Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 3rd day December 28, 2013

Australia gifted a reprieve by broken England

183

Australia 204 (Haddin 65, Rogers 61, Anderson 4-67) and 0 for 30 (Warner 12*, Rogers 18*) need 201 to beat England 251 and 179 (Cook 51, Lyon 5-50)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The Lyon King of the MCG

Some years ago, during Australia's run of Ashes dominance, a banner appeared at the SCG with the words "if the Poms bat first, let's tell the taxi to wait". It would have been an altogether appropriate placard for day three of the Boxing Day Test, as England kicked away a position of enormous advantage with feckless batting at a raucous MCG.

In doing so they opened up the possibility of a 4-0 margin to Michael Clarke's team, with Chris Rogers and David Warner knocking off 30 of the 231 runs required by the close. The target remains challenging, but is nowhere near the figure Alastair Cook had in mind when he and Michael Carberry had cantered to 0 for 65 shortly after lunch.

Mitchell Johnson was again the catalyst for much of this mayhem, dismissing Cook for 51 and later conjuring a run out amid a slide of 3 for 1 in six balls. In all, 10 English wickets fell for 114, Nathan Lyon claiming most of the spoils with 5 for 50, including his 100th Test wicket - Stuart Broad taken at slip by Clarke - and that of Kevin Pietersen, who resisted stoutly once more until the rush of wickets compelled him to lash out.

The scars of such a reversal can be lasting, and it was a telling indicator of England's brittle confidence that they would follow their stand out day of the series with an equally strong contender for their worst - though this is admittedly a category with many nominees. A common denominator no matter where or when such problems have occurred is the vanishing of the touring tail.

In what has become a scenario almost as inevitable in this series as death and taxes, the last five England wickets evaporated, this time for six runs in 40 balls. No starker contrast could be provided with Australia than the way in which Lyon and Brad Haddin squeezed 40 runs from their last wicket partnership in the morning.

Haddin's 65 gave him the highest aggregate by a wicketkeeper in any Ashes series, while Lyon's eagerness to contribute in whatever way he can is emphasised by the fact that Australia's No. 11 now has made 53 runs for the series without being dismissed.

Even so, England began their second innings with an advantage of 51, and Cook was particularly positive in approach to stretch the lead. Carberry was happy to ride in his leader's slipstream, their vast scoring differential of little concern to England as their advantage mounted.

Clarke, so dominant for much of the series, was left bereft of options, and called on Shane Watson to bowl either side of lunch despite the allrounder's suffering of a groin strain in the first innings. He bowled gingerly but could not take a wicket as the lead grew to 105 by the interval.

England's batsmen could envisage an afternoon's quiet accumulation, but the self-destructive tendencies that have bedevilled them this series were to rear dramatically and disrupt Cook and Carberry's earlier serene progress. Cook had been fluent, but on 51 was pinned in front by Johnson's movement back at him, Aleem Dar judging the ball would have gone on to take leg stump - Cook did not review.

Joe Root walked out to build the lead, but second ball might easily have been walking back to the rooms. Johnsons and Haddin went up for a caught behind appeal as the ball fizzed across Root's defensive blade, and so did Dar's finger. After a slight delay, Root reviewed, and the absence of any HotSpot or Real-Time Snicko evidence had Billy Bowden reversing the decision.

Any thoughts that this close call would allow England to settle down were to be scotched by the mounting pressure on a muted Carberry, who had faced 81 balls for his 12 runs when Peter Siddle struck him in line from around the wicket and won another lbw verdict. Next over, Root chanced a single to Johnson's strong left arm at mid-off and lost when the fast man's throw clattered the stumps.

Then to general astonishment, Ian Bell chipped his first ball into Johnson's hands after Nathan Lyon had floated the ball up to the bat. Australia's fielders celebrated wildly, for they were back into a match that had looked well and truly out of reach.

Pietersen and Ben Stokes resisted usefully for a time, their 44-run union threatening to blossom into something greater before Lyon tempted Stokes into a lofted drive that lobbed obligingly into the hands of Steve Smith, posted precisely a little more than half way to the long-off boundary.

