December 28, 2002

Fiery Gillespie burns England

MELBOURNE, Dec 28 AAP - Jason Gillespie looked mean and nasty.

His figures at the end of the day looked great.

Two lively spells from Gillespie and a marathon effort from Stuart MacGill helped Australia make short work of England on day three of the Boxing Day Test, keeping Steve Waugh's side firmly on track for a baggy green sweep of the Ashes.

Resuming at 3-97 in reply to Australia's first innings of 6(dec)-551, England lost 3-7 in the first hour before being rolled for a paltry 270 - only 20 runs more than Justin Langer made in his epic knock.

Allrounder Craig White made an unbeaten 85 carrying a torn side muscle that will prevent him bowling for six weeks and probably rule him out of next week's Sydney Test.

"It's touch and go," he said.

Asked to follow-on, England openers Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan made a better fist of it, putting on 67 runs only for MacGill to strike through a baffling LBW decision from Zimbabwean umpire Russell Tiffin.

At stumps, England was 2-111, still 170 runs behind.

Trescothick (37) attempted to sweep a leg break from MacGill that landed outside off stump.

The ball hit his front pad still outside the line, but Tiffin raised his finger anyway as MacGill fell to his knees.

He may have been in shock.

Australia got its money's worth from 31-year-old MacGill, who was filling the big shoes of injured Shane Warne.

He bowled 36 straight overs during England's first innings, finishing with 2-108, then resumed his work in the 10th over of England's second innings and bowled out the day.

He kept bustling in and landing his repertoire on a good line and length, proving less expensive than feared.

He almost struck again in his final over, enticing England captain Nasser Hussain out of his crease as Adam Gilchrist whipped off the bails.

It was close, but the video umpire said not out.

"Stuart bowled really well, he was spinning the ball a lot and looked like he was going to get a wicket a lot of the time," said Gillespie.

"He bowled most of the day, I can't speak highly enough of him, he bowled really well."

MacGill has sent down a total of 49 overs in the match, including 38 today.

But it was Gillespie, snarling like always through his run-up, who did the real damage from the other end.

He bowled fast and straight for the outstanding return of 4-25 from 16.3 overs in England's first innings and picked up 1-20 in the second.

Waugh says Gillespie never bowls badly, but sometimes he doesn't get the rewards.

He got his just desserts today.

He took care of Mark Butcher (six) in the second innings when Martin Love continued his dream debut by taking a screaming one-handed catch low to his left at first slip.

Fiery Brett Lee (2-70) and ever-reliable Glenn McGrath (1-41) joined the wicket-taking action in the first innings, while Waugh gave himself four overs, trapping James Foster LBW to take 1-13.

Waugh's men remained firmly on course for the first Ashes whitewash since Warwick "The Big Ship" Armstrong led his Australian side to a 5-0 triumph in 1920-21.

The only bright spot for England was opener Michael Vaughan (55no) beating Dennis Amiss' record for the most runs by an English batsman in a calendar year - on the same day and ground Matthew Hayden broke Bob Simpson's Australian record a year ago.

Vaughan has made 1,391 runs this year, more than any other Test player except India's Sachin Tendulkar (1,392).

Hayden has been Australia's most prolific with 1,159.