Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 1st day December 26, 2013

Pietersen fights but Australia on top

109

England 6 for 226 (Pietersen 67*, Bresnan 1*) v Australia
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Same old story for England

Never in the field of Test match conflict were so few runs watched by so many. A world record crowd of 91,092 at the MCG sat with admirable patience as a tentative England nudged and scraped against Australia's unrelenting bowlers on Boxing Day.

Kevin Pietersen's unbeaten 67 epitomised the tourists' determination to improve but also their flaws. A softly, softly approach took him past Geoff Boycott on England's list of all-time run scorers but also offered up a pair of chances that conveyed the confidence lacking among Alastair Cook's men. It was not hard to escape the feeling that had the Ashes still been at stake one or both might have been taken.

This is not to say Australia's bowlers failed to replicate the pressure they have applied so successfully in the first three Tests. On the contrary, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson all delivered spells of the highest quality, let down only by the slowness of the pitch and the occasional fielding lapse.

Johnson's burst with the second new ball had the enormous crowd baying as their forebears once did for Dennis Lillee. The din was rewarded with the wickets of Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow in a sequence that left England staring at an inadequate first innings despite all their stubbornness. Shane Watson's complaint of groin soreness left Michael Clarke one bowler short, but early wickets on day two would still leave him satisfied with the decision to send the tourists in to bat.

A leg bye to Harris' second ball of the morning had given England the lead in a match for the first time this series, emblematic of their struggles so far. Cook was in a quite positive frame of mind however, cutting Johnson behind point and driving him through cover to cause Clarke to call upon Siddle after only two costly overs from his left-arm slinger, then follow up with a quarter of early overs from Nathan Lyon.

At the other end Harris gained some useful movement, and Michael Carberry was squared up by a delivery that seamed away after straightening onto the line of the stumps. The resultant edge seemed destined for Clarke's hands at second slip, but Steve Smith dived eagerly across from third and deflected it from the path of his captain - a rare missed chance for Australia in this series.

Cook evaded one speculative appeal for caught behind from Harris when ball brushed pad rather than bat, but his evident desire to get bat on ball would result in his downfall. Siddle changed ends to replace Harris, and soon angled across Cook, who sparred unwisely at one he might have left and snicked it straight to Clarke.

Joe Root appeared hesitant to come forward on a pitch offering seam deviation to those bowlers who deigned to search for it, his preference to sit on the crease enhanced by a Johnson delivery that reared into his shoulder. Siddle beat Root's outside edge numerous times as the interval ticked near, but the Englishmen survived to lunch.

For all his effort, Carberry has often followed a curious batting pattern this summer, invariably starting briskly before losing momentum and eventually tenure as the bowlers tighten their grip. Almost as often the Australians have brought about his dismissal by trying a line from around the wicket. It happened again not long into the afternoon, when Watson broke one back from that angle to tip off the bails as Carberry shouldered arms.

Root's occupation was seldom anything other than uncertain, his bat groping at many deliveries moving in the air and off the seam. While Siddle had been responsible for most of these balls, it was Harris who claimed the wicket, the first projectile of a new spell sliding away after pitching and taking a thin edge through to Brad Haddin - the wicketkeeper's 50th for 2013.

The quality of Australia's bowling left England battling for survival and more or less giving up on scoring for long periods. A sequence of 12 overs reaped that many runs exactly, while Harris at one point sported figures of 14-8-15-1. After Watson's pained exit, Pietersen sought to redress the balance, swivelling to hook Harris but making contact more top-edge than middle.

The substitute fielder Nathan Coulter-Nile took the catch with a slight jump, but upon discovering how close he was to the boundary rope back-pedalled furiously and tried to hurl the ball skywards, without success. A six pushed Pietersen's score forward, while also offering him the sliver of luck he has appeared to lack for much of this tour.

Into the evening session Harris, Siddle, Lyon and Johnson did not allow England much in the way of elbow room, bowling tightly and moving the ball enough to keep the batsmen hesitant. Bell's stand with Pietersen was worth 67, most of them accrued almost by stealth, pinching runs here and there as though waiting for when the hosts were not looking.

This approach kept the bowlers in a confident frame of mind, and it was no great surprise when Harris conjured a little away seam to find Bell's edge and offer Haddin another catch. Pietersen continued to struggle on, his innings interrupted somewhat theatrically when he complained of nausea and twice called for drinks to help clear his system.

He offered a second chance, this time pulling to George Bailey at midwicket, but raised his bat wearily for 50 around the time the attendance surpassed the 90,800 who walked into this ground in 1961 on day two of the fifth Test of the 1960-61 series between Australia and the West Indies.

Stokes offered rather more dynamism, busily collecting 14, but was to fall prey to the second new ball in the hands of Johnson. He was a little too late and inside the line of a fullish delivery, resulting in an edge to Watson, now fit for slips catching if not bowling. Johnson's pace proved far too much for Matt Prior's replacement Jonny Bairstow, who was bowled between a rather large gap between bat and pad after upper cutting one skittish six over the slips.

Pietersen and Tim Bresnan scrounged their way to stumps, but a day of obstinacy had earned England only the most meagre of bridgeheads in front of a throng that might have hoped for more.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Biggus on December 26, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    I'm not going to complain about the English run rate in terms of a spectacle since sometimes that's just Test Cricket, and I still found it good watching for the bowling alone anyway. The problem I DO have with the scoring rate is that if England lose early wickets tomorrow, and there's every reason to expect that they will, they could still be bowled out for well under 300 when 400 must be the bare pass mark on this wicket at this time. The longer you spend at the wicket the more likely you're going to get a jaffa, so best make at least SOME hay while the sun shines. England just can't find that happy medium between being duly careful and keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Our guys' fielding was a little sloppy today but I'll just write that off to a little too much Christmas pudding. I don't expect England to be batting after lunch tomorrow and if they are well good luck to them, we need a contest fitting for the occasion.

  • Barnesy4444 on December 27, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    All of Warner's runs have been in the second innings after Australia already have a big lead. First innings runs are more important and I'm sure he would be aware of this.

    The same can be said for Watson, second innings runs only when in front.

  • on December 27, 2013, 0:55 GMT

    Can't believe some of the rubbish on these comments. You can't be serious cricket fans if you propose dropping the entire team!

