Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 2nd day

England bloody Australia at last

The Report by Daniel Brettig

December 27, 2013

Comments: 157 | Text size: A | A

Australia 9 for 164 (Rogers 61, Broad 3-30) trail England 255 (Pietersen 71, Johnson 5-63) by 91 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Jarrod Kimber's Ashes Report: England's Best Day

Belatedly, England drew Australian blood at the MCG. The claret was literal in the case of Chris Rogers, stunned by a blow to the side of the helmet from Stuart Broad, and figurative for all Australia's batsmen, who demonstrated familiar frailty as they batted second for the first time in the four Tests and lurched to 9 for 164, still 91 behind, at the close.

The tourists' success in cornering Australia intrigued a crowd of 78, 346, who were earlier thrilled by another burst of terrifying pace from Mitchell Johnson. His incisions have usually been followed by staunch batting, but on the sort of hard-fought day not glimpsed since the very first day of the series in Brisbane, Australia faltered in a manner to warm the hearts of the South Africa team due to host them in February and March, while also leaving the selectors with a few inconvenient worries that cannot be obscured by the glow of Ashes success.

Rogers was a lonely beacon of defiance for much of the day, his 61 occupying 222 minutes and absorbing the aforementioned blow to the head. The early wickets of David Warner and Shane Watson, each man out trying to force the pace, had a constricting effect on Australia, and it was not until Brad Haddin intervened with his familiar mix of bold strokes and good fortune that runs flowed with any sort of freedom.

Wickets did too, however, as James Anderson and Broad enjoyed a new flowering of their prolific pace-bowling partnership, taking advantage of a slow pitch that offered up tricky variations in pace and bounce and rendered driving particularly risky.

Smart Stats

  • Mitchell Johnson has taken 28 wickets from seven innings at a strike rate of 32.3, which is at present the third-best by a bowler in the Ashes.
  • Johnson's 28 wickets in this series are now the highest by an Australia left-arm fast bowler in the Ashes, beating Bruce Reid's 27 wickets in the 1990-91 Ashes. Only Frank Foster's 32 wickets in 1911-12 are more than Johnson's tally in this series.
  • Johnson also has the most wickets in a Test series by a left-arm fast bowler against England, beating the 27 wickets by South Africa's Alf Hall against them in 1922-23.
  • This was the third time in four Tests in this Ashes that Australia lost half their side for less than 150 runs, Adelaide being the only exception. However, on both the previous occasions Australia recovered to post totals of 385 and 295 at the WACA and the Gabba, respectively.
  • Brad Haddin has now scored 368 runs in this Ashes - the most by an Australia wicketkeeper in an Ashes series, beating his own record of 360 runs in the 2010-11 Ashes in Australia. In the Ashes, only Alec Stewart, with 378 runs in 1993, is ahead of Haddin.
  • Michael Clarke was bowled by James Anderson today just three runs short of completing 8000 Test runs. Clarke's been bowled by England bowlers on eight of 15 occasions he's got out to them this year. Overall Clarke's been bowled ten times this year, the most times any batsman has got out in this fashion in 2013.
  • Haddin's six off Ben Stokes was his ninth of the series, the most hit by an Australia batsman in an Ashes series, beating the eight hit by George Bailey in this series. Kevin Pietersen's 14 sixes in 2005 are the most by a batsman in an Ashes series. The 37 sixes hit by Australia in this Ashes equals the 37 hit by Pakistan against India in a Test series in 2005-06, which is the record for the most hit by a team in a Test series.

Warner had fallen to a presumptuous pull shot at Anderson and Watson edged an attempted drive off Ben Stokes to leave the hosts in wobbly territory. Runs were hard to come by while the odd ball did not bounce as expected. One such delivery from Broad clattered into the side of Rogers' helmet after not rising above his evasive action, causing a delay as the shaken batsman's cut face was treated by medical staff.

Soon afterwards, Michael Clarke shouldered arms to Anderson and had his off stump knocked back. Steven Smith resisted for a time before skewering a slips catch held well at an awkward height by Ian Bell and Rogers' rearguard was ended when he finally lost patience and spooned a lofted drive attempt into the ring field on the off side.

Even in a summer where he has made a lot of his own luck, Haddin was fortunate to escape an lbw verdict when his speculative referral of a Monty Panesar shout had the ball sliding past leg stump by a millimetre, according to Hawkeye.

George Bailey continued a series that veers from the handy to the indifferent, given out on DRS review for what Real-Time Snicko suggested to be a thin edge. Johnson was dropped by Anderson at cover then held by him at midwicket, before Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle were each caught in front of the wicket as the shadows grew long. Haddin will require a spectacular batting shift from the No. 11, Nathan Lyon, to get Australia close.

Such thoughts had seemed outlandish in the morning while Johnson tormented England's lower order in what has become a familiar and grisly ritual to round them up for another mediocre first-innings total. Starting off with two wickets in his first over, including that of a panicked Kevin Pietersen, Johnson then crashed through Broad for figures of 5 for 63, all those wickets taken at a cost of 18 runs in nine overs after Clarke handed him the second new ball with England a relatively well-placed 4 for 201 late on Boxing Day.

Pietersen had slapped the first ball of the morning from Harris to the boundary over point, suggesting entertainment was in the offing. Johnson had other ideas however, and his first delivery lifted sharply on a hapless Tim Bresnan, looping off the shoulder of a bat raised in self preservation and being well held by Bailey running back from square leg.

James Anderson leaps to celebrate his dismissal of Michael Clarke, Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 2nd day, December 27, 2013
James Anderson took three key wickets as England fought back with the ball © Getty Images

After Broad took a leg bye, Johnson went after Pietersen, who seemed intent on destruction one way or another. A short ball had him pulling out of a swing to leg at the last minute, before a fuller, faster delivery, perhaps with a hint of inswing, rushed through Pietersen's brazen attempt to mow over midwicket. Two wickets in the over had the MCG in morning tumult.

Broad took two boundaries from Harris' next over, a flirty outside edge and a more assured glide through the covers, before the same bowler dropped a difficult return chance from a leading edge, having made excellent ground to reach it. Johnson then intervened once more, pinning Broad lbw with a yorker that struck the same foot he had badly bruised with another lbw verdict in Perth. Broad's consideration of a review brought mirth but little else.

Anderson and Monty Panesar then held up the Australians briefly, the latter's determination putting some of his better batting counterparts to some shame. He was struck an eye-watering blow to the groin by Siddle before being bowled by Lyon when offering no shot. Australia had wrapped up the innings in less than an hour, but their batsmen would not find the going to be anywhere near as easy.

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

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Posted by   on (December 28, 2013, 19:55 GMT)

These comments are yesterday's news. As one commenter said where was the intensity when Australia was nine wickets down? England doesn't deserve to win a single match because they've played passive cricket from Day 1 of the whole Ashes series. Cook has captained the side poorly being more about containment rather than chasing wickets. I can understand that when the top order is batting, but when you get down to 6-for why doesn't he put the pressure on them to make mistakes and be heading back to the pavilion. It's ludicrous, it's schoolboy stuff, and that's why England is in the position it's in. One final point: Mitchell Johnson has been the difference and should get man of the series.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2013, 0:22 GMT)

Unless England scores more than 350, they will lose this match, hence 5-0.