Pietersen and Bairstow added another 42, taking England to the edge of supremacy given Melbourne's history of giving up few lofty fourth innings chases. But Johnson returned to coax an edge from Bairstow and engage in a heated confrontation with Pietersen after the batsman pulled awaydue to movement near the sight screen, heralding the breathless passage in which Lyon claimed three wickets and raised the ball to the crowd for his fourth Test five-for as gusty winds swept the outfield.

Tim Bresnan swished on the back foot and was bowled, though required replay confirmation after rather brusquely standing his ground. Broad nicked a nice off break to slip, and a cornered Pietersen skied an attempt to drive Lyon into the Great Southern Stand and was pouched by Harris, who did well not to be distracted by the swirling air currents.

Johnson then charged in to pin Monty Panesar lbw and so allow Rogers and Warner eight overs before the close. Calmly and smoothly they compiled 30 without loss, Rogers punching through cover from the day's final ball to push Australia closer. The taxi can wait.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 29, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    Mycro3a: not at all, I agree we may struggle against SA because they are better. It would just be better to play a more competitive English side first. But yout claim that Australia is only slightly better looks even more eccentric after yesterday. But thanks for playing.

  • on December 29, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    I spent time in a a small Qld town - population 4000 - until recently. The town had a cricket team called the Oakey Bears. After watching England's appalling Ashes defence I now firmly believe the Oakey Bears could have beaten them! Enough said.

  • on December 29, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    No committment, no intensity just medium pace dross from England and 2nd XI spin from the ever hopeless Panesar. It just seems as though no one is in the least bit interested in competing. It would be a different story were a committed attack being well handled by some classy batsmen such as in SA at the moment but Rogers and Watson are barely good enough to keep their places so expect both of them to be dropped in 2014. But to the point, who, after this, has reached the end of their Test match career. Obviously Flower, architect of the mediocre. But for the players, Panesar should never grace a test match arena again nor should Bresnan, Carberry or Trott (already gone). in need of a kick up the arse (sorry, a rest from the pressures of test cricket) would be Anderson and Broad. A new philosophy must prevail which develops a side where the players either have to score runs or take wickets and offer something special in their respective discipline. No longer can holding up an end do.

  • nlpdave on December 29, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    Cook's plan must be to keep the runs down for about 150 overs. Dross bowling, no imagination, even the distinctly average Rogers is having a second birthday. All this old rubbish about Lyon who has a first class average approaching 40. What a find?

  • Diaz54 on December 29, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    Fancy bowling root ahead of Panesar.....this sort of thing will not happen with other sides. Don't worry about left handlers etc...you have to bowl specialist bowlers first! Very little confidence showed in Panesar...he sshould not bother playing. No doubt he will be dropped in any case in the summer. So called all,rounders will be picked , with disastrous results.

  • heathrf1974 on December 29, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    England have definitely missed a chance to put more pressure on Australia with some sloppy batting. However, the Aussie batting has it's own problems. Should be a very interesting 4th day.

  • lillee4PM on December 29, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    Bairstow and Cook gave our openers plenty of chances to score big but Warner can't get out of T20 mode. We've got two days to score 200 runs and he has to try and hit a bouncer from Stokes...very poor cricket. Now the world's worst #3 is at the crease but we'll still win coz we've got Haddin!

  • on December 29, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    Another poor day. Australia got closer to England's first innings than they should have done, and a promising opening stand then wasted by another collapse. Hard to see Australia not wrapping this Test up at some stage in the last session.

  • disco_bob on December 28, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    England need to invent a new position between keeper and 1st slip.

  • on December 28, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    Once again Australian cricket proved the world that still cricket remain in them.....

  • on December 29, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    Mycro3a: not at all, I agree we may struggle against SA because they are better. It would just be better to play a more competitive English side first. But yout claim that Australia is only slightly better looks even more eccentric after yesterday. But thanks for playing.

  • on December 29, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    I spent time in a a small Qld town - population 4000 - until recently. The town had a cricket team called the Oakey Bears. After watching England's appalling Ashes defence I now firmly believe the Oakey Bears could have beaten them! Enough said.

