a touch on Strauss who defended it off the back foot

38.2

Symonds to Strauss, no run, too wide of Strauss who left it alone

38.3

Symonds to Strauss, 3 runs, fabulous shot through the covers, on the up - firmly, confidently struck - and that would've been four at Adelaide or Perth. But not here, and it's three more to Strauss

38.4

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, pushed back to the bowler

"Such frivolity on the first afternoon of an Ashes Test," muses Greybeard Miller. "The Aussies' intensity has slipped; it's gonna be 3-2".

38.5

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, down the leg side and Collingwood misses out here

38.6

Symonds to Collingwood, no run, firmly driven but, guess what, straight to mid off

End of over 39 (3 runs) England 82/2
PD Collingwood    11* (49b 1x4)      A Symonds    7-2-17-0
AJ Strauss    48* (121b 1x4)      SR Clark    11-3-17-1

39.1

Clark to Strauss, no run, well left. It was pretty wide but Strauss is showing excellent judgement of his off stump today so far

"Kevin Pietersen should be batting" says Nasser Hussain. And I rather agree...a waste having him in ahead of Collingwood

39.2

Clark to Strauss, no run, left alone outside the off stump

39.3

Clark to Strauss, no run, ever so slightly fuller but it's too wide and easily left alone

Time for a change I think. Clark is just showing signs of tiring here

39.4

Clark to Strauss, no run, on off stump and pushed firmly, solidly back to Clark

And still the crowd want Warne. A long, slow cry of "Waaaaarnie" rings around the ground

Around the wicket

39.5

Clark to Strauss, no run, left alone - too wide

And Warne is definitely warming up now, swinging his arms at slip. The crowd see it and cheer

39.6

Clark to Strauss, no run, pushed to leg

And here's Warne! He's got the bowling marker in his hand, whips off his hat and jumper and the ground stand, almost to a man, before he's even reached his mark. What an ovation. What a moment. He's warming up now, tossing a few looseners; a wry smile on his face as Ponting and he discuss the field and, finally, the crowd sit down. Extra police ringing the ground, too. Here he comes

End of over 40 (maiden) England 82/2
AJ Strauss    48* (127b 1x4)      SR Clark    12-4-17-1
PD Collingwood    11* (49b 1x4)      A Symonds    7-2-17-0

Huge cheer, here he comes...

40.1

Warne to Collingwood, no run, and he starts with a crowd-silencing full toss which Collingwood, in his current state, can't do anything with

40.2

Warne to Collingwood, no run, ooh and that's better, on middle stump and Collingwood prods at it, defending it

40.3

Warne to Collingwood, no run, and Warne loses his action here, consequently sending the ball miles wide of Collingwood's leg stump and the batsman pads it away

40.4

Warne to Collingwood, no run, well flighted on middle-and-leg, Collingwood blocks it out

40.5

Warne to Collingwood, FOUR, shot! Down the pitch and Collingwood whips it over midwicket for four

40.6

Warne to Collingwood, 1 run, possibly the flipper but it's too wide and Collingwood chops it square

A double change. Here comes Brett Lee from the Members End

End of over 41 (5 runs) England 87/2
PD Collingwood    16* (55b 2x4)      SK Warne    1-0-5-0
AJ Strauss    48* (127b 1x4)      SR Clark    12-4-17-1

41.1

Lee to Collingwood, no run, very full but too wide and it's left alone

41.2

Lee to Collingwood, no run, ugly, wide, loose delivery which again Collingwood leaves well alone

41.3

Lee to Collingwood, no run, that's better from Lee, in the channel but Collingwood again won't be tempted

41.4

Lee to Collingwood, no run, and at last Lee makes him play, the ball rising on Collingwood who plays it down with soft hands into the gully

41.5

Lee to Collingwood, no run, chopped down to the right of Hayden in the gully - oh, good stop, diving full-length to his right

Still...he should've caught Strauss a few overs ago...