Posted by nlpdave on (December 27, 2013, 23:55 GMT)

Broad back to medium pace, why? Where is the intensity and intent, no third slip until Lyon nicks one through there. The lead slowly being given away. England again playing in first gear.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 23:47 GMT)

Eng will be won dis game0

Posted by thiruven on (December 27, 2013, 22:31 GMT)

Chris Rogers and George Bailey are letting the batting line up down. Occupying the crease without rotating strike has led OZ to a poor run-rate. The days for both Rogers and Bailey are over especially they have limited strokes to play this game. Bailey will fit into one day squad. White, Lynn, Phil Hughes are ready and good replacements.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 27, 2013, 22:17 GMT)

@ScottStevo . Agree with you there re: @jmcilhinney response. All of a sudden the smugness returns. Wonder how the scores would have looked had NCN taken that catch. I have said it before though, I never really felt England was as bad as many made out, let's not forget this side beat India in their own backyard & did it with real grit. I also think we aren't quite where may people have us, IMHO, we still got plenty of boxes to be ticked, thankfully, pace bowling depth isn't one of them, nor wicket-keepers & if they use SOK as the next man after Lyon, spin is bowling stocks too.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (December 27, 2013, 22:14 GMT)

It makes me want to wrap you in cotton wool, you people who continue to think batsman 'bailing' out their team is some kind of miracle. It's their job to make runs so it's no surprise when they do. At least not to me. Australia bat deep so it could be a long first session tomorrow for England, and for you miracle lovers.

Posted by anton1234 on (December 27, 2013, 22:07 GMT)

Does anyone know the overall record of tests won by by teams batting last. I hope it's pretty high, because I don't want a scenario where a team essentially gains a big advantage batting first, and therefore the toss becomes really crucial. For example, in the current test in Durban, SA have nullified the toss and should now go on to post 500.

I still wouldn't rule Australia out in this match. If they can get to within 50 of England and then bowl them out for 200 odd, a target of 250-270 is gettable.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 22:00 GMT)

A decent day for England, certainly their best of the series, but, again, following a poor start. I thought they were going to be about 100 short of a decent total, but Haddin is still in, and he's proved to be one of the bigger obstacles to remove. England will still need a reasonable effort to take the game away from Australia.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 27, 2013, 21:54 GMT)

Tim Jervos when you win one-day of cricket out of 16 the other 15 days would be the norm. It's simple mathematics.

Posted by AlSmug on (December 27, 2013, 21:15 GMT)

No surprises being a dead rubber and all Australia were throwing their wickets away warner was treating it like a t20 warm up maybe he thinking of the bbl cant blame him really the urn has returned to Australia not sure if anyone else has noticed that Warne as a commenter is alot like brick tamland out of anchorman , he and Slater spend all ay talking about 80s fashion how good they are and an i.q of a fence post , shame really it spoils what has been wonderful cricket to view

Posted by markatnotts on (December 27, 2013, 20:38 GMT)

Well done England today, but there is still plenty of life left in this game! Ok this is a dead rubber but I can't help feeling our bowling haw been helped today by a more typical 'contemporary English' style surface. By that I mean slow and lowish, variant in pace and bounce and a hint of nibbling rather than consistent seam movement! All in in the long term England need to get back to more of a variety of latest pitches back home. As examples The Oval becoming one of the faster surfaces I'm the world, Headingley a true seamer, Old Trafford fastish but helping spin etc. And finally we need far less of Test surfaces like Trent Bridge my beloved hone teams ground!

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 20:12 GMT)

Why mess with success? And why hand the advantage to the enemy?

The rule of thumb in Test cricket is, barring extraordinary circumstances, to bat first. It is generally unwise to win the toss and then opt to send the opposition in to bat.

The team bowling first is at a distinct disadvantage. First, they are tired and mentally drained when they go out to bat, and concentration levels are not as sharp as they would be when well rested, not to mention the possibility of injury.

That England are now in the 'driver' seat is no surprise, thanks to the Australians. It was a huge surprise that Clarke decided to have a bowl on a flat Melbourne strip. It might have been just the elixir England needed to salvage pride in the series.

The visitors are now squarely poised to win the match, unless the Aussies can mount an improbable second innings fightback. It is, categorically, ill-advised to hand the enemy the advantage.

With three days remaining, there may yet be more surprises!

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 19:21 GMT)

Shows how every couple of miles per hour ABOVE 88 matters. They really matter. The difference between 88 and 90 is big - 90-92 is bigger and 92+ bigger still.

A batsman's ability to cope with pace is not, it seems, a sliding scale. There is a definite threshold where it deteriorates rapidly.

If the ball is moving about then that might be 86mph (and England's trundlers who are skilful at moving the ball around in favourable conditions are a handful) - if it's a place where the ball isn't seaming or swinging then it's likely 94+ - And that's the difference that Mitchell Johnson makes. 88Mph is just coming on to the bat nicely. 92 (Broad) is tricky. 96 which MJ was bowling at, is a darn hard proposition.

Since Fletcher left, England have forgotten the value of pace. At least now Broad is trying to get back up. Though why it took till the 4th test and the ashes lost for him to get into 5th gear is anyone's guess.

Posted by SkyBlueAndy on (December 27, 2013, 18:59 GMT)

After all of the chat about Australia getting to number 1 reality dawns. Bet Steyn and Morkel are licking their lips. Be interesting to see if Johnson and Harris serve up any chin music to the SA tail. My money on on neither of the Aus quicks even completing the series in SA.

Posted by ScottStevo on (December 27, 2013, 18:44 GMT)

@jmcilhinney, rubbish! We started poorly on day 1, but Haddin scoring runs isn't a surprise, he's a wk/batsman and Johnson is no mug with the bat. In Adelaide, I'm not sure what you're talking about. Bailey was dropped by Panesar and Clarke was dropped though that chance would go down more times than plucked. It wasn't until much later and the damage well and truly done. So don't make out like those chances would've saved you so many runs, as they wouldn't. Also, if NCN had've caught Pietersen yesterday you'd have been all out for 150. I'm not sure what your point is here, we'd be worse off if Eng were better? In Perth our #5 scores a ton and that's an issue? Clutching at straws saying were batting poorly when Eng are barely scraping 200 in an innings anyway...

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (December 27, 2013, 18:23 GMT)

Now wait and see England allow the last wicket pair add a further hundred to Australia's score as usual...

P.S. just a wee note that I'm over with the family for the holidays, so haven't been posting much. Merry Christmas all :-)

Posted by JG2704 on (December 27, 2013, 17:52 GMT)

Couldnt be bothered to comment yesterday but glad to finally be able to comment on a better day for Eng.Re Eng's inns - it was still a frustrating show especially as all the specialist batsmen made starts.KP made 70 but was fortunate as he played several false shots , gave away chances and eventually took a desperate hoik at a straight one.He seems indicative of our batsmen's inability to do anything inbetween Boycott and Gayle. As for those saying Bell should bat at 3 because he is capable of dominating the bowling - well he by and large isn't doing what he's capable of. KP,Carberry and Root are also capable of dominating bowling but seldom have they in recent times. I think Australia were maybe a little complacent today - Warner in particular - but Haddin once more showed how to be aggressive without becoming reckless. The silver lining for Eng is that they've got through the lower middle order - which along with the bowling of MJ/RH has been a huge difference between the 2 sides

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 17:39 GMT)

Well bowled England...Dont concur that Broad's been bowling medium pace throughout Perth he was lively.Agree that England have utilised their tried and trusted formula of percentage cricket which has proved ineffective.In fact why is Bresnan in the team? He offers nothing as a batsman and is a stock medium pace bowler..not going to win tests against a strong team.Certainly Finn will lengthen the tail but gives another dimension and is around Johnson's pace plus much taller.

Jimmy is a low,slow wicket bowler and will always do well on those but is ineffective on bouncy or seaming strips...glad for him that he has had some joy at last.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 27, 2013, 17:31 GMT)

@ Hammond . Good to see you surface after the "bog average" side went up 3-0 & you didn't post. Please, post whatever else you want, but my friend, you are no Aussie. No Aussie, & I mean no Aussie goes in with an attitude of "we can't do it" even if the odds are against them. What's wrong with having aspirations to #1 anyway? See, real Aussies have an ambition whereas you don't. Go back to wherever you come from.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

Shane Watson is an asset to any team with his bowling.India would kill for such a player who provides balance to the team.But i feel he is an Ideal no6 batter.That way he can bat a bit more freely .Aus need a specialist no3.Like Hughes or Marsh.Bailey sadly should be dropped from tests.We Indians are big fans of Bailey not only for his batting but also seeing how he lead Aus in India.But now its safe to say thay he is an ODI specialist. And I dont understand many people saying Watsons ton at Perth was "meaningless".I feel no it is the best test ton he has hit to date cuz he accelerated at the right time allowing Clarke to declare early and have sufficient time to bowl Eng out.And come on no no test ton should be called meaningless.