  • on December 27, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    Another gutless pathetic display from our batsmen. Going to sleep, not going to watch this rubbish anymore.

  • on December 27, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    Great Bowling by Mitch! James Anderson looked the most comfortable of all the English batsmen. Maybe he could become their new specialist number 3 whilst bowling a bit of his partime slow military medium and Joe Root come become Englands next opening bowler/ number 11. If FFL is still around there's no doubt he would of made mention of that last wicket by Lyon. The Zooter does it again with Monty playing for turn (lol).

  • Kolpak1989 on December 27, 2013, 0:15 GMT

    @Biggus, you called it. Lots of quick wickets for England and a sub 300 score looks a certainty from here. Paying the price for negative cricket on day one.

  • CherryWood_Champion on December 27, 2013, 0:09 GMT

    Looks this series is going to be something similar to Beefy's ashes endeavors when he took the Aussies head on. Seems to be Johnson's turn to return the favor. I am pretty damn sure that Johnsy's IPL stint with Mumbai Indians had made a huge impact on his confidence to get back into his rhythm.

  • on December 26, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    We didnt hear about 'insipid and purposeless' batting when England were winning the ashes just a few months ago? Stop being so dramatic. They have had their fun at the top, now it's time for England to start rebuilding.

  • Bonehead_maz on December 26, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    3 dropped catches in the day. A first session all at sea. Our Aussie team needs to improve !

  • Rowayton on December 26, 2013, 23:32 GMT

    It's one of the things that selectors sometimes seem to forget that you are picking a team to play the next game, not the last one. Prior may have had a crook match in Perth, but having seen both him and Bairstow over the last few months, seriously, which one do you think is liable to succeed going forward? And why are Rankin and Finn in Australia - did they need the frequent flyer points or something?

  • Biggus on December 26, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    I'm not going to complain about the English run rate in terms of a spectacle since sometimes that's just Test Cricket, and I still found it good watching for the bowling alone anyway. The problem I DO have with the scoring rate is that if England lose early wickets tomorrow, and there's every reason to expect that they will, they could still be bowled out for well under 300 when 400 must be the bare pass mark on this wicket at this time. The longer you spend at the wicket the more likely you're going to get a jaffa, so best make at least SOME hay while the sun shines. England just can't find that happy medium between being duly careful and keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Our guys' fielding was a little sloppy today but I'll just write that off to a little too much Christmas pudding. I don't expect England to be batting after lunch tomorrow and if they are well good luck to them, we need a contest fitting for the occasion.

  • Barnesy4444 on December 27, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    All of Warner's runs have been in the second innings after Australia already have a big lead. First innings runs are more important and I'm sure he would be aware of this.

    The same can be said for Watson, second innings runs only when in front.

  • on December 27, 2013, 0:55 GMT

    Can't believe some of the rubbish on these comments. You can't be serious cricket fans if you propose dropping the entire team!

  • on December 27, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    Another gutless pathetic display from our batsmen. Going to sleep, not going to watch this rubbish anymore.

  • on December 27, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    Great Bowling by Mitch! James Anderson looked the most comfortable of all the English batsmen. Maybe he could become their new specialist number 3 whilst bowling a bit of his partime slow military medium and Joe Root come become Englands next opening bowler/ number 11. If FFL is still around there's no doubt he would of made mention of that last wicket by Lyon. The Zooter does it again with Monty playing for turn (lol).

  • Kolpak1989 on December 27, 2013, 0:15 GMT

    @Biggus, you called it. Lots of quick wickets for England and a sub 300 score looks a certainty from here. Paying the price for negative cricket on day one.

  • CherryWood_Champion on December 27, 2013, 0:09 GMT

    Looks this series is going to be something similar to Beefy's ashes endeavors when he took the Aussies head on. Seems to be Johnson's turn to return the favor. I am pretty damn sure that Johnsy's IPL stint with Mumbai Indians had made a huge impact on his confidence to get back into his rhythm.

  • on December 26, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    We didnt hear about 'insipid and purposeless' batting when England were winning the ashes just a few months ago? Stop being so dramatic. They have had their fun at the top, now it's time for England to start rebuilding.

  • Bonehead_maz on December 26, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    3 dropped catches in the day. A first session all at sea. Our Aussie team needs to improve !

  • Rowayton on December 26, 2013, 23:32 GMT

    It's one of the things that selectors sometimes seem to forget that you are picking a team to play the next game, not the last one. Prior may have had a crook match in Perth, but having seen both him and Bairstow over the last few months, seriously, which one do you think is liable to succeed going forward? And why are Rankin and Finn in Australia - did they need the frequent flyer points or something?

  • Bonehead_maz on December 26, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    Ryan Harris ohhhh Ryan Harris. Team talk '50's style :- I sent them in and I hope you don't embarrass me. Seriously, Ryan Harris is the new Lindwall ! (seemed very likely to me the skipper would probably have been embarrassed !)

  • pat_one_back on December 26, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    Well if Eng bat on a bit this morning, they'll need a ballistic Pietersen and some arsey tail end swinging to post a reasonable total, seems unlikely. Not too fussed by the scoring rate overall but too many good scoring balls went unpunished by Eng finest stroke players, for no valid tactical reason. Warner can negate any pressure chasing 300 in less than a session. Unlike KP Bell was hardly playing for his career. Understand Prior had to go but Bairstow looks a right bunny with his trigger backfoot step to leg against the pace of MJ, he was worked over beautifully, I thought he was a batsmen/keeper, I mean didn't he bat 6 a few games last series? What has he been practising in the nets all tour?!!! Big call so early but with the sun forecast to shine this afternoon and a scorcher due tomorrow, I'm backing Aust to win by an innings before lunch day 5, maybe not such a big call predicting normal service continues for this tour I guess!

  • disco_bob on December 26, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    @Ozcricketwriter, I'm not so sure about this 'on a pitch that will get harder to bat on' business because it rarely comes to pass, witness for example SA coming within 8 runs of obliterating the old world record chase on a 5th day pitch that was a minefield from day one.

  • BounceTrack_BULLY on December 26, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    England needs to be aggressive in their approach. To dominate Australia in Australia is not easy, but they had done it previously.