  • on December 29, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    No committment, no intensity just medium pace dross from England and 2nd XI spin from the ever hopeless Panesar. It just seems as though no one is in the least bit interested in competing. It would be a different story were a committed attack being well handled by some classy batsmen such as in SA at the moment but Rogers and Watson are barely good enough to keep their places so expect both of them to be dropped in 2014. But to the point, who, after this, has reached the end of their Test match career. Obviously Flower, architect of the mediocre. But for the players, Panesar should never grace a test match arena again nor should Bresnan, Carberry or Trott (already gone). in need of a kick up the arse (sorry, a rest from the pressures of test cricket) would be Anderson and Broad. A new philosophy must prevail which develops a side where the players either have to score runs or take wickets and offer something special in their respective discipline. No longer can holding up an end do.

  • nlpdave on December 29, 2013, 1:02 GMT

    Cook's plan must be to keep the runs down for about 150 overs. Dross bowling, no imagination, even the distinctly average Rogers is having a second birthday. All this old rubbish about Lyon who has a first class average approaching 40. What a find?

  • Diaz54 on December 29, 2013, 0:40 GMT

    Fancy bowling root ahead of Panesar.....this sort of thing will not happen with other sides. Don't worry about left handlers etc...you have to bowl specialist bowlers first! Very little confidence showed in Panesar...he sshould not bother playing. No doubt he will be dropped in any case in the summer. So called all,rounders will be picked , with disastrous results.

  • heathrf1974 on December 29, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    England have definitely missed a chance to put more pressure on Australia with some sloppy batting. However, the Aussie batting has it's own problems. Should be a very interesting 4th day.

  • lillee4PM on December 29, 2013, 0:26 GMT

    Bairstow and Cook gave our openers plenty of chances to score big but Warner can't get out of T20 mode. We've got two days to score 200 runs and he has to try and hit a bouncer from Stokes...very poor cricket. Now the world's worst #3 is at the crease but we'll still win coz we've got Haddin!

  • on December 29, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    Another poor day. Australia got closer to England's first innings than they should have done, and a promising opening stand then wasted by another collapse. Hard to see Australia not wrapping this Test up at some stage in the last session.

  • disco_bob on December 28, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    England need to invent a new position between keeper and 1st slip.

  • on December 28, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    Once again Australian cricket proved the world that still cricket remain in them.....

  • disco_bob on December 28, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    That non catch from Bairstow was even worse than Prior's. Without a doubt that would have been the defining moment if there ever was going to be one where England took this match. As if to underline it Warner's ramps the next ball for a maximum. Terrible terrible play from Bairstow, who is doing his best to not make a difference.

  • mamboman on December 28, 2013, 23:26 GMT

    I'm finding it hard to imagine any further, or an original, indignity which could be heaped on England in the 6 days remaining in the series. Perhaps when it dawns on them they have been beaten by a distinctly mediocre and ageing Australian side. What a tale of woe this has been for England and Cook in particular.

  • Shaggy076 on December 28, 2013, 23:01 GMT

    shot274; Furthermore, In 6 innings prior to htis test Australia has comfortably achieved the 200 target, even in there worse innings this test they did. Not sure why you are not sure. Also, yes England have gifted some wickets in this innings however the majority of the wickets this series has been seriously earned. It has been earned by tight, pressure bowling thrown in with the very occasional ball to entice shots. Very similar to those wickets you are claiming have been hard earbed in the South African/India series. England have struggled all series but Australia has played a style and quality of cricket to suggest they will challenge the number 1 team in the world.

  • pat_one_back on December 28, 2013, 23:01 GMT

    @shot274 you don't know what you're on about, news update; Steyn skittled the technically superb Indians after which the technically superb SA squandered starts and dropped into Eng like defence thanks in part to the technically superb Amla failing to offer a shot! Is this the embarrassed into exile FFL? Sad how some Eng fans have to beat their team down and down in a pathetic struggle to diminish Aust's brilliant cricket. God help Eng had the Aust top order performed consistently! These are good attacks and they're ability to sort out batsmen using extensive intelligence gathered over a back to back series is not to be discounted either.