Posted by anton1234 on (December 27, 2013, 17:11 GMT)

Broad bowled regularly spells in the high 80s and early 90s in England so it was surprising to see him bowl medium pace in the first three tests this current series. Likewise, Anderson was a little slower than usual in the first three matches. Tremlett went from middle 80s to as low as late 70s. The wake up call has come too late.

Posted by tom120 on (December 27, 2013, 16:48 GMT)

It was a very good decision by Clarke to bowl first. They have already won the Ashes. And he wanted to test their batting. And what if they had lost the toss, they had to bowl first anyways. Australian batting had some weaknesses throughout this series, but Haddin and tailenders bailed them out earlier, but not this time. Aussie bowling, I dare say is the best currently. But their batting largely depends upon Clarke and Warner. This time neither played well thus the collapse. Australia needs to drop Bailey and Smith. And, if they persist with Watto, he should be played at number 6. Personally I think although Watto is a fantastic one day and t-20 player shouldn't be in test. They should try with Rogers for some time. Smith has scored 2 centuries in more than 9 matches. He lacks consistency. He won't play well on SA conditions. Bailey shouldn't be playing tests at all. Australia has to make some tough decisions and get at least 2 new test level batters & pls no hughes, Cowan or Khwaja.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (December 27, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

@jmcilhinney 15:24 GMT spot on, should be the featured post.

Posted by Narkovian on (December 27, 2013, 16:08 GMT)

So. At last England bowled properly . Broad, who I confess will never be my favourite player, has been bowling at little over medium pace for as long as I can remember. But AT LAST he was bowling FAST again, like he can, and used to do.. Regularly well over 90mph. Result?... Australia don't like it up 'em Mr Mainwaring! Why chose now to start bowling quick ? Should have been doing it since 1st Test. I suspect, maybe wrongly, that all the bowlers have been bowling to the dreaded plan.. ie Accuracy and bore them out. Seems to be the Flower/Strauss/Cook way. Even when ENG have been winning over last few years, it has rarely been exciting to watch.Mainly its been a pretty grinding affair... Some notable exceptions of course.

Posted by Pindia on (December 27, 2013, 16:08 GMT)

This shows Australia presently are a good team not a great team and there are weak links plus England are ok! Mitchell Johnson is the form quick bowler in world cricket, but Lyon is not a world class spinner and there are some frailties in the Australian batting line-up too. Looks like it will be 3-1 or 3-2 at the finish. Interesting times in world cricket. What will be most interesting is how all of the teams balance the new wave of batsman such as Warner and Watson with some proper test players. Warner is the same- great on his day but he will probably only come off 3 or 4 times out of ten.

Posted by Gareth_Bain on (December 27, 2013, 15:57 GMT)

In this series, Australia have been 5/100, 5/250, and 5/150 in the first innings' of the first 3 tests. Their bottom order (or Haddin & one of the top 6) has bailed them out to some extent on each occasion. Their second innings, thanks to phenomenal performances from Johnson & co. have been under far less pressure and have allowed the fragile batting line-up to look a lot better than it should. A 160/9 was inevitable at some point!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 27, 2013, 15:24 GMT)

@maximum6 on (December 27, 2013, 14:12 GMT), I think that we've seen the real Australia this whole series. Their batting has looked brittle but England have let them off the hook. It was a very good partnership between their #7 & #8 that got them to a decent but under par total in Brisbane; they'd have been rolled for even less in Adelaide but for England's woeful catching and they were in trouble early in Perth when England started bowling a very poor length. In each second innings they have been under no pressure and have been able to bat with freedom against tired bowlers. Their bowling has been very good, as I expected it would, but I think that England's poor batting has made them look a little better than they really are. Australia have made strides, no doubt, but they still need to improve their batting if they want to dominate. As for England, I believe that they're better than they've shown but this is far more than just a hiccup. They have much work to do.

Posted by milepost on (December 27, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

@DJAbacus "They must realise they are not the world beaters that they might think they are right now". I think you'll find they are actually. England won their second session of the tour today so I wouldn't get carried away if I were you. @Tim Jevons "At last the real Australia & England pity it's the 4th Test". I think we saw plenty of the real England in the last 3 tests. You won a session today, it's no big deal. You have to win more than 2 session in a five match series to be competitive, which you are not.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (December 27, 2013, 14:12 GMT)

Tours of Australia nowadays are so constructed that to stay in a series Englqand have to win in Adelaide. Otherwise there is no semblance of comfort for them till Melbourne. Last tour we played the fixture list perfectly so that here we could get ahead. This is 2013/4 though and things have not gone well.So Melbourne has actually hosted England's first okay day of the tour.It could have been better but for traditional party spoiler, Haddin. That man,again! Anyway so far so good, but the real England team-batting department- still need to come and show up today or the chance could just drain away. That means that Cook plays a long innings like he threatened briefly to do and amongst the rest KP and Bell really turn it on-Stokes too.or anyone else. Hell, I thought Jimmy looked class today.

Posted by Basamba on (December 27, 2013, 14:10 GMT)

Australia played to many attacking shots and that how they lost wickets in quick succession. England bowled well, they exploited the conditions well lets see if Brad Haddin can take Australia over 200.

Posted by TJones68 on (December 27, 2013, 13:58 GMT)

@TimJevons. And what England would that be? The same that folds like a deckchair when things get too tough? The "real" team is what you've seen for the past three games. The heat was too much, and they wilted. Ashes are back where they belong and this game ain't over yet.

Posted by anton1234 on (December 27, 2013, 13:56 GMT)

Some may think the most important thing is to win the toss and bat first and then you have every chance of winning. History suggests otherwise. The team batting last have won a large share of test matches, even between equally matched sides. I would love to know the exact percentage of wins by sides batting 4th in the history of test cricket.

Posted by MiddlePeg on (December 27, 2013, 13:56 GMT)

The question is, is this really a dead rubber? I'm sure if Australia were to win this series 5-0 they'd say they won the entire 10 test series (both hemispheres) 5-3. At the minute the aggregate score is 3-3 with two tests to play. Each team has won their home series but who will win overall?...

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (December 27, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

A minor blip in their quest of a W/W for Aus . After an abberation of a day we can expect normal service to resume tom. as Aus nears the win. Just as 1 woukd expect the far superior team to over the course of a test match.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (December 27, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

May not be the best day of series for Aus,gone exactly to plan but are firm favs. to win this to go up 4-0. Was unlucky with most dismisals as nothing special in the pitch/bowling.A quick 50 odd runs from Haddin/Lyon then bowl out Eng below 100 will do.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

At last the real Australia & England pity it's the 4th Test.

Posted by Henry_Crun on (December 27, 2013, 12:30 GMT)

Nice of everyone to give their opinion on who should replace Watto at 3, albeit on state based lines. I agree that Watson should be shifted to 6 for Bailey, but some of the names people have bought forward border on the laughable. White is averaging 50 in the Shield this year, but down the order (been there done that). North averaged 98.8 until his unfortunate hiatus, but is probably the worst player of spin bowling in Australia. Lynn averages 57 but not at 3; Doolan, the great white hope of many, averages a magnificent 39 and should not even be discussed in this company. This leaves us with Hughes, averaging 61, and a specialist opener/No. 3. No contest really; how else will CA continue their time honoured tradition of selecting confidence players and then kicking the confidence out of them by dropping them again a few Tests later.