  • shot274 on December 26, 2013, 19:38 GMT

    Had enough England are just plain pathetic. Joe Root is not an internatinal no 3!He is suposedly one of the successes of the tour-one score above 50 in 7 innings. and its not just the scores. he looks out of his depth.Its because of teams like England that 20-20 and ODIs flourish!Insipid and purposeless batting!

  • on December 26, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    I know I keep saying this but James Taylor needs to be given a chance. He's young and will have a future but try him now. I don't know what he has done to annoy the selectors but if the team is revamped he must have a part. Bairstow is not English crickets future glove man. Jos Buttler will be... play Davies in the next series.

  • warneneverchuck on December 26, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    I think eng shud go with younger batsman and see how it works. Ther is no shame even if younger generation fails. Look at Indian young batsman they r batting wonderfully well against second best attack in thw world after Australia

  • 3ddy on December 26, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    where is finn? though he may be out of form , still he is most dangerous bowler on this depleted pace attack and why are they playing bits and pieces like bresnan and stokes? test cricket is about proper batsman and bowlers rather then bits and pieces IMO.

  • on December 26, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    As a cricket fan, I was delighted to see close to 92,000 people turning up at MCG!!! Ironically, the one day game between NZ vs WI attracted a very meager crowd despite talks of Limited overs being the preferred spectator friendly format. Happy to see good quality cricket being supported strongly. I suppose 100,000 people would have turned up if series was still alive.

  • jb633 on December 26, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    Pathetic display yet again from our guys. What do the selectors see in Bairstow. I don't mind seeing young guys fail, it's part and parcel of their education, but they must display some talent and ability to play at the top level. Bairstow has not showed any with either gloves or bat if you ask me. This tour has been a disaster for English fans as I probably speak for many when I say I can't wait for it to end so we can regroup and have a big clearout. Aus 5-0 is such a formality in this series I am sure even the Aussies will have lost interest by the time we get to Sydney. Please can our selectors stop favouring some players over others. James Taylor is so much more talented that Bairstow and Steve Davies would do a better job with gloves and bat.

  • on December 26, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    After Root, when Bairstow was chosen, I was very happy to see that England at last started encouraging their OWN youngsters, instead of leaning on imports and other sundry mercenaries who deserted thier OWN countries looking for GREENer pastures.

    Choice of Cook turned out to be excellent. But, alas Bairstow is no where near Prior in form!

    There are no Alec Stewarts (Alec was great. He could keepwell, bat well, and be an opener after keeping for two or more days at a stretch), among the youngsters over all those county teams?

  • landl47 on December 26, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    The worst of both worlds for England. Having lost the series and been gifted first innings by Clarke (I was amazed when I found out Aus had won the toss) they could have at least tried to entertain the crowd. Instead they tried to wear down the Australian bowlers by simply hanging around. It was entirely predictable that this would fail and it did. All the top 5 reached 20 and all stayed in for at least an hour, but they scored so slowly that when they were out England didn't have enough runs on the board.

    Cook, Root and Bell were caught on the crease and Carberry continued his streak of getting out to balls he believed he had safely left alone. Pietersen managed to stay there with the help of 2 dropped catches, but even he couldn't carry the score forward. Stokes and Bairstow got good balls from Johnson with the second new ball and England struggled to 226 in a full day's play.

    Today just confirmed that England needs a rethink on tactics and possibly selection.

  • on December 26, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    Yes, I think that Australia have reasonable control of this Test. A lot depends on Pietersen to get England up to that first innings 300 mark. Let's see what the bowlers can do with a reasonable total on the board. I'm not confident, having said that.

  • PrasPunter on December 26, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    this Aussie pace attack is way better than the one that toils in Durban. SA plays only with 10 - they always have an excuse for a spinner. Lyon is way better than whoever SA plays as a spinner. Atleast he offers control, takes some crucial wickets and what not. And surprising to see Steyn struggling like this. Rhino would bowl a better line than Steyn in his current form.

  • cric_J on December 26, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    Re England's selection, dropping Matt for Jonny was a 50-50 crack for me. We needed to give Jonny a look in with Matt seeming pathetically out of touch both with bat and the gloves. And what better time to do that than these 2 matches with the series already decided. But again, if England had to show confidence in Matt and allow him an opportunity to rediscover his form, they couldn't have had one better than this. It is an unsaid fact in Batting that regaining one's touch is easiest for a batsman when the pressure is somewhat off.

    Monty was always going to be the man to replace Swanny IMO despite people suggesting it should be Borthwick/Tredwell/Kerrigan.

    P.S. What are the odds that Finny/Rankin will get at least one game and be in the 11 at SCG ? So much for the tall-pacy fast bowlers strategy England !

  • cric_J on December 26, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    Couldn't watch today's proceedings as I had my end semester Physics exam to write but a mere glance at the cricinfo scorecard and I knew which team would have dominated play today, yet again.

    Managed to catch up with the highlights though. And immediately something that my mate @JG2704 said a few weeks back on another thread came to my mind "It seems we can't be attacking without being reckless." All of our six bats got in and then found a way to get out on a significantly good day-1 batting wicket. I could excuse Root and Bairstow maybe, both of whom got pretty good deliveries (surprise, surprise !). But Cook played a horribly needless shot and Bell's was irresponsible to say the least.

    The fact that KP is still at the crease doesn't offer anything more than hope ATM. Hope that Bres/ Broady could hang around with him tomorrow to get us to 300. After all hope is all that has sustained us England fans through the course if the last 3 tests.

  • Biggus on December 26, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    @ScottStevo:- Ah, I stand corrected then. Don't know why but I thought match referee's were tossing it these days. Senility, yes, I think I'll go for that excuse.....

  • ScottStevo on December 26, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    @Biggus, you're incorrect, M Clarke tossed the coin this morning.

    Can somebody please tell me why NCN is anywhere near this Aus team? Firstly, he shouldn't be anywhere near consideration as a bowler as he's nowhere near good enough. But why on Earth would we send him out as a sub fielder? Completely crazy. Let's hope we see a lot less of him in future...

  • on December 26, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    Is Stokes going to be a one innings wonder.