  • Shaggy076 on December 28, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    Shot274; Australia first innings average in this series is just over 350, the "technically superb" India is averaging 305 in South Africa. Australia second innings average is 5 for 300. In the end it is all about results, Australias batting is not there best string however, it is very competetive with the so called "technical superb" nations. And results indicate that the AUstralian batting is better than India. Perception/Bias is a wonderful illusion to have and you are blessed with this trait. Furthermore, you have mentioned gifted wickets, I havent seen all the wickets in the current series but have seen Dhawan get out twice, Sharma twice, Amla twice - I would say they were all gifted. The south African second innings in the last test were all gifted wickets.

  • Beertjie on December 28, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    I'm going to watch the first and third tests in SA. @Micky.Panda on (December 28, 2013, 9:22 GMT) The wickets for the second and third tests are spin-friendly, so I'm not convinced that Australia will "get a rude shock in SA with same batting line-up against a superior attack." Which team has the superior spinner? Peterson is hardly proving threatening and even on his home patch will not trouble the Oz batsmen. On the other hand Lyon has improved considerably over the past year. I expect Bailey to be replaced by Hughes who got some decent scores on the last tour, not to speak of the 2009 one. Sure the quicks will be tough to face, but how will the Saffa bats go against Mitch? I'm not predicting an Oz victory, but considering the record there over the past 20 years "a rude shock"? Not bloody likely!

  • on December 28, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    @ Land47 .... I agree and have been saying it for some time .... Lyon is the World's Best No.11. He has had a long history of stubborn 10th Wicket Partnerships. His overall figures would have been even better if Wade wasn't retained as keeper and, for this series two catches weren't dropped at 1st Slip. I hope that his bowling continues to improve as it has over the past 12-months.

  • on December 28, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    Neil99 aka FFL still at it? What ever happened to Jimmy Anderson and Graeme Swann licking their lips??? lol

    Apart from the MJ and Brad Haddin factors throw in Davey Warner too, Clarke and Boof has out-strategised Cook and Flower in every aspect. Australia stuck? Lunch would come along, they'd have a rethink, take a different approach and voila!!! England lose 5 wickets for nothing..it's happend 3-4 times so far.

    Our bowling UNIT has been sublime but out batting is still frail at the best of times with Hadds having to pull off rescue missions with the tail in 3-4 instances thus far.

    Still 3-0, going to 4-0 and loving it!

  • JG2704 on December 28, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    @Hira1 - By and large I prefer Cook out of all the senior bnatsmen on this tour as I feel he is the person who has self destructed the least at the crease.And on this series I'd even say the bowlers could have done with a little rotation/refreshing. Yer man himself has said about there being too much cricket. Also re KP - and I know you love the guy so I don't want to upset you - I feel he has lost/is losing his X factor. A big part of his game is his array of shots. Now I know he got criticism for some of the switch hit/reverse shots stuff he does when he choses the wrong balls to play those shots to but he seems to have discarded those shots altogether. Also I liked the way he used to advance down the track to bowlers.These days he often seems to get bogged down and play some expansive shots just to release the pressure. It must be so much harder to bowl to a guy who is not afraid to come down the pitch and has an array of unconventional shots and is not afraid to use them

  • Shaggy076 on December 28, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    Shot274; I have seen the dismissals of Dhawan, Sharma, Amla to name a few. There is no great superior batting being displayed in the other series. What we have seen here is a brilliant bowling performance from Australia. Also note Australia in this series have topped India's mediocre 330 in 3 of the 4 innings. And in the end its about results so your comment on the mediocre batting is extremely poor.

  • JG2704 on December 28, 2013, 21:31 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (December 28, 2013, 9:59 GMT) Are you serious? - Maybe I should have worded it different - like "a day where England came out on top" but I'm pretty sure you or anyone knew exactly what I meant.

    Please publish this time - nothing of offence whatsoever despite the original post

  • Mervo on December 28, 2013, 21:25 GMT

    Don't get too despondent. The soft drop-in wicket will have its way in the end. England should win here. No test team has scored more than 200 here in a fourth innings for many many years. Let's hope the SCG has a decent wicket that good batsmen can score on. The MFG has not seen a century in this match from either side and is not likely to do so.

  • pat_one_back on December 28, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    @cccrider you've chosen to completely miss the point of Clarke's decision. He could barely believe his own words at the toss but Aust need broader experience winning matches, Clarke's had good run picking the coin toss, a run overdue to end. We don't want to arrive in SA on the back of a series won entirely batting first and lose confidence from the first coin toss going against us, think damn it!

