December 29, 2002

Australia falls behind for the first time


MELBOURNE, Dec 29 AAP - England ensured Australia had to bat again by reaching 5-326 at tea on day four of the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Trailing by 281 runs on the first innings, England's far better second innings helped it save face but it was still staring at a fourth straight defeat this series.

England opener Michael Vaughan led the fightback with a superb 145 that made him the leading run-scorer in Test cricket this calendar year, with an aggregate of 1,481 runs.

Vaughan was caught at first slip by Martin Love from the bowling of Stuart MacGill before Robert Key (52) and John Crawley (29 not out) pushed the total past that required to make Australia bat again.

Key survived until the second new ball, which Australia took at 4-268. One run later, Key was caught by Ricky Ponting at second slip from the bowling of Jason Gillespie.

Gillespie (2-43), McGrath (1-44) and MacGill (2-143) were the wicket takers.

Australia made 6(dec)-551 in its first innings.