  • jonesy2 on December 26, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    im not being facetious or needlessly insulting when I say the replacement keeper bairstow actually cannot bat. I have never seen someone chosen for their country to do something professionally that they cannot actually do, he looked like that innings was the first time he has ever picked up a bat in his life, maybe it was, in which case it was a decent effort I guess. again you have to question England cricket in general if there really are no other wicketkeeper batsmen in the whole country? if he, root and stokes are the future of England it could be very interesting because the windies, sri lanka, pakistan and new Zealand will all be rightfully thinking they can beat England each time they play them for a long time to come

  • RVC-38 on December 26, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    @ Ozcricketwriter on (December 26, 2013, 11:38 GMT) half disagree with you mate, only because Australia have not battered yet so I do not know what a par score is, It was a good day for Australia... with the saffers in mind, unless they let us use our special Aussie coin that always falls our way (sigh), England where playing for pride and defiance, they were not looking to score and until 3 tests ago the world thought this batting lineup pretty good, and still prised 6 out for 220 odd.

  • Pritt32 on December 26, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    Difficult times lie ahead for the England team. The team is reeling at 226 for 6 and possibly staring at another defeat. The team have barely passed 300 in the series.Alarm bells should be ringing. The series is a dead rubber. A series whitewash seems more than likely. The Australia team is playing awesome cricket and are too good for the visitors. England is a ragged and a worn out team, desperate for a new lease of life. How can this be achieved? Dropping a few players such as Bell, Trott, Prior, Anderson and Broad should be seriously considered. The team is trapped in a time machine. 2014 will be a grim year, if the team does not wake up to reality.

  • SL_rockz on December 26, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    Mmmmh I will put it this way...Aussies lost in england .But they showed a real fight in a loss. But when england came to Australia australia won as expected, But most importanly England loose humiliatingly without showing any fight even....Terrible morale and confidence in England dressing room...Captain should be responsible for not captaining...

  • Quip on December 26, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    England spurned a marvellous opportunity. The only way they can match the Australians is to sieze the initiative. This they resolutely refused to do - Pieterson included. By the time Stokes tried - and how different the game was during his brief innings - it was too late.

    To see Bell patting full pitchers from Lyon back to the bowler was positively tragic. Instead of discovering the means of releasing their talents, the English have worked themselves into an ever more constricted state of inhibition and inertia. In so doing they have permitted Australia scope to do more or less as they please.

  • nlpdave on December 26, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    There is enough movement in this pitch to cause problems for any batsmen. Can the English bowlers get it right? With what they have to choose from the selection is probably right for this game. However, if pitch predictions are right and that movement and turn stops it will be hard work for an attack that offers little else. Maybe all that coin tossing practice has paid off?

  • Ozcricketwriter on December 26, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    I don't think it is an even match at all. On that pitch with those conditions, a total of 200-250 is a par score batting first, bearing in mind that with Australia batting last on a pitch that is going to get harder to bat on late in the match, Australia will want a big lead if they want to win the match. If England can scrape their way to 300 then they are well on top. As it stands, England are on top, not Australia. 3 dropped chances is a pretty bad day and realistically the worst drop was by Steve Smith, who should have just let the ball land comfortably in Clarke's lap at slip but instead let Carberry off the hook. Nathan Coulter-Nile's drop was pretty terrible too. He did the right thing eventually by throwing it up in the air but the ball landed in the crowds. Terrible stuff. I can perhaps forgive George Bailey his drop but 3 drops are 3 drops. If those 3 catches were taken, England would have been all out by the end of the day for under 200.

  • disco_bob on December 26, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    I notice that MJ finally was able to wipe the smile of Joe Root. I find it hard to believe that only 200 odd runs were scored as it seemed a day of disciplined bowling continually peppered with outstanding spells from all the bowlers including Nathan Lyon who seems to be maturing into a far more dangerous and confident bowler.

    This is excellent practice bowling first on this wicket against a determined England team, for what will surely be a much anticipated February encounter with the formidable SA team who are themselves currently having their own self belief punctured by a not bad India.

  • whofriggincares on December 26, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    Interesting day of cricket. If KP was taken as he should have been this would have probably been another very low 1st innings total for the English. I think 350 may not be far off par for this surface and I think it will probably suit Anderson with the overcast conditions forecast for tomorrow. History shows days 2 and 3 are the best time to bat at the G so Clarke bowling first could be a really smart move. If the future of England cricket lies in the hands of Root (who at least has some upside but needs to sort out his footwork) and Bairstow their is some gloomy days ahead methinks. Bairstows innings was very ugly , talk about amateur hour how did this guy ever get picked as a specialist bat? Looking forward to watching Warner bat live at the ground tomorrow and I hope Watto can prove people wrong and make a score when it counts!

  • RVC-38 on December 26, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    it has gotten to the stage were if you are an England supporter or not an Australian supporter, all there is to say is.... don't go thinking your good we/they are just that bad that you look good, THATS GOLD.

  • Biggus on December 26, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    @ nlpdave:-Feel free to correct me if I'm in error and you're not, but doesn't the match referee toss the coin and not the home captain?

  • milepost on December 26, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    @nipdave, hey thanks for the tip I just did look at the stats on Australia's sub-standard batting. Nearly 2000 runs in this series, 7 tons and we've set over 500 to chase in 3 consecutive matches. If that is sub-standard you are indeed a very very difficult man to please lol! Australia are ready miles ahead of this game after only one day with England lining up yet another sub 250 score. Ouch.

  • humdrum on December 26, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Cook lives up to his measely average of 26 against Australia in the last 9 test matches (back to back).Now,there is suddenly no more talk of Cook,Broad and Swann being God's gift to English cricket.But I don't blame them. I pity Cook,he has been left to carry the can. A good English cricket team is not even on the horizon.

  • RVC-38 on December 26, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    22 maidens, 24 overs of 1 run = 276 balls for 24 runs, it did not look that bad a bit slow, have to wait and see if Warner gets bogged down.

  • nlpdave on December 26, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    Regardless of the results of these last two pointless test matches England will not improve until the Flower goes, along with the army of hangers on. A terminally sick team and management struggling for some life with the successes of the past a distant memory. A couple of forced replacements looks a bit like sticking a plaster over the end of an amputated limb. The whole set up is terminal and I don't expect much of a change in the one day series either. At the moment England couldn't beat anyone so it's a dodgy benchmark to assess the Australians against. As for this mysteriously home friendly toss it will not be the first time that Australia have won all five when they are flipping the coin. It must be the upside downness of it all.