  • Batmanian on December 28, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    England could still win this… but the unlikeliness of that reflects how cricket is a game of psychological momentum. I thought even without the Haddin/Lyon stand, England looked cooked - largely because of Clarke's inspired decision to mix things up by fielding. While Watson and Harris have finally started to show some wear, Australia has had a fresh feeling about them this Test, without any changes. The quirky call has been helpful, on balance. Australia looks totally on top, when on raw scores it could be interpreted as neck-and-neck.

  • PeerieTrow on December 28, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    JG2704: "Australia have played more than slightly better than Australia"; I bow to your inside knowledge on that one.

    Patrick Porter: "My only fear is that playing England's self-destructing batsmen is bad preparation for taking on the saffas." - do I sense that you're already compiling excuses for the forthcoming drubbing by South Africa? I'm sure you'll have time during the series to come up with something better.

  • Shaggy076 on December 28, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    Mycro3a; Can you please advise your definition of slightly? The aussies have won the first 3 tests by a ridiculously large margin. The best 7 players this series arre australian. England have been poor but that is due to an exceptional performance by Australia. Robbie Brighton; We hearr the same comment the last time we toured South Africa and the time before that and both those times South Africa had really good form before the start of the series this time there form is questionable.

  • shot274 on December 28, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    Either side could win-mainly because we are witnessing two very mediocre batting sides. In the SA V India series bowlers have to earn each wicket. Batsmen of both sides are technically superb. In this Ashes test most wickets have fallen to poor shots . To get the runs only 3 Aussie batsmen need to bat sensibly. Despite the scoreline in this series i wouldnt bet on it!

  • jimmyvida on December 28, 2013, 19:04 GMT

    #11 batsman for Australia swinging and missing, swinging and missing. Did he set a record for swinging and missing. Found it quite entertaining though. And then he took 5 wickets. England has 201 still on the board. Australia has to make it. What a time to miss Swann. Troubling for Australia, the third ball from the left arm spinner rose to an awkward height and it did not rise slowly. We'll see. Good match in the making.

  • shot274 on December 28, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    So many people talk about Gooch and Flower and tactics and plans. Anyone can have tactics and plans; at the end of the day the 11 out there have to be good enough. Viv Richards didnt have a batting coach(and if he did he wouldnt give a toss about him). Nor did the Windies during the 80s have a tactician sitting in the dressing room orchestrating their success. They were just good enough to get onto the green and pulverise the opposition. To much is made of cricket management. i dont think they matter. Whether Flower gets sacked or Gooch remains will make no difference. England need replacements for those who have served them well and have now exited. Nothing will improve by simply appointing new management.

  • on December 28, 2013, 18:46 GMT

    Mycro3A I disagree: you are right that Australia are not 'great', & our batting top order is fragile. But Australia have thrashed England three times with conspicuous ease. The difference has been much better than 'slightly better.' Do you really think captaincy isnt part of this? Niall: since 2005 Australia have lost the Ashes three times, England twice, including a 5-0 whitewash so thorough that their fans rarely mention it. So you both should recognise a convincing series defeat when you see one. My only fear is that playing England's self-destructing batsmen is bad preparation for taking on the saffas.

  • Basamba on December 28, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    Cook was poor with his captaincy this series. I mean yesterday he had 7 men on the boundery for haddin and he was picking up easy twos.And second Jimmy anderson was bowling short to nathan lyon and he was going for the upper cut and cook had no thirdman.

  • on December 28, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    638/30 = 21.27 per wicket, could be a very close run thing (not including australia's 0/30 start)

  • Hira1 on December 28, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    @JG2704 I dont think Flower will continue after this series and if you talk about dropping senior player performance wise than i believe Cook is the worst of all (not today but overall this series). further I dont favor dropping any player whether its Cook, Bell, Trott or KP reason being they are still top ranked players in the world and I am sure they will come out good in the next series and secondly there is no replacement available. Bairstrow, Root, Carberry no one has the class or the technique to match the likes of Cook, KP or even Bell not today nor even after 5 years.