Posted by USA_Res on (December 27, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

Although he is averaging ~90 in this series, Warner starts every innings flashing and slashing, ... and getting away with it. Then normally, after his little round of "enthusiasm" he will then settle down and play a more typical test innings. In every innings of the series so far, he has played at least 4-5 truly stupid shots in the first 20 balls, and has survived by pure luck. Yesterday the luck ran out. From the England perspective on Warner, "...if you don't get him early, then forget it."

Posted by Mitty2 on (December 27, 2013, 12:07 GMT)

@Mervo, so is the Adelaide a drop in pitch, no? The pitches so far - the true bounce of Brisbane, the good batting albeit slow wicket of Adelaide and the hard pace of the WACA and now a pitch that is more difficult to bat and causes real testing conditions: grafting, dry, solid bowling and real pressure. The pitches so far have been brilliant and have had real variety - something only evident in Aus and SA currently. I've watched cricket at the 'G for 20 years and this pitch isn't playing any different from the pitches of the last decade. Get something else to complain about - namely the fact that England only turn up when it doesn't matter.

@Shaggy076, seconded and 100% correct. England have been absolutely abysmal this series and the only day they do anything of note is when it's a dead rubber. How can be so critical of Aus when we've played phenomenally the whole series. The only person who hasn't performed is Bailey - compared to every player in the Eng line up bar Stokes + Broad.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 27, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

@Hass Mhamood on (December 27, 2013, 11:15 GMT), there's been a problem with the Australian batting all the way through this series. England just haven't been good enough to exploit it. They looked fragile in the first innings of all three prior Tests. You might think they did well in Adelaide based on the score but it was only dropped catches that saved them. If fairly simple chances were taken off Bailey and Haddin then that's 150 runs off the score right there, plus the runs that were scored at the other end while they were at the crease. Even in Perth they looked in trouble early until England started bowling waist-high, leg-side bouncers to Steve Smith all day. In the second innings they have not been under any pressure at all so batted with freedom. They have been better than England, no doubt, but to say that there has been no issue with the Australian batting up to now is burying your head in the sand.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

Warner has the potential to be a great player but his lack of respect for the opposition has found him out this time round. He should remember form is temporary class is permanent and there is certainly nothing classy about the way David Warner approaches the game sometimes! Australia dominate on flat bouncy pitches but it seems a different story when there is something in the pitch their batsmen look particularly average. I expect this Aussie team won't be too successful as they will struggle away from home!

Posted by foeofdevil on (December 27, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

definitely the stage set for revenge. Result is a mere sure. Splendid performance by the English bowlers after learning the lesson"attack is the best form of defense". But 2nd innings is still a huge job pending for England to do it once again in a similar fashion like in the first.Jimmy stole the show

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 11:47 GMT)

Now that we have all the hype of winning the Ashes down and dusted, time to get about fixing this batting line up. First off we need a proper No. 3, a batsman that can actually play out conditions like today and protect the middle order. Then we need a No 5. Either put Watson down here, find some one else or allow Bailey time to prove himself. I think the first option is the better because of his bowling. After dealing with this we need to find replacements for the ageing Rogers and Haddin who are in their mid to late 30s. We are better then we were earlier in 2013 but still have a LOT of work to do. #1 is a long way off

Posted by Mervo on (December 27, 2013, 11:40 GMT)

A turgid and holding MCG wicket makes batting hard. Really there must be better wickets in Australia, that are not drop in pitches. Boring attritional cricket that denies attacking instincts. The MFG needs to be football only.

Posted by Eight8 on (December 27, 2013, 11:16 GMT)

Welcome to the tour England! Pity it has taken to the 4th day to front up, and front up they did with the ball! Disciplined bowling with some hostility. Not sure what affect the loss of any series tension has had, but the Australian batting looked loose. I was cringing watching Warner and his wicket was only a matter of time. Got ahead of himself and filled with too much confidence I think, although he has had a great series so far.

Watson is too loose for a no.3 but I'm not really sure who we've got as an alternative. It takes about 2-3 years to develop someone into a test no.3 and ideally they should be batting at 5 or 6 now and should have 15+ tests under their belt before moving to 3 (think Ricky Ponting).

The slower pitch certainly suits England's bowlers more but I thought they were pretty good today. probably their best bowling day on tour. The Aussie bowlers I thought were good and 250odd was probably under par. Today highlights how much fragility our top 6 still have.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 11:15 GMT)

I like the way people are saying there are problems with Australia's batting. that's funny, because there hasn't been a problem for the last 5 weeks.

It shows how vital batting first is and how Clarke made the wrong decision bowling.

Posted by Haz95 on (December 27, 2013, 11:13 GMT)

Well done England, finally showing a fight...All a fan would like to see. Broad did what happened to him, revenge is sweet, isn't it?

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

Let's face it, it takes a truly outstanding team to win 5-0. England have never done it. The rocking Oz team of a decade ago did it to England and WI. The awesome Wiindies of the 80's did it to England. 5-0 was never likely. Nor was a still-pretty-good England side going winless this series. That being said, both still might happen.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 11:03 GMT)

@Chris_Howard: All the commentators, who are experienced test players, say that the extra 5kph Johnson is capable of makes an enormous difference, especially if it is well pitched. I think I will take their word over yours. I suspect Bailey's replacement has already been called, given the quick turnover between MCG and SCG. Pity all Aussie domestic batsmen are currently in T20 mode, as Warner was today. Watson probably won't play in Sydney because of injury. Faulkner to replace him, but at 6. North or Hughes to replace Bailey but in top 3. And both have played well in SAF.

Posted by nlpdave on (December 27, 2013, 11:02 GMT)

An Australian innings with all the feel of a dead rubber but a win for England will be welcomed if they can pull it off from here. Australia have a good bowling atack but not outstanding and everyone needs to recognise that England just haven't played the pace well at all. Harris is by far the best of the unit. England need to understand that deep inside that this Australia top and middle order is well below par both technically and mentally. They should be prepared for some drubbings around the world whilst England re-build around a different philosophy. Choosing bowlers because they can hold an end up seems to miss the whole point of the game, why not pick bowlers to take wickets, always the best way to limit scoring. When Flower goes lets hope this approach also changes, no more Bresnan, Panesar, Carberry, but players about who'm one can easily say why they are special.

Posted by TurningSquare on (December 27, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

Finally Stuart Broad shows more of his true self. It's incredibly frustrating to see him bowl within himself, brilliant to see him push up to 92mph. He is genuinely a fast bowler, more of the same required!

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 27, 2013, 10:33 GMT)

I don't get the Aussie supporters here. This is the first bad day of cricket we have had and in fairness England bowled real well. This test is a long way from over. I'm not convinced by Bailey yet but I can't imagine we. will make any changes for the next test unless forced via injury. This team have dominated every other day of cricket and it would be ridiculous to make any changes. Why have people had a crack at Warner he batted the same way in what he Haas in the past and helped him average 90 this series. Rogers where would we be now without his contribution today and Smith and Watson have got two tons in there last 5 tests. Also the people talking about Lynn being #3 do you realise he doesn't even bat 3 for his state, he was out of his state team at the start of the season and still should be a fair way back in the queue.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 10:28 GMT)

Win the the game. Except when you do a "Nasser Hussain".

The poet laureate.

Posted by cricketcricket1987 on (December 27, 2013, 10:22 GMT)

Great to see Warner, Watson and Bailey brought back down to earth - sloggers.

Posted by DMK12155 on (December 27, 2013, 10:16 GMT)

I still go with the Aussies to win this match too. All haddin needs to do now is to try and narrow the gap as much as he can tomorrow and leave the rest to the Aussie fast men!