  • on December 26, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    @nemisisofdevil...I'm sorry but it doesnt even look 'even stevens' . 6/226 means Aus are well on top; especially with a tail that includes Panesar and Anderson. " Eng will happier to end the day in this manner with KP still in". I hope by this you mean happier than if he wasnt in rather than happier than Aus in this position. Even if KP bats his best there will likely be carnage at the other end likely starting the first few overs tommorrow; if you dont believe me just look at Bresnan's 'please dont hurt me' technique against the shortball which is probably on par with Broad's 'jump to the left swipe'; both emanating from the same 'OH it's MITCH' guide to playing short pitched bowling. A score of 300 is well below Par on this Pitch and would also leave plenty of time to force a result. That being said; it's not out of the realms of possibility for Eng to improve their position with a fighting tail and good bowling but it would have to go against the firmly established trend.

  • on December 26, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    England's selection stupidity beggars belief. Continuing failures like Root, Andersen, and Bresnan being persisted with. Only Swann had the decency to step down and courage was shown in resting Prior. Ballance, Rankin, and Finn are decidedly unlucky. Bell must play at 3.

  • nlpdave on December 26, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    Harris's first few maidens were largely due to him bowling at another set of stumps somewhere but as the game approached lunch it bcame clear that keeping the ball pitched up and on a good line would make that little bit of sideways movement threatening. As for Australian posters here they wheel out that unbridled optimism at the drop of a hat which often is cause for some embarrassment when reality strikes home. It's usually best to judge a score when both sides have had a knock. I think last outing Australia made 98 with virtually the same batting line up. They have bowled well though and England haven't which is why this is such a one sided series.When conditions suit and the bowling is half decent I wouldnt put any cash on Australia's sub standard batting outfit. Just check the stats!!

  • on December 26, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Really disappointing performance by England. Everyone getting a start (Cook, Carberry, Root, Bell), but only Pietersen going past 30. And the scoring rate was dire - no attempt to rotate the strike (again!), no attempt to seize the initiative. I completely agree with Biggus, the longer you bat the greater the chance of a jaffa, so at least make some attempt to get on with it while the sun shines. But no, once again, England tried the war of attrition approach. It hasn't worked once this series, nor in 2006/7 (30 runs in one session that series, for goodness sake!). It never works, so why on earth do England keep trying it!? It is not just tight Australia bowling (though that helps), it is craven English batting. Awful, dispiriting, and guaranteed to fail every time.

  • Mervo on December 26, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    Mitty2 the commentators all agreed it was even slower than Adelaide. Maybe you missed that? Another drop in pitch. No matter how good the stands there needs to be a proper cricket wicket out there, not a football ground with a make-do pitch. Otherwise let's have it at Football Park. The MFG it is.

  • on December 26, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    Aus played with a poorer standard of excellence and Eng a slightly raised standard of mediocrity.The main dissapointment for Australia was in the field in putting down some difficult 'but expected to take' chances which they previously hadn't even looked like doing in any of the previous tests.The bowling in the first session was also substandard.In the second session the bowling was superb; particularly from Watson and Harris and it is a real pity to see Watson Injured when he looked as if he could of been set for a bag.I value Watto's contributions with both bat and ball as he has the figures of a quality allrounder though the upside of his strain maybe that Michael Clarke maybe forced to bat at 3 and maybe stay.In Watto's bowling;we wont appreciate what we have till it's gone and Faulkner doesnt quite offer the same quality with the ball (yet). Brilliant 2nd newball spell from Johnson who should never bowl all length (1st sesh) or all short but maintain a good balance between the 2.

  • Ozzz.z on December 26, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    Wow no whinging Indian fans, I'm shocked or might be abit early. They will defiantly destroy this report :(

  • pauldk on December 26, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    @Henrik Lovén Buy a new pair of spectacles mate, I was talking of time wasting, and apart from that I really struggle to follow your logic.

  • Cool_Jeeves on December 26, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    Perhaps the Sydney Test can be converted to a series of 5 One day matches, just to break the monotony. It is not too late...

    In tennis, Nadal does not play all five sets if he wins in straight sets. 5-0 sounds nice, but usually such contests are one-sided, and hardly make for good watching, especially if the losing team is not improving (when England lost 10-0 to West Indies, everyone knew they would lose, so the team did not deteriorate through the 10 tests). Here they have gotten from bad to worse.

    Cant wait for the Aussies to get to South Africa and thrash them soundly, as I believe they will. I think the South African attack and indeed the team is overrated, given how they have struggled against India, and even Sri Lanka, and it is time to set the record straight. Johnson against Smith...now, that is a mouth watering contest between various Smith fingers in terms of who will get rapped first...

    And Steyn vs Clarke - brilliant ball to get Clarke out in Perth, turned the series...

  • CurrentPresident on December 26, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    I think one thing the English critics are missing in their ruthless analysis is that England has shown improvement over the three tests - as evidenced by the progressively reduced margin of defeat.

    With the trend, they may lose this one by less than a hundred runs and may even draw/win the next one.

    If only this series could start with the 5th test ;-)

  • on December 26, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    Some fans really are too ridiculous. On this occasion, PaulDK takes the peach by suggesting England's prime object is to destroy test cricket for the spectators by scoring slowly. If his basic tenet - in order to please the spectator, test runs should be scored quickly - was correct, he should instead be up in arms against the Australian bowlers whose brilliance ruin the spectacle by not offering up enough easy runs to keep spectators happy. In this respect, Ryan Harris should be singled out. His extremely negative bowling that at one stage only allowed 15 runs off 14 overs surely is the root cause of why test cricket is no longer worth watching and, if we apply the logic of PaulDK, should never be allowed to play a test again.

  • on December 26, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    "Don't worry, England always starts a series slowly then gets into gear." Not hearing this silly quote anymore are we.

  • Shaggy076 on December 26, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    Redwhitearmy; I love test cricket, I was just commenting on the tactics that have left England lose every test so far without making it a contest and watching them do it all over again. I love Australia winning but would prefer we raise a sweat to do it. Keep coming with putting the Australians down from an era well past now as you don't have much to chirp about in this series.