  • JG2704 on December 28, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    @Mycro3A on (December 28, 2013, 16:33 GMT) Let's be honest Australia have played more than slightly better than Australia - whether it's seen as Eng being bad or Aus being good or a combo of both. Who knows what Australia will go on to do from here. Obviously their strength is more their bowling but they seem to have back up in that dept. I think alot depends on the fitness of Harris in SA. I notice he played no part in the Indian series which I feel is more than just coincidence and I reckon he'd be right up there with the 2 Saffas if he had not had so many injuries. Alot can happen in a short space of time. It could be a temp reincarnation or lead onto better things. SA are a top side but I wouldn't discount Aus even in SA. Series between the sides are nearly always close as was the last one - prior to India - where Aus were on top in 2 of the tests and had SA hanging on in the 2nd before SA won the 3rd

  • on December 28, 2013, 17:37 GMT

    England's batting performance against Pakistan last year was as bad as it could possibly get . . . . . . or so I thought. England's batting against Australia in the first Test was surely the low point . . . . silly silly optimistic me. Perhaps someone could explain exactly what Graham Gooch does for the England team. The rumour is that he's the batting coach. The evidence suggests otherwise.

  • JG2704 on December 28, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    @Hira1 on (December 28, 2013, 14:49 GMT) The tactics come more from Flower and Cook - like Strauss - is meerly an on field supervisor. As a player Cook (today) did really well with the bat. His SR was good throughout and he showed intent throughout without becoming reckless. Other senior players have been far worse in that they get bogged down and the hit out to release the partly self imposed pressure build up. I wouldn't mind a complete overhaul at the top whereby underperforming players (no matter how big/experienced they are) get dropped if the team are suffering. I thought they were right to drop Prior but wrong not to drop/rest others with him

  • samincolumbia on December 28, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    England batsmen cannot play pace or spin...Before talking about england batsmen getting to 400 in an innings, they should first try getting to 200!

  • PeerieTrow on December 28, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    There is a great deal being made by some in this thread of Clarke's captaincy. It could be argued that Clarke's achievement in this series is greater than that of previous Australian captains, insofar as he has won the series leading a mediocre side whereas his predecessors won the series leading sides comprised of great players that as good as captained themselves. Let's be honest, Australia have won this series because England have played, for whatever reasons, very, very badly and Australia have played slightly better. I suggest that the elated Aussies should enjoy this illusion of greatness while it lasts.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 28, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Maybe it would have been better if the England team had been abducted by aliens rather than 'show' up at the MCG. Watching Broad and Anderson TRY to take the last wicket was excreble; it looked like they were just showing off.Ridiculous. Haddin even gave Lyon the strike like he was playing an advanced psychological game. He was. Cook reversed the slide for 51 runs and then got out. !00's have to be played for,Cookie. The next passage of play was hideous, comic and incompetent. Carberry stonewalled, Root did too. Why? because they cannot score and stay there. Root is treated like the new 'Messiah',the prince o English cricket. Why? Of course it is all potential. The reality is different. Clearly not ready to play at this level, he nevertheless gets picked the whole time. Bopara might do better. Bell disappeared in a trice and his golden age with it. Back to KP playing awkward cricket. The kids came and went, the tail need not have tried-hopeless hapless. But183 is top score here to win!

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 28, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    Haddin is in some serious form.

  • thejesusofcool on December 28, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    They haven't won it yet, but, once more, we've left them with a decent chance of doing so, when they should've been half-way to being batted out of this by the close.

    Disappointing-understatement of this & any other millennium!

  • Sanj747 on December 28, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    @neil99 the pitches here have provided plenty for both sides. Just that your team couldn't take that on. Clarke has outcaptained Cook and as usual the players and supporters are all having a big whinge. As for Aus vs SAF, the last time SAF beat Aus at home was in 1969-70. Aus is the only team not to have lost a test series since SAF returned back to international cricket in the 90s. As for the Ashes, from 1989 to 2002/03 Aus have won 8 straight Ashes series. We did you 5 nil in 06/07. Not sure what point you are tying to make.

  • Hira1 on December 28, 2013, 14:49 GMT

    Cook negative tactics are not helping England team. His captaincy is one of the major reasons if not the sole reason for england failure. its better to change the captain before England loose every other senior player.