Posted by wix99 on (December 27, 2013, 10:15 GMT)

There are obvious problems with Australia's batting lineup, but there are not many batsmen knocking down the door to get into the team. Phil Hughes will come back into the team in the next year or so, most likely as a replacement for Chris Rogers. However, there are no obvious candidates for Shane Watson's current No. 3 position or Bailey at No. 6.

Perhaps the selectors need to give a young player a chance at No. 6. Chris Lynn, Joe Burns or Nic Maddinson would be the most obvious choices. The other alternative is to look to older batsmen who have had some international experience such as Shaun Marsh or Cameron White.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (December 27, 2013, 10:11 GMT)

I think it was the right decision to bowl first, the problem is that Australia dropped 4 catches while bowling. If they had held on to those chances, then England may have been out for around 150. KP was dropped twice - and ended up top scoring with 71. If they had had England 150 all out, then the decision to bowl first would have been a good one, but 255 was always going to be a good total on this pitch. Warner and Watson gave their wickets away but the others were not so bad. It is just hard to bat on this pitch. The match is not all over yet, and the good news for Australia is that it is still a very true pitch. But they will not want to chase much more than about 250 in the 4th innings here. With a deficit of 91, they will want to get England all out for under 160 to be a chance of victory. Over 250 and they will have to pull out the kind of effort that South Africa have recently been famous for - but Australia have not. England only won 1 session today - the 3rd - but are on top.

Posted by Marcio on (December 27, 2013, 10:08 GMT)

The conditions just don't suit attacking batting, & AUS was forced to play ENG's style - attritional cricket. England will always win that game. The track was a perfect match for Bresnan's 120-click dibbly dobblies - innocuous on almost any other surface, but difficult to get away here.

This loss (inevitable - there won't be any recovery from this position) isn't a bad thing though, as it will give selectors permission to make two very necessary changes in the batting. Bailey is not a test cricketer, and almost anybody else would serve the team better. But do the selectors have the guts to drop Mr Nice Guy? Watson also cannot be number three if this team is to progress form being a good team to being a strong team. If he can't bowl, then he shouldn't be in the team. The bowling is fantastic. No changes required there, and with strong replacement in the wings when injuries occur. Fantastic bowling by Johnson again. How wonderful it is to see him go from most hated to national hero.

Posted by Hammond on (December 27, 2013, 10:00 GMT)

I just love how my countrymen think they can be number one in test cricket again. Get real. Just because England implodes doesn't mean that we are world beaters. This innings just showed how bog average we really are.

Posted by CricketMaan on (December 27, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

Year 2013 has shown us fans that there is no clear LEADER in Test cricket going around. All teams are masters on thier own turf and only a couple of series has gone awry for home teams. By and large teams struggle to cope up overseas and there is no team that is intimidating but all are vulnerable at some stage somewhere. In some sense its making Test cricket intresting as everyone has a chance in the game, but on the other hand, its getting to a point that teams are in comfort zone playing home series. Sad but true

Posted by Tlotoxl on (December 27, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

"Posted by Vicky Vigneswaran on (December 27, 2013, 8:21 GMT) Test 1: 132 for 6 wickets; Test 2: 174 for 4 wickets and Test 3: 143 for 5 wickets. Haddin played with Johnson, Clarke and Smith in those Tests to pull Australia out of trouble. None stood with Haddin in this Test. Either Cook's unimaginative captaincy or their missed chances brought England down in the previous Tests. Even with a couple of drops, the pace bowlers managed this time. Australia batted well in the second innings in all Tests. The night is still young."

Aus have played well in the second innings with the freedom of having a substantial first innings lead and batting third, if they are chasing 350 to win in the 4th innings that is an entirely different proposition.

Posted by anton1234 on (December 27, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

I agree about Watson. Either he plays at 6 or he should be dropped. I still have strong doubts over Watson (alhough he is actually good as an allrounder), Smith, Bailey. Watson should play only as a true allrounder and bat 6 or 7, while I haven't been convinced by Smith and Bailey at all.Chris Lynn at 3 and Watson drops to 6 to replace Bailey. I think Smith will keep his place for the SA series.

Team for Sydney:

Warner Rodgers Lynn Clarke Smith Watson Haddin Johnson Harris Siddle Lyon

May even play Haddin ahead of Watson in the batting order. Watson has to have the pressure of 'batsman' lifted im and should be deemed a true allrounder. He may then start playing more freely.

If Australia can get another 50 more somehow in the morning then it is shaping up to be a good match.

Posted by buddhi_SL on (December 27, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

I think England bowlers did well so far in the whole tournament rather not performing very well like last season. But England batsman must put something for the team than this. If not another defeat on the card in next couple of days. Cook factor is big thing for England in batting department . Good Luck

Posted by din7 on (December 27, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

aus seem to be gettin carried away by winnin and not concentrating on things they need to imrove....ofcourse eng bowled well but can any1 explain why were they throwin away wickets atleast they would have matched the score of 255 even siddle threw it for no reason..anyways..after winnin the series it was time to select either doolan or lynn in the side for dead rubbers in place of bailey..he isnt test player at all..and with this aus line up select bits and pieces player..let watson be wasted at no3 because if they select new batsmen and bring him on 3 he may fail under pressure in SA even his career might suffer so its better to waste watson at no3..if they continue with bailey in SA..only god can save them

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 9:27 GMT)

i think this series is a blip, australia will soon return to the mediocre side they really are.

Posted by DJAbacus on (December 27, 2013, 9:26 GMT)

When confidence turns to arrogance you know you are in trouble. Clarke's 'we're so good we can do what we want' decision to bowl first showed the mindset of the Australian camp. Warner, after being allowed for some strange reason to play in a T20 between Tests, thought he could smash the England seamers for 6 every ball got what he deserved. If England go on and win this Test, Australia will only have themselves to blame. They must realise they are not the world beaters that they might think they are right now.

Posted by Slysta on (December 27, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

@jmcelhinny it's basically *never* a good idea to bowl first in Australia, not the moment Clarke made the decision, not at any stage yesterday, and not at the change of innings this morning. Presumably he was spooked by the events of Boxing Day 2010. No... win the toss, bat, and make the opposition work out how best to bowl on the surface, especially when it's a drop-in. Yesterday the Australians were too content with attritional cricket, bowled too short or wide, and England made a good, potentially match-winning score. By the time Australia batted, England knew that it was better to pitch fuller on the two-paced surface, and they duly profited. Maybe the Australians would have spooned all those drives on Day 1 as well, but would England have had the courage to bowl the required length has they been sent into the field? The evidence of the series so far suggests not. Taking nothing away from England though - they have outplayed us, and are deservedly well placed to win.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

Finally a contest ..... despite the capitulation of the English lower order and more fielding blunders.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

Ryan Carters and Marcus North deserve mentions as well.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 9:05 GMT)

australia's batting lineup would be great for an ODI game but are again showing a lack of skill in the test format. i assume both watson and rogers will be out of the top 3 by the end of next year, and we will need two replacements. might as well get one potential top order player into the team now with another dead rubber in sydney, probably for watson or bailey. i feel rogers still has another good series or two in him but at 36 he has to be getting close to retirement

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 9:04 GMT)

get in finch leave bailey out

Posted by jayg24 on (December 27, 2013, 9:01 GMT)

It took Swann's retirement to find out that he was indeed the weakest link!! well it looks like when England stick to a bowling plan and bowl well, the australians are as fallable as the english batsmen.....pity it took until the 4th test for england to bowl as they have done it past series....

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:56 GMT)

Let's not get silly and replace a problem with a worse problem. If Bailey's not a test 6 then Faulkner certainly isn't. He's only just started batting there for Tasmania so let's not get too silly.

Obviously Bailey's not going to South Africa, and I think the mass hysteria or whatever other wacky alternative universe social science experiment has given us Shane Watson top order batsman surely can end now. I'd have him below Haddin to be honest and I don't even think that's a controversial opinion.