  • foeofdevil on December 26, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    Decent day play for both the teams in the end. May look 'even Stevens' but the past says aussies is riding the vehicle. England will happier to end the day in this manner with KP still in. 300 or + will make england escaped from a jail called '5-0 wash out' atleast with a bail called 'draw'.

  • on December 26, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    In the start of the series there is one question,how margin England will win the series? but after 3rd test now its only one question, WILL IT BE A WHITEWASH? England's over rating batting are wasting time in this test, when they have to attack! Now we are sure about one thing this spirited Australia can easily finish the series with whitewash.......

  • __PK on December 26, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Why would Coulter-Nile be trying to back-pedal when the boundary line was behind him?

  • BradmanBestEver on December 26, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Let's call a spade a spade: This series is a flogging of biblical proportions

  • foozball on December 26, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    Carberry seems to have a mental problem with spin, and a technical one in knowing where his off stump is, particularly from around the wicket.

    The first one is relatively straightforward: he just needs to learn his game a bit. The second requires a bit of work - slow pitches and a lack of bowling variety domestically don't help, but he has to find a way to stick to his off stump, no matter where the ball's coming from.

  • SpryCorpse on December 26, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    Watson getting another niggle will make it harder to bowl England out twice. Also, they might pick Faulkner for Sydney on the back of the injury. Which I don't mind. All series I've gotten the impression that England's batting has been trying hard enough - all the more praise to the dominance of the Aussie bowlers and their discipline in sticking to team plans. As usual, need to see Australia bat to see if the pitch is a bit harder to bat on than it looks. Unfortunate dropping KP twice. England would likely have been all out by now.

  • on December 26, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy : Why do you go back three years for an example of vanishing crowds? You could just point to the mass exodus at the Leeds ODI earlier this year..

  • BradmanBestEver on December 26, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Another dominant display by the "new Aussies". England have brought in new players but their core problem remains - lack of heart and application.

    Once the Aussies begin batting against the overrated English trundlers tomorrow morning we will see the vast difference in heart and application between these two teams.

    The English selectors must show more courage and remove some of the riff raff in their team

  • Wayne_Larkins_Barnet on December 26, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    I don't understand the persistence with Root, it's pretty obvious to the untrained eye he's not good enough for test cricket. He's failed at 2,3 and 6. Perhaps they could slot him in at 5? I'd expect the England fans to be forgetting about this series now.

  • Wayne_Larkins_Barnet on December 26, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    @mega1234, which comments are pathetic? I don't think England respect themselves at the moment so can't see how they deserve respect from the press or their fans. Where is @FFL for his weekly barbed congratulations? Probably busy watching the 06/07 Ashes series DVD he got for Christmas to see what normal Ashes service is like though this series is another fine example. Australia to blast the tail tomorrow morning and then pile on the runs to set up an innings victory.

  • milepost on December 26, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    RednWhiteArmy "@shaggy You want to try T20 matey. That might be more your type of cricket". You might want to try Australia. They might be more your kind of team.

  • write2gajanan on December 26, 2013, 7:24 GMT

    We will make it 5 - 0 for sure; anything less than 5 - 0 i will b really upset

  • mega1234 on December 26, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    Some comments here are pathetic. You aren't a true cricket fan if you don't respect both sides. Very good knock from Pietersen. He had some luck but looked ill all day. He definitely wasn't right. And dare I say it he fully deserved his luck.

    There was a brilliant moment late in the day when Johnson looked at the crowd in a daze. He's at an all time high as a player. I almost felt like he was reflecting on his ups and downs as a player and what things were like when the two sides played each other last at Melborne. I thought it was a great moment. He has been amazing in this series.

  • pauldk on December 26, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    England and especially Pietersen are really doing their best to destroy test cricket for the paying public with a ridiculous display of time wasting just to make sure that the Aussies come up one over short at the end of the day. At the same time going for only 2,5 runs an over. Pathetic.

  • geoffw on December 26, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    I am totally over the pommie time-wasting tactics. You must be kidding. If a side was trying to win a game, they would be hustling to get it done. I think that this is one of Cook's issues. Time to step up, mate ?

  • milepost on December 26, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    @Redandwhitearmy, it is remarkable considering how bad England are. 2 an over getting blasted all day long. Fantastic bowling. We own England, we own the Ashes and a world record crowd to see us dominate again. Is crowd figures all you have left? We will mop up the last 4 wickets for no runs and then get to work piling on our own runs at 4+ an over. It's going to be good entertainment for the 90,000+ crowd. Where are the Barmy Army, are they still selling their tickets on their Facebook page?

  • RVC-38 on December 26, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    @ RednWhiteArmy I seen the Aussie boys acknowledge you today.

  • Shaggy076 on December 26, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    RedWhiteArmy; Consideriing the pathetic boring batting from England it is remarkable. And 2010 as many people attende the boxing day test as they do in 4 test matches in England. Greatest game ; Again another Johnson bashes speaking too soon, he bowled well early without the luck and now 2 very good wickets.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on December 26, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    The new ball due and KP's lucky little inngs. will be over soon. Then Mitch will have good 4-5 over spell to clean the tail.

  • RednWhiteArmy on December 26, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    Good to see the aussie crowd has stuck around all day, unlike the 2010 ashes boxing day.

  • Mitty2 on December 26, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    @Greatest_Game, that too and he's now got 2 wickets and 3 dropped catches. It's cliche and repeated, but still - if only he wasn't 34. On johnson, he bowled 155km/h today and I think he's bowled fine... Hit Root on the shoulder, beat him about almost 10 times (no exaggeration) and didn't bowl loosely - England have generally been less spastic against him after the Adelaide and Brisbane debacle. Really, there's no reason to think MJ's back to his old bad habits.

    @xtrafalgarx, lol, you must have loved his Chanel 9 interview that was just so cringe-worthy. "The fact that he keeps coming back is testament to the fact that he [keeps wanting to play]" - what's that got to do with anything? If you earned the amount of money that he did despite not doing anything you surely would want to come back. He has to come back, as we all know his batting is no where near good enough to be a top 6 batter without his miserly, about to be injured bowling. Get your hand off it.

  • milepost on December 26, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    It's good to see the top order chip in with 20's to help set the platform in the chase for 230. Now the tail is exposed and the new ball is due 230 might be being generous. Let's see if Stokes has another 30 instances of good luck this innings or if we can silence the Botham comparisons.