  • PutMarshyOn on December 28, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Aust haven't won this yet, 200 is no certainty for this lineup. Will they panic as they have in the recent past (Durham)? Eng panicked. Credit to KP for battling hard in both digs. Without him the game would be up.

  • Viswasam on December 28, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    Broken England...not sure why the skipper hasn't copped it yet? Alistair Cook leads a charmed life within the media circles - must be his clean cut image. Not sure if he is really a captain - as Border put it, to be a successful captain you have to be part-bastard. Forget about lack of captaincy on the field but with the team falling apart does not seem like he is able to hold his own and lift his team up off the field. It is easy to captain a team firing on all cylinders - ask Ponting. It's when you have personnel changes and the team is sputtering you need a captain.

  • PrasPunter on December 28, 2013, 14:25 GMT

    @Robbie, without Kalllis, I am pretty sure it is going to be a closely fought series - SA lost a batsman and a bowler on one shot. Are they going to play Robbie Peterson ? For sure , Aus will try to hit him out. With Amla not in the best of the form, and Super Mitch in the form of his life, it is going to be close, especially if Aus bats first.

  • on December 28, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    @cantbowlcantba the good news is SA doesn't have to wait long to change that stat. Unless Clarkie carries on dominating us I can't see us losing a match. 2-0 SA is where my money is at.

  • cricketsubh on December 28, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    for 5th test 1.warner.2.rogers.3.hughes.4.clarke.5.smith.6.cutting/fulkner.7.haddin.8.lyon.9.jhonson.10.siddil.11.bird.ii think watson ,berly need to be drop they canot play test cricket .i think north should travel to south africa for tests and also nic maddison

  • landl47 on December 28, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    I guess a first-innings lead of 51 and 0-65 in the second was too good to be true. England couldn't stand the prosperity and crashed like the Hindenberg zeppelin. The turning point was when Root was needlessly run out and then Bell scooped a catch to mid-off, Mitch (goldenwhatsits) Johnson being the agent of destruction in both dismissals, although as a fielder in this case.

    Just a word about Nathan Lyon. He's now made 53 runs in the series without being dismissed and looks the best #11 on the planet. Surely a promotion must be near? He's Aus's second-leading wicket taker, with 16 at under 27. That's an amazing performance for a finger-spinner in Australia, on wickets which haven't offered him that much help. He's also caught and fielded very well. Johnson's the player of the series, but Lyon is quietly putting together a series which takes him into the ranks of the top spinners to play for and in Australia. Great work.

  • Kaka13 on December 28, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    Top four Test team are playing and seeing 2 contrasting series, Ashes - England was expected to dominate - complete reversal - credit goes to Lehman and Australia returned to their known brand of cricket and England stunned by Australia aggressive approach and never recovered. Now they are mentally broken and it will be a challenge for them to stop whitewash. India - SA - Sadly mini series, India is doing better than expected after one day debacle. SA let off a golden chance to make a world record chase. This shows lack of confidence of SA and resurgent Australia will definitely notice it and exploit it in coming up series. SA will be short of confidence after Kallis exit. Need to see who will fill big shoes of Kallis and how SA balance its team.

  • geoffboyc on December 28, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    Obviously Bell didn't mean to lift a catch to mid off, but Test cricket batting is about reading a match situation and sensible shot selection. With two wickets just having fallen, to play any attacking shot before he got the feel of the pitch was downright incompetent for an experienced player; a view shared by a number of experienced Test cricketers afterwards; also both English and Australian commentators described the ball that Bresnan flailed at as a rank long hop.

  • on December 28, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    Although Australia haven't got the runs yet, and on recent batting efforts a collapse would not surprise, they are still only playing on a fourth day wicket. Let Watson rest a bit and elevate Bailey.

  • AB34 on December 28, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    What? "Middle ranked team", if Australia win this test, they will be rank 3 and England 5.....?

  • BradmanBestEver on December 28, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Yes PrasPunter it will be interesting against the best batsman of the past 20 years - J.Kallis

  • PrasPunter on December 28, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    The next couple of ones are going to be interesting - Aus Vs SA and ind vs Eng .