Chris Lynn for #3? Not bad, good to see posters here are following the Shield. Doolan's still in contention too I'd imagine. Personally I think Warner takes over the #3 spot and Phil Hughes comes back in where he should always have been, as opening partner for Chris Rogers. That's a side I can see getting the #1 ranking back.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (December 27, 2013, 8:56 GMT)

About Clarke bowling first, i think it was to get our guys under pressure and see if we can win from behind. This is the first time all series that England has had a lead in any test, so if we could claw our way back here, it will go a long way to completing our side.

Too many comments here are doom and gloom, we are doing badly this test, but that doesn't undo what the boys have done before. Calling for Smith's head? The kid scored a 100 in the FIRST INNINGS at the WACA when everyone else failed, that's ticker, he will develop into a good player in a few years. The problem in the no.3, no.6 and Rogers spots.

Bailey's struggles may be a blessing in disguise as it might clear up the way for Watson to bat there as an all rounder because he just can't cut it consistently enough in the top order. Also, Rogers, i'm not sure he will be there for too much longer if he keeps wasting starts especially when they come few and far between for him.

Hughes, Doolan, Lynn the names i'll toss up.

Posted by Big_Chikka on (December 27, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

the series is lost, so wouldn't read to much into aussie performances from here on, unless of course aussie players are fighting for team places, which is probably the case with england.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

What's exciting to me about Australia is that we've still got some improvement to make. Surely the mass hysteria that's created the wacky phenomenon of Shane Watson - Top Order Batsman is over now? I mean, haven't we got enough data on the guy by now? He's a champion boundary hitter and six hitter, what he's doing in the top 6 I don't know.

George Bailey will go, that's okay, he's clearly a ODI specialist and absolute all time top level talent at that level. Steve O'Keefe probably should have been picked ahead of Lyon for the last several years.

I think they should move Warner to the Viv Richards role at 3 and bring back the obvious choice of Phil Hughes to open with Rogers.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (December 27, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

I am completely behind Australia. We restricted England to a paltry total (yet again) and are only 90 odd behind, still batting and have previously set England over 500 to win in three consecutive matches. Why the complaining? We won the Ashes already. I'd only replace Watson at three but I said that prior to the series start, I think everybody agrees he's no number 3. Australia are still in a good position in this match.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:35 GMT)

agree with the comments about England not being able to handle the pressure in this series. it seems to me that has been the big difference this time. both sides fairly evenly matched but England have let their standards slip while Australia have found some form. don't see the south Africans worrying about either one of our teams at the moment

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (December 27, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

@SamRoy: Give us Kohli, Pujara and Dhawan please!

Posted by Beertjie on (December 27, 2013, 8:29 GMT)

Agree fully @lillee4PM on (December 27, 2013, 5:50 GMT) the current Aussie batting line up will never take us back to #1. Also with @xtrafalgarx on (December 27, 2013, 5:24 GMT) that we don't have enough time to fix these issues before South Africa. Watson/Faulkner to #6 and Lynn/Hughes to #3 with Bailey back to ODIs. Rogers to tour but could be replaced by Hughes unless he converts starts. Reward youth and Shield scores. Shift Big Bash or risk never getting back to #1. And stop talking trash about #1 and whitewashes. As so many pointed out, the last Ashes scoreline should never have been 3-0 whatever the record reflects. More like England 1 up. What price Australia to end 1 up at home? Just remain grounded and make firm decisions like with Watto and Bailey. Don't lose momentum because of desire to retain same team. Learn from the past with phased changes NOT only age-based.

Posted by austentayshus on (December 27, 2013, 8:29 GMT)

Good to see England fighting back .. I reckon pomms will win at G and draw sydney 3-1 to australia..

Chris lynn needs to be in place of Watson at 3 and faulkaner at 6 for bailey

1998-99 ashes is repeating

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

You win 4 tosses in a row and make a mistake putting the opposition in first on day 1 and suddenly your apparent skill is exposed as more fortune than fantastic.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

Normal service has most assuredly been resumed. Things are back to the way they were with the Poms jubilant with one winning day out of the last 17.

Posted by 45runs on (December 27, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

Yes, well bowled England. And Australia for that matter. Mitch's spell this morning was all class.

England bowled well but I would suggest only Anderson's ball to Clarke was an outstanding delivery (I'm only talking about the top 6). Rest poor shots. Taking nothing away from England though, they were patient and consistent.

Hard to be critical of Warner after his series so far but his innings today was one of the worst I've seen from an opener. Unlike his controlled aggression in the series to date this was uncontrolled, non thinking rubbish. It was D Warner 1.0, not D Warner 2.0. Watson's technique exposed yet again with a canyon between bat and pad. I know he's come off a 100 but when the runs matter where is he? When will the selectors' patience run out?

And I agree, barring an incredible innings or two before the end of the series Bailey must be dropped for South Africa. A shame but this is Test cricket. No obvious replacement though. Phil Hughes third time lucky?

Posted by Patchmaster on (December 27, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

All England had to do was bowl half decent stuff for half a day and this Aussie batting line up reverts back to the last three Ashes series - useless !

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

Test 1: 132 for 6 wickets; Test 2: 174 for 4 wickets and Test 3: 143 for 5 wickets.

Haddin played with Johnson, Clarke and Smith in those Tests to pull Australia out of trouble. None stood with Haddin in this Test. Either Cook's unimaginative captaincy or their missed chances brought England down in the previous Tests. Even with a couple of drops, the pace bowlers managed this time.

Australia batted well in the second innings in all Tests. The night is still young.

Posted by 200ondebut on (December 27, 2013, 8:19 GMT)

Just goes to prove the old adage about waiting until both sides have batted. Agnew is looking a bit silly now.

Posted by jagannathanV on (December 27, 2013, 8:19 GMT)

looks like complacency factor for the aussies having won the ashes.. seems like they sure don wanna win it by 5-0.. on the other hand very good bowling from england.. one more bad day for aus tomor and they ll be going to SA with no momentum for sure.

Posted by AJ_Tiger86 on (December 27, 2013, 8:18 GMT)

Australia have won the Ashes 3-0, this is a dead rubber, and the had just one bad day and still have a good chance of winning this test. I can't believe how negative some of the comments are, and all the calls for axing proven performers. Remember this is nowhere near the all time great Aussie sides of the yesteryears. So what do people expect from them? Perfect performance with bat and ball every single day? Let's be realistic.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:17 GMT)

I can't believe so many people are criticizing Chris Rogers, it seems to me batted exactly the way that was required today. I haven't seen the shot that he got out to, but it seems that was when he was playing the 'shots' so many are asking for!

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

No Australian should ever have been happy with this batting line-up. Haddin has been the one to save our bacon with help from tail-enders. This test and the next should have been about blooding a new batsmen. Oh...well.

Posted by Brett_in_China on (December 27, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

Wow. I'm an Oz supporter, and have enjoyed the series and most of the comments here so far. Until today. Not only have we taken the Ashes from the Poms, but also the mantle of "whingers". All of you should read all these comments here, and cringe. The vicious and spiteful stuff that has suddenly appeared is a disgrace. Fair go? You have to be joking. These blokes deserve some support when things are hard, as well. And no, most Australians DON'T think that way about Clarke - you might, but don't think that means you are anywhere near the majority. Have an ounce of loyalty, people.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (December 27, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

Can we please stop the nonsense about Johnson's "terrifying pace"! Broad and Harris bowl jmid to high 140s as well, but we don't hear about their bowling being "searingly fast" or "terrifying pace"

When Johnson does ramp it up, his max is only 5kph quicker than Broad was bowling today. For an international batsman, that should be insignificant.