41.6

Lee to Collingwood, no run, left alone to end the over

Ponting's off the field (Mitchell Johnson is subbing). Here's Warne

End of over 42 (maiden) England 87/2
PD Collingwood    16* (61b 2x4)      B Lee    8-3-22-1
AJ Strauss    48* (127b 1x4)      SK Warne    1-0-5-0

42.1

Warne to Strauss, 1 run, wide of Strauss's off stump who collects it, sweeping it through midwicket with aplomb

42.2

Warne to Collingwood, no run, short, wide, Collingwood rocks back and cuts...but can't find the gap

42.3

Warne to Collingwood, no run, ooh a beauty! But not the 700th. Drifting into Collingwood and spinning past his meek forward defence

42.4

Warne to Collingwood, no run, again Warne loses his action here - very round-arm - and it's miles wide of the right hander's leg stump

42.5

Warne to Collingwood, no run, too short this time and Collingwood cuts into the gully

42.6

Warne to Collingwood, 1 run, well played, swept quite confidently down to Lee at fine leg who pockets the ball and jogs up to his mark

End of over 43 (2 runs) England 89/2
PD Collingwood    17* (66b 2x4)      SK Warne    2-0-7-0
AJ Strauss    49* (128b 1x4)      B Lee    8-3-22-1

43.1

Lee to Collingwood, no run, scythed off the back foot to Hayden in the gully who fields it very well; that was hit like a tracer, just short of him

43.2

Lee to Collingwood, no run, ugly, short-arm pull - a jab, more than a pull - from Collingwood who is hurried, the ball landing just short of mid on

43.3

Lee to Collingwood, no run, wider of the off stump, no swing there for Lee and it's left alone

43.4

Lee to Collingwood, no run, very well bowled, a fraction fuller and Collingwood is again hurried into the defensive stroke, just clamping his bat down in time

43.5

Lee to Collingwood, no run, firmly blocked out with a straight bat on the back foot

43.6

Lee to Collingwood, FOUR, ah, fine shot, upper-cutting Lee over the slips down to the vacant third man for four. Intelligent batting, that

End of over 44 (4 runs) England 93/2
PD Collingwood    21* (72b 3x4)      B Lee    9-3-26-1
AJ Strauss    49* (128b 1x4)      SK Warne    2-0-7-0

44.1

Warne to Strauss, no run, and he sweeps, is rapped on the pad and the MCG roar a collective appeal...but he got a bottom edge

44.2

Warne to Strauss, 1 run, too short, Strauss rocks back and turns it to leg for a single to bring up his fifty

A very fine knock indeed, in trying circumstances

44.3

Warne to Collingwood, FOUR, shot! Swept with great timing and that races for four. Too wide of the leg stump though, again

44.4

Warne to Collingwood, no run, that's more like it Warne; on middle-and-leg, turning away and it's defended by the right hander

44.5

Warne to Collingwood, no run, cracking ball! That was close, spinning massively away from Collingwood's forward poke

44.6

Warne to Collingwood, 3 runs, wide of the crease and it's wide of his leg stump; Collingwood sweeps again down to fine leg but the quicksand outfield prevents it going for four

And there's England's 100. At last.

End of over 45 (8 runs) England 101/2
PD Collingwood    28* (76b 4x4)      SK Warne    3-0-15-0
AJ Strauss    50* (130b 1x4)      B Lee    9-3-26-1

45.1

Lee to Collingwood, no run, defended off the back foot, Collingwood jumping back into position as though stung by a bee

45.2

Lee to Collingwood, no run, no, too wide and he doesn't need to play at this

45.3

Lee to Collingwood, no run, again, too wide. Lee simply must make him play.

Strauss, by the way, has just passed 1000 runs for this calendar year and, surprisingly (or not), is the third Englishmen to reach the mark behind Pietersen and Collingwood

45.4

Lee to Collingwood, no run, that's better, attacking the batsman's stumps and Collingwood is forced into defence

45.4

Lee to Collingwood, no run, pushed out into the covers

45.5

Lee to Collingwood, no run, blocked out into the covers again

45.6

Lee to Collingwood, OUT, gone! Straighter this time from Lee, cutting away a touch from Collingwood who is unnerved by the extra bounce, spooning it to Ponting at second slip who took a fine, tumbling catch

PD Collingwood c Ponting b Lee 28 (115m 82b 4x4 0x6) SR: 34.14

Here's Kevin Pietersen

End of over 46 (wicket maiden) England 101/3
     B Lee    10-4-26-2
AJ Strauss    50* (130b 1x4)      SK Warne    3-0-15-0

46.1

Warne to Strauss, no run, on off stump, Strauss hides his bat behind the pad - dangerously

46.2

Warne to Strauss, OUT, 700 for Shane Warne! There it is, his 700th Test wicket and what a ball to reach the milestone! Outside Strauss's off stump, spinning massively back past Strauss's expansive cover drive

AJ Strauss b Warne 50 (206m 132b 1x4 0x6) SR: 37.87

And what a moment this is. Warne dancing around ala Monty Panesar, tossing the ball away - the noise out there is incredible. He retrieves the ball, doffing it like a cap to all and sundry and the crowd are going absolutely bananas

46.3

Warne to Flintoff, 2 runs, on leg stump and Flintoff calmly tucks it behind square

Incidentally...this is all a bit messy for England. But enough of such musings - Warne's taken 700!