  • Bonehead_maz on December 26, 2013, 5:48 GMT

    How good is Ryan Harris ? the ongoing unanswerable question.

  • milepost on December 26, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    Interesting tactics, two tests in a row that England have been trying to see off the old ball. Is it their plan to expose the tail (which starts next wicket) to Mitch and the new ball? Or are they setting up the draw under Flower's carefully calculated strategy. Wow they really are in disarray. Bresnan, Anderson and Monty very lucky to be picked. Prior dropped but 8 matches too late with the Ashes already gone. 90,000+ Aussies there to watch England go at 2 an over? More superb bowling from Australia but a little curious to put them in to bat.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on December 26, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    Playing for the draw already? Good tactics from England. @FFL, no issues with attendance again, a world-record crowd of 90,831 has just been announced. Not bad support for the Aussies though would you have us believe it's all the Barmy Army again? Root failed again, Cook too. KP and Bell struggling along at 2 an over. Doesn't look much like a fresh start to me, looks like normal Ashes service has resumed.

  • xtrafalgarx on December 26, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    @Mitty2: Rubbish, ridiculous and personal comment. He doesn't get injured on purpose, he wants to play. The fact that he keeps coming back is testament to that fact, as i write he just walked back onto the park.

  • Greatest_Game on December 26, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    Johnson does not look anything like his recent reincarnation as a fire-breathing dragon. Is he doing another Johnson and morphing back into miserable Midge, the butt of a thousand jokes?

    Meanwhile, Harris is going from strength to incredible strength. 1 wicket, 8 maidens, 22 runs off 90 balls. Phenomenal. I guess the only caveat is that he is not exactly bowling to charged up stroke-makers in full flow. If this was not day 1, the English batsmen could easily be mistaken for playing time.

  • on December 26, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    england are a uninspiring and boring team to watch. I would rather watch west indies at least they try and score

  • Mitty2 on December 26, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    @mervo, bah, no. Not only is the 'G one of the best places to watch sport, let alone cricket, but the pitches over the last decade have been A grade. And don't give me crap about this pitch being slower than Adelaide - it's faster than Adelaide and the SCG - usually a lot of seam in the first day (the Vics got bowled out for 118 last shield match) and some tacky bounce which makes it difficult to drive at the start of the match - ask Dean Jones - and early it generally offers a lot to batters who look to score squarer. For the pacers, ask Jackson Bird with his under 15 FC bowling average here, the pitch usually always rewards those who bowl with dilligent lines and bowl full. It quickens up for day 2 and 3 with more bounce, which usually allows quicker scoring and can reward genuine quickies. And in the last two days spin always comes into play. Too much is made of drpp in pitches; the G pitch offers something to everyone. And then there's the fact that 90000 people rock up...

  • looloogun on December 26, 2013, 4:52 GMT

    boring england selections , cook or flower whoever does it ,should know the series is done and the only positive is a new comer in stokes ,why not be bold and give chances to more new comers along ,after all whats more to win here now ? rest and just saying why not have two sets of teams playing (one be in aus and one be in eng sametime ) big armies fight um?headache

  • Mitty2 on December 26, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    Haha classic Watto. I've always been very critical of him because he has less heart than a potato chip and has never, not once, performed under pressure - oh and he happens to be a divisive figure and is one of the most selfish Australian sportsperson. But, you think he turns the corner - well, not really, he's been carried by the performance of others so he could score one of the most meaningless centuries you'll ever see at the WACA - you think he might actually deliver, but no, he gets injured.

    Harris has bowled beautifully, Clarke only bowled first because we've already won the Ashes, Cook got out on 27 amount he averages against Australia in all innings apart from the 2010-11 series and went back to the old ways - getting out edging to theone that goes across him - instead of being bowled. Root and Carberry both got beauties, and overall it's been another very good bowling performance by Aus so far.

    Lol, KP and Root have both batted dreadfully. - KP should be out as well. lO,

  • disco_bob on December 26, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    I can't believe that England are playing to draw this test halfway through day one. This is a crushed team, with as much spine as a 20 year old paperback.

  • Mervo on December 26, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    This is the slowest wicket in Australia. Even slower than Adelaide. If England cant do well here ... But seriously, if the MCG wants to attract cricket followers they should decide if this is a cricket ground or a football ground and get rid of the turgid slow drop-in wicket. Either that or move the Test match to the Junction oval and change the name of the MCG to the MFG.

  • bobrandle22 on December 26, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    England batsmaen have forgotten how to score singles, stop the maidens. cheers

  • Bonehead_maz on December 26, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    now we start to bowl well (106/3). Looking forward to this. Can we keep doing it under pressure ?

  • Sugath on December 26, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    I think Clarke has made a wrong decision as far as I can see. May be i might be proven wrong. In recent time putting into bat the opposition has gone wrong for most teams. England seem to be making multiples of 48 partnerships now and if that goes well would go over 400 runs and for the first time this series Aussies will be under pressure. Time will tel.

  • bobrandle22 on December 26, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    Carberry a nice guy, but stuck at 30/40, give Robson & Ali a go. cheers

  • on December 26, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    Boxing Day Test - Australia vs England - Day 1, England are 71/1 at lunch.

    Michael Clarke wins the toss and sends England to bat. There is talk of the pitch having a bit of moisture content and the swinging conditions out there due to the cloud cover present.

    However, I am not buying any of those theories. It is typical Michael Clarke captaincy. After winning the series, he now wants to prove that Australia need not bat first always to win.

    If Australia can pull this off, it will be great. Michael Clarke has gambled a bit. But, this is what his captaincy is all about and makes Shane Warne to be the biggest fan of his on-field captaincy. It is next to impossible to believe that Cook would have done the same under similar circumstances.

  • on December 26, 2013, 1:55 GMT

    The Aussie bowlers did not bowl well.The English batsmen failed to capitalise on surprising decision to bowl first from Clarke

  • Mitty2 on December 26, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    England management are so good --> bring three tall supposedly fast bowlers for the tour to Aus on supposedly pacey, bouncy pitches and only play the one, slowest and tallest bowler who wasn't in any County form in just the one test, and don't play any of them for Perth lol - where Bresnan opened the bowling in the 2nd inninhs! Hah! And of course, this on top of the fact that England haven't selected the best county bowler for two straight years (best by a mile).