Posted by wapuser on (December 27, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

Who cares we have already won the Ashes

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:09 GMT)

North, Voges, Lynn, Burns, Forest...take your pick.

Posted by pommy80 on (December 27, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

Normal service has resumed. England making light work of Australian batsmen.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (December 27, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

Good on Binga for knocking lumps out of Piers Morgan, I'm only surprised he didn't get him in the gob considering how large the target was.

Nice of the English team to turn up for a change. If the batting line up can be located we may finally have a game to watch.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

i think england ready for oneday attack!!!

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 27, 2013, 8:00 GMT)

Very serious problems for this crop of English players. By playing better cricket today they clearly demonstrate that they can not handle pressure.

They should have played like this when the pressure of winning the series was there.

Not much good shutting the gate after the horse is bolted lads

Posted by SamRoy on (December 27, 2013, 7:57 GMT)

Well it is good Lehmann realizes the weaknesses of his squad. Truth is apart from Clarke and Warner there are no world class batsman in Australia. Bowlers win matches and they have a good bowling line-up, in fact a very good one but batsman set up the game for bowlers. The standard of test cricket has deteriorated to such levels that currently there are only 3 good bowling attacks SA, Pakistan and Australia and only 2 good batting line-ups SA and India. England can become a good attack if they use Broad, Anderson, Finn, Stokes and Panesar and throw that Bresnan experiment out of the window. I still believe there must be 20 fast bowlers better in England than Bresnan. Australia has an abundance of talent in fast bowling and India has an abundance of talent in batting. Australia's C Team of fast bowlers are better than their Indian Main Fast Bowlers and the Indian C Team of batsman are better than the main stays in Australian batting. Don't believe me! Check their first class averages.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (December 27, 2013, 7:56 GMT)

I think the funny thing is based on form England are the most likely team to lose from here lol! They are capable of not taking a wicket tomorrow morning, they are capable of being bowled out for under a hundred and they are capable of being flayed all around the MCG! I think it really would be the icing on the cake for the Aussies to win from this position and I think they will. I guess we can be optimistic, we already won the Ashes lol!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 27, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

It's funny that people are criticising Clarke for sending England in. I don't suppose anyone was thinking it was a bad idea when England were rolled relatively cheaply. He was obviously trying to strike a psychological blow and it would have worked if the batsmen had backed up the bowlers. There's no reason to believe that the Australian batsmen felt any pressure as a result of England's score so there's no reason to believe that Australia would have batted any better had they batted first. The simple fact is that Australia didn't bat well enough. The toss made no difference. Some of the intensity may have waned for Australia but their batting has looked fragile all series. This is just the first time that England have stuck to the task and taken proper advantage of it.

Posted by Shuraim on (December 27, 2013, 7:49 GMT)

That is it, enough of Bailey next match Cam White should replace him, what's the point in giving an out-of-form batsman so many chances rather than having an in-form guy taking his spot.

Posted by Front-Foot-Sponge on (December 27, 2013, 7:43 GMT)

91 behind and couldn't care less, such is the luxury of having already won the series inside 14 days. It's been equally entertaining reading the chirps about crowd attendances, the Barmy Army and how overrated Australia are. It's a funny old wicket and 90 odd is hardly a match winning lead considering England's current ability to give up good positions and post alarmingly low totals. Oh and Haddin's love affair with taking apart England's bowling. Watching the interviews you can tell the England players are shell shocked that they had 2 good sessions (let's face it their first was as appalling as any other on this tour, capitulating again to Mitch's extreme pace and Lyon's 'zooter'). KP was hilarious, trying to slam a six off a ball that had splayed the stumps long before the wild swish. England are more than capable of giving up this position.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 7:31 GMT)

Bailey not good enough. Time for a paycut and to wipe that sadistic grin off his face!

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 7:29 GMT)

Has this Aussie team decided to bore everyone to death? Scoring at 2 an over all day. Note the irony!

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

1 bad day in the series and the Aussies are demanding change!!

Posted by Philippe on (December 27, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

with 1 wicket left test is surely going ENG way... would be a very critical day tomorrow to see wat exactly would be the outcome of this test...

Posted by landl47 on (December 27, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

This is the first day in the series that England has finished on top in any game. It's a pity it took until the Ashes were lost to get there, but the England bowling has looked much more like what we expected today.

Now they have to take that last wicket tomorrow and press on to a decisive lead. Let's hope that is not beyond them.

Magnificent crowds at the MCG- fantastic to see test cricket so well supported.

Posted by Slysta on (December 27, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

You would think, 4 Tests into this series, that observers should know better than to judge the pitch at the end of Day 1. England's 6/226 were clearly good runs at a decent rate. Obviously we (Aussies) are looking right down the barrel here; sure, our bowling unit has been consistently excellent, but tomorrow they'll have to get it done in hot weather AND with no first-innings cushion... winning from here would be an outstanding effort. I dount the Poms will let this slip.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (December 27, 2013, 7:05 GMT)

Bailey has one problem - he is not a a good enough batsman - apart from that he is a test standard player

Posted by milepost on (December 27, 2013, 7:05 GMT)

Nice one @Rednwhitearmy, he needed a couple of attempts at it though lol. Not a great day to be an Aussie supporter, but oh wait.... We are allowed one every 15 days. Back to normal tomorrow.

Posted by cccrider on (December 27, 2013, 6:58 GMT)

'Clarkey' in showing disrespect to the opposition by bowling first has got his 'contest'. Like most Australians, I will never fully understand or respect his thinking.

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 27, 2013, 6:57 GMT)

We blew away an excellent chance to win 5-0. Wondering why on earth did Clarke choose to bowl first. Bailey - he is done - Watson at No 6 and Hughes at 3 for SA. Slow scoring from Rogers didn't help either. Think this innings reflects the real state of Aus batting than the others.

Posted by just_a_fan on (December 27, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

haha so much for Clarke's delusions of becoming the no.1 test side in the wold !! With batsmen like Smith & Bailey, no chance in hell !

Posted by milepost on (December 27, 2013, 6:51 GMT)

Looks like Cook is doing his classic 'let's see off the old ball and not try to take wickets tactic'. The same one that costs him hundreds of runs. By the time the new ball arrives these two batsman will be set to flay it all over the place.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 27, 2013, 6:49 GMT)

Got to admit, thoroughly enjoyed what Brett lee did to Piers Morgan. I thought the English liked him, but apparently he is not well liked by them either. In 6 balls, he hit Morgan 3 times , had him backing away to almost another pitchfor 2 others & & cleaned up his leg stump. Classic.

Posted by milepost on (December 27, 2013, 6:47 GMT)

I think we can expect @FFL to surface for a chirp today, until the Aussie tail get a decent lead. I'm not sure there could be many people left that think Watson is a number 3 except Watson himself.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 27, 2013, 6:44 GMT)

Anderson catches Johnson off the bowling of Bresnan... one of the highlight of the day's play so far.

Posted by lillee4PM on (December 27, 2013, 6:41 GMT)

Seven down now so Poms may end up with a first inn's lead but I'm still betting Aus will win this match. Either way, the selectors should make some batting changes for Sydney.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 6:16 GMT)

@Anand - i would prefer to see a new batsmen given a chance. Aust needs to bolster the batting stocks.

Posted by lillee4PM on (December 27, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

Anderson drops Johnson off the bowling of Bresnan...highlight of the day's play so far. Come on Aussie tail, show our top order how to bat and take the game away from England!

Posted by cricketlover111 on (December 27, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

Go England, I would normally support Australia against England but Mitchell Johnston is supplying England with a number of new fans. Nobody minds a bit of aggression at times but MJ is just tiresome.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 6:06 GMT)

In these last few tests Brad Haddin has certainly brought back memories of Adam Gilchrist.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 5:55 GMT)

Is there a case for Australia (only for the Sydney test) to perhaps draft in Pattinson or another spinner depending on the surface in place of Bailey ? Considering Haddin and Johnson have contributed consistently. I think Johnson could bat at 7 at Sydney perhaps.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (December 27, 2013, 5:53 GMT)

Ooooh, Bailey is struggling. 19 ball duck, there aren't too many who have come back from that, especially at 31 years of age now. If Bailey fails, it might be a blessing in disguise as it will allow Watto to move back down to 6 because he isn't cutting it at the top.