46.4

Warne to Flintoff, FOUR, bang! Smacked past Warne - just past him - and that's hit like a tracer down the ground for four

This could be brief but entertaining

46.5

Warne to Flintoff, no run, ah, and the first "noice barrlin Shine" from Gilchrist as Flintoff pushes it to leg

46.6

Warne to Flintoff, no run, a touch quicker and Flintoff defends

A monstrous ovation for Warne who wings his hat around the ground, the crowd all cheer and applaud

End of over 47 (6 runs) England 107/4
A Flintoff    6* (4b 1x4)      SK Warne    4-0-21-1
KP Pietersen    0* (0b)      B Lee    10-4-26-2

47.1

Lee to Pietersen, 1 run, clunked to mid on - oh no, what's happening now? They go for a single, Flintoff's ball watching - he's going to have to hurry here and just makes his ground. What a terrible run

Atherton's going spare on Sky. "Terrible run. Terrible". Fly slip in place for Flintoff

47.2

Lee to Flintoff, no run, defended solidly on the front foot

47.3

Lee to Flintoff, 1 run, firmly prodded past gully to that short third man, or fly slip

47.4

Lee to Pietersen, no run, and Pietersen is hurried into defence here, the ball bobbing up a touch and Lee runs down optimistically

47.5

Lee to Pietersen, 1 run, pushed to midwicket and they scamper a single without alarm

47.6

Lee to Flintoff, no run, and Flintoff gets a thick inside edge, trying to drive it back to Lee

End of over 48 (3 runs) England 110/4
A Flintoff    7* (7b 1x4)      B Lee    11-4-29-2
KP Pietersen    2* (3b)      SK Warne    4-0-21-1

Incidentally, that was Warne's 50th wicket at the MCG. 700 wickets. Madness.

48.1

Warne to Pietersen, no run, Pietersen down the pitch, whipping him to a deepish mid on

48.2

Warne to Pietersen, no run, a big, confident stride down the pitch but Pietersen just defends this

48.3

Warne to Pietersen, no run, just outside off, again Pietersen comes forward to defend

48.4

Warne to Pietersen, no run, on leg stump, half a shimmy down the pitch and it's whipped to mid on again

48.5

Warne to Pietersen, no run, again it's firmly defended, albeit without actually meeting the ball - his bat waftily, airily poking at it, as is Pietersen's want

48.6

Warne to Pietersen, no run, and it's defended to end the over

End of over 49 (maiden) England 110/4
KP Pietersen    2* (9b)      SK Warne    5-1-21-1
A Flintoff    7* (7b 1x4)      B Lee    11-4-29-2

49.1

Lee to Flintoff, no run, off the back foot Flintoff defends, head over the ball

49.2

Lee to Flintoff, 3 runs, short, Flintoff right back in his crease practically sitting on his stumps and he pulls this through midwicket with power

49.3

Lee to Pietersen, 1 run, drifting down the leg side and he whips it down to fine leg

49.4

Lee to Flintoff, no run, nearly! Swing and a miss from Flintoff - that's the perfect length from Lee, luring Flintoff forward

49.5

Lee to Flintoff, no run, short and wide, Flintoff tries to hit this into China and misses

49.6

Lee to Flintoff, no run, ooh blimey, a very wafty back foot poke and prodigious swing after the ball pitched

End of over 50 (4 runs) England 114/4
A Flintoff    10* (12b 1x4)      B Lee    12-4-33-2
KP Pietersen    3* (10b)      SK Warne    5-1-21-1
Overs 1-50  | Overs 51-100
Series Results
Australia v England at Sydney - Jan 2-5, 2007
Australia won by 10 wickets
Australia v England at Melbourne - Dec 26-28, 2006
Australia won by an innings and 99 runs
Australia v England at Perth - Dec 14-18, 2006
Australia won by 206 runs
Australia v England at Adelaide - Dec 1-5, 2006
Australia won by 6 wickets
Australia v England at Brisbane - Nov 23-27, 2006
Australia won by 277 runs
More results »

Match Coverage

Photos

Dec 28, 2006

Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath wave at the crowd during the final Test at the MCG, Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, December 28, 2006

Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath wave at the crowd during the final Test at the MCG

© Getty Images

Dec 28, 2006

Brett Lee bowls Matthew Hoggard as Australia make it 4-0, Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, December 28, 2006

Brett Lee bowls Matthew Hoggard as Australia make it 4-0

© Getty Images

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