    That's just the first part of England's brilliance - they decided to drop Compton and promote Root to opening. Eng opening partnership with Compton: 927 at 57.94 (3 centuries, 3 half-centuries). Eng opening partnerships since Compton (replaced on eve of home ashes series): 438r at 25.76 (0 centuries, 2 half-centuries). In the promotion of Root at the unnecessary expense of the best performed County batsman (two years again), it ended up failing and instead of admitting mistake, Eng go for a 33 year old nothing batsman.

  • on December 26, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    The first test match of the series I am watching online. I must say there is nothing really special in bowling unit of Aussies(while comparing to SA attach vs Pak recently and vice versa) only a psychological dominance over Eng batters.

  • nlpdave on December 26, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    It looks a good pitch and Australia are a bit variable with their lines and lengths. So far Cook looks in control Clarke is ringing the changes looking for some help. Carberry definitely isn't test match material. He decides quite early on his shots, noticeably much earlier than Cook and this will usually get him out. A poor choice and I have no idea why he has been chosen.

  • on December 26, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    I thought Broad 'broke his foot,' but obviously was strong enough to fight through it. Y no finn? jimmy or stuart hav had no real impact on the ashes n bresnan looked weak last match so I felt a different seamer should hav been needed like Finn or rankin

  • pat_one_back on December 26, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    Right decision from Clarke to challenge his bowlers to dismiss England in front of a huge Boxing Day crowd. Looks a great track for batting so we'll need to bowl well for long periods. Look for a big afternoon from Sidds, he's been down on pace but I can recall him hitting 150km with the roar of 'The G' behind him not so many years back. If Eng get a good start and don't promote Bell we are truly missing out I reckon. Local or visitor big game players make Boxing Day hundreds, would like the chance to see whether Bell makes this class, Cook looks keen to show it.

  • on December 26, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    Time for Weasly and Malfoy to team up again!

  • lillee4PM on December 26, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    Dumb move by Clarke, should have batted first. Welcome back Bill Lawry, great to hear your voice in the 9 commentary team again.

  • on December 25, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    It was coming for sometime. Prior's position was untenable. Perhaps they should have plucked up courage and dropped Pieterson as well.

  • on December 25, 2013, 23:38 GMT

    Unbelievable! Club England make zero unenforced changes. How bad do you have to play to get rested? If i was Ballance, Finn, tremlett or Rankin I would have flown home for Christmas.

  • disco_bob on December 25, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    Clarke won the toss and is having a bowl. That is pure class. Essentially producing the same result as if England won the toss. Australia want to win this series with no excuses from England. Now we won't have to hear about any 'never winning the toss' whinging from England. This will cause some real confusion in the minds of England's openers. 90,000, Boxing Day, this is a pressure Cooker for Cook.

  • on December 25, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    we need. to select the following XI Sir Jack Hobbs Herbert Sutcliffe Sir Len Hutton Walter Hammond Denis Compton W G Grace Alan Knott Fred Trueman Sydney Barnes George Lohmann Jim Laker

  • nlpdave on December 25, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    A wasted opportunity. England have only made the replacements they were forced into and go into this match once again with a bowling attack unable to bowl Australia out twice. Panesar is no match winner so why play him? Also they have consigned Rankin and Finn to the not good enough tray yet persist with a worn out and distinctly mediocre attack which has contributed hugely to this absolute thrashing. Until the coach and his entourage depart England will not improve. If playing meaningless test matches isn't a good time to test new talent then when is?

  • Simoc on December 25, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    Why is he bowling? Hope this doesn't backfire.

  • Simoc on December 25, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    Why is he bowling? Hope this doesn't backfire.

  • nlpdave on December 25, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    A wasted opportunity. England have only made the replacements they were forced into and go into this match once again with a bowling attack unable to bowl Australia out twice. Panesar is no match winner so why play him? Also they have consigned Rankin and Finn to the not good enough tray yet persist with a worn out and distinctly mediocre attack which has contributed hugely to this absolute thrashing. Until the coach and his entourage depart England will not improve. If playing meaningless test matches isn't a good time to test new talent then when is?

  • on December 25, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    we need. to select the following XI Sir Jack Hobbs Herbert Sutcliffe Sir Len Hutton Walter Hammond Denis Compton W G Grace Alan Knott Fred Trueman Sydney Barnes George Lohmann Jim Laker

  • disco_bob on December 25, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    Clarke won the toss and is having a bowl. That is pure class. Essentially producing the same result as if England won the toss. Australia want to win this series with no excuses from England. Now we won't have to hear about any 'never winning the toss' whinging from England. This will cause some real confusion in the minds of England's openers. 90,000, Boxing Day, this is a pressure Cooker for Cook.

  • on December 25, 2013, 23:38 GMT

    Unbelievable! Club England make zero unenforced changes. How bad do you have to play to get rested? If i was Ballance, Finn, tremlett or Rankin I would have flown home for Christmas.

  • on December 25, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    It was coming for sometime. Prior's position was untenable. Perhaps they should have plucked up courage and dropped Pieterson as well.

  • lillee4PM on December 26, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    Dumb move by Clarke, should have batted first. Welcome back Bill Lawry, great to hear your voice in the 9 commentary team again.

  • on December 26, 2013, 0:03 GMT

    Time for Weasly and Malfoy to team up again!

  • pat_one_back on December 26, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    Right decision from Clarke to challenge his bowlers to dismiss England in front of a huge Boxing Day crowd. Looks a great track for batting so we'll need to bowl well for long periods. Look for a big afternoon from Sidds, he's been down on pace but I can recall him hitting 150km with the roar of 'The G' behind him not so many years back. If Eng get a good start and don't promote Bell we are truly missing out I reckon. Local or visitor big game players make Boxing Day hundreds, would like the chance to see whether Bell makes this class, Cook looks keen to show it.

  • on December 26, 2013, 0:10 GMT

    I thought Broad 'broke his foot,' but obviously was strong enough to fight through it. Y no finn? jimmy or stuart hav had no real impact on the ashes n bresnan looked weak last match so I felt a different seamer should hav been needed like Finn or rankin