Posted by wapuser on (December 27, 2013, 5:52 GMT)

Rogers and Bailey need to go. Watson is no better than a bowling number 6, at least until he breaks down with a chipped fingernail and is out for 3 months.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 5:50 GMT)

England are doing us a favour by showing that Bailey is not test capable yet and Watson at least needs to be moved down the order.

Posted by lillee4PM on (December 27, 2013, 5:50 GMT)

If Pup thinks this current Aussie batting line up will take us back to #1 in the world, then he is delusional.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 5:49 GMT)

Think Baily was unlucky. The sound wave on snicko was not consistent with the timing in that the sound came after the ball passed the bat. This is the sound of air being trapped and released. The shape of the sound wave was also inconsistent with actual contact. The wave was spread which also indicates air "popping". Flick your finger in front of your mouth whilst blowing and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 5:43 GMT)

England is always full of surprises. The batting collapsed as expected but then the bowlers came roaring back. Good to see Australia getting a taste of their own medicine. Bowlers get to terrorise batsmen down under and in SA and in England. No such luck in India. Indian pitches are batting paradises.

Posted by lillee4PM on (December 27, 2013, 5:35 GMT)

Very poor batting from Aussies giving their wickets away to a mediocre England bowling attack. Won't be much rest for Johnson; after getting 5 wkts he'll be back out there batting soon and then bowling again tomorrow.

Posted by AB34 on (December 27, 2013, 5:35 GMT)

I see what their game plan is now, go very slow and ball defensive and wait for Australia to make a mistake because it is them that are chasing the 5-nil white wash, very smart....but remember we only have to draw the ashes to retain it next time.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 5:34 GMT)

Wonder if George Bailey will be axed if he fails in this innings ?

Posted by AnthonyMD on (December 27, 2013, 5:29 GMT)

Good stuff from England today with the ball. Australia may still lead after the first innings, but I think Clarke's decision to put England in was somewhat arrogant and a sign of a team getting ahead of itself.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (December 27, 2013, 5:24 GMT)

We need a new top order. Though Rogers did decently today, he threw it away which is exactly what you don't want from him because of the type of player he is, anyways, Watson is under pressure, and we don't have enough time to fix these issues before South Africa so it's looking shaky.

Credit to England, Broad is bowling quick and Anderson is getting a bit of bite back, they look as if they are slowly getting back to what we expected them to be from the start.

As Harris said, "We know they are going to fight back at some point, but hopefully when they do, the series is gone." - so it has proved.

Posted by page8383 on (December 27, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

RnWA, Cook has packed the offside with a 7-2 field and has his bowlers bowling 5th/6th stump. What sort of run rate do you expect with those tactics?

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 5:07 GMT)

The brittlesness of the top order, shown again. Watson only scores when the pitch isn't doing anything. With Warner you need consistency at 3. Rogers solid as usual but needs to convert this one.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 4:54 GMT)

hope rogers make a 100 and save Australia

Posted by cricketsubh on (December 27, 2013, 4:52 GMT)

again watson fails i think clarke pick watson becoz he want rest his fast bowlers in matches not for his bating if u pick watson for his bowling so why not fulkner or cutting they are young and better bowler then watson and they can bat also.its time for watson to go.

Posted by lillee4PM on (December 27, 2013, 4:08 GMT)

Hope Brett Lee kills Piers Morgan in the nets at tea time!

Posted by Slysta on (December 27, 2013, 3:56 GMT)

Give England some credit. 255 is a better score than we all thought. There's assistance for the bowlers, and their seamers are bowling as well as they have all series. Game on, no question.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 27, 2013, 3:44 GMT)

Aus 86/3 33 overs @ 2.59 rpo. What were the aussies whingeing about yesterday again?

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 3:38 GMT)

Mitch was on fire!

Posted by Biggus on (December 27, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

As expected England didn't last long this morning, but they've bowled well on what I still reckon is a 350-400 par pitch for the first two innings. It's been a disciplined display and Broad, Anderson and Stokes have been getting some zip, but Bresnan looks awfully military medium, maybe useful in England but barring a Bellerive greentop unlikely to have much influence down here. The advent of Stokes will probably be the end for Bresnan, for as much as I like him as a player Stokes is just miles ahead in all departments. Shane Watson.....aaaaaarghh...NOT A NUMBER 3 BATSMAN, and bashing a dispirited England attack at the WACA when all the hard lifting had been done doesn't count. Number 6 HAS to be his spot, whether it's a blow to his ego or not, he simply doesn't make enough runs to be picky about where he bats. I've never said this before, but I think it's time for Pup to bat at 3. It may not be his preferred position but we have problems there and it's his job to step forward now.

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 3:09 GMT)

pitched up, nicked Back .. n hits top of off stump . wow ... perfect 1 frm jimmy .. nw aus in all sorts of trobules ..

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 2:43 GMT)

its will b intresting to see how Australia plays now .. it's testing time . england should take wickets in regular intervals nw .

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (December 27, 2013, 2:40 GMT)

Was unnecess. gift of wkt from Warner in fine form.And a cruel blow to us all looking to see day2 ent'ment.A beatutiful batting pitch and popgun Eng attack was ripe picking for his best score this Ashes.Hope dont disappoint us in Sydney.You owe us! -:)

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (December 27, 2013, 2:35 GMT)

Just to prove nobody will ever know what goes on in Pietersen's mind, he did all the hard yards yesterday and bored a record crowd to tears. In a handful of balls today he batted worse than Chris Martin or Danny Morrison ever did, to throw away all the ground work done earlier. Absolutely hilarious; gotta wonder what Botham said to him before play? Bet it wasn't just "relax and play like a milo-havago-cricketer!"

Then to show that Warner was watching Pietersen flailing about, he followed up his sledging of the bottom three England bunnies by going out there and batting worse than them. If - as the commentators where trying to allude to - Warner was trying to recreate his T20 slogs from a couple of days ago, then he is close to the most uncoachable sportsman on the planet!

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (December 27, 2013, 2:14 GMT)

The fastest,most fearsome pacer of this gen. with his mates from best pace pack in world doing what they know best -knock over their fave. Eng left,right and center.Now a couple of 'daddies' from Clark,Smith,Roger on a super MCG pitch and an inngs. win.

Posted by ballsintherightareas on (December 27, 2013, 1:56 GMT)

Broad's bowling speed is averaging just under 90 mph in this innings - well up on his speeds in previous matches. Stokes and Jimmy also firining it in at 85mph or so. They are matching the Aus attack for pace and beat them on height. Should be a handful this afternoon if they keep this up and England hang onto their catches.

Posted by jimbond on (December 27, 2013, 1:37 GMT)

Now who can justify including an ever injury prone Watson instead of Faulkner? I am sure Faulkner could also have made this much of runs.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (December 27, 2013, 1:35 GMT)

We need a new top order. Watson should be at no.5 or no.6. Also if Rogers doesn't fire here, he isn't on the plane to South Africa, that's for sure. Problem is, we lack a no.3

Posted by   on (December 27, 2013, 1:33 GMT)

Pietersen batted stolidly?

Posted by cccrider on (December 27, 2013, 0:57 GMT)

Marvellous Johnson. Almost unwatchably bad Lyon. Replace Chris for Chris - Rogers for Lynn.

Posted by silentstand on (December 27, 2013, 0:46 GMT)

This is just getting pathetic now.sad to see the English play.5-0austrialia

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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