    1. Can SA cope up without the Giant-sized colassus named Kallis ? 2. Can Aus bowling attack prove their mettle outside Aus ? Can Aus batting survive the SA pace battery ? 3. Is Eng really this bad or that Aus were just exceptional this time ? 4. Is india's performance in SA an one-shot wonder or are they capable of more ?

    Aus needs good batsmen and india good bowlers. SA has both. And how about Eng ?

  • on December 28, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Give credit where it's due. oz managed to get themselves into a winning position which shows great character. I think lyon stepped up well. I still don't think it's a walk in the park for oz though. think about it....

  • BradmanBestEver on December 28, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    England have batted badly because AUSTRALIA HAS BOWLED AND FIELDED SO WELL.

    In short, Australia has played better than England. No excuses. This series has shown how far Australia has advanced in recent times and how far England has fallen over the same period.

    Very dark days ahead for the lads from England.

    Still, this pasting by Australia might wake up a few of them up to start playing with some heart and soul - instead of just going through the motions to justify their pay checks.

  • cccrider on December 28, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    Seniormoment, you assume a lot. I don't resile a jot from my earlier post. Why should I? Your man Clarkey gave away an advantage. I've heard at least 4 former Australian captains say that. Its clear. Broad got extra rest. Our bowlers got one day less rest. We've been chasing the game since. Did you notice Watson injured and Harris hobbling? It was only a herculean effort by Johnson that got us back in the game. And talking of premature - Australia hasn't won yet. Australia would be a much better position had they batted the first day.

  • Haz95 on December 28, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    @ electric_lo whatever...Lyon has a lot to do to even have the name 'best spinner in the world'. He hasn't passed the class of Rangana Herath so nope and what's more is that our Dismal batting is making all of your bowlers look unbeatable(which people like harris are but u kno..). The next text it will be harris and siddles day since our batsmen would like to flop against them. Lyon has a lot to prove still and he can't be called world class yet. Ajmal is the best in the world with Herath closely trailing...Although Lyon>Ashwin maybe....

  • whofriggincares on December 28, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    @geoffboyc, Lyon was magnificent today. I was at the ground and thought he bowled too flat and quick (around 90 kph) in his first spell. I quickly realized that this was what was expected of him at that point in time to help build pressure which eventually led to England hanging themselves (again) . Do you think Bell meant to hit a practice catch? The truth is he was tricked, deceived and bamboozled into hitting the first flighted delivery straight to a fielder. Absolutely beautiful. Lyons spell later using the wind brilliantly on a pitch that was offering him very little was something to behold and he got a RICHLY DESERVED five fer and no amount of bitterness from a shattered England fan blinded by the disappointment of being thrashed this series will change that. Your comment shows you know nothing about the best game on earth test cricket. @Disco Bob ,yep Neil99 just another identity for old FFL who is ashamed to post under his much derided original moniker.

  • RVC-38 on December 28, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    In 12 months the Aussie batting lineup will get 230 on their ear, tomorrow a lot of batsman are playing for their futures, makes the chase a lot harder.

  • on December 28, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    "Aus is the only team that doesn't doctor wickets"

    I often wondered if the problem in the last tour of Aus was the wickets helped the English seam bowlers too much - this was a defensive move against Swann, as the Aussies didn't have a settled spinner at all (picking Doherty and Beer especially looked desperate) so they weren't going to produce an old fashioned Sydney turner. Anderson et al seemed to get a fair amount of movement last time we toured Oz.

    I don't think they doctored them in the extreme way some countries have in the past though.

    Dominant performances : Hogg, Alderman, Warne, Aus fast bowlers seem to have hunted in pairs often (and to some extent spinners)

  • lioneart on December 28, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    On the day of yet another incompetent batting display an email lands in my inbox inviting me to a ticket ballot for next summers Lords test against India. Do I really want to pay £200 plus to watch them?!

  • on December 28, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    England's batting is SHOCKING. It has been all series. For once Pietersen is the one player to have a go. Cooke has compiled a few moderate scores - but besides those 2 it's been dismal all series.

    A few years back England were confronted with Shaun Tait and Brett Lee - operating in the same game (with Warne the spinner) Tait and Lee both topping 94 consistently. And England won the test comfortably. Pietersen and Bell were there.

    Likewise England seemed to have no problem with Akhtar back in the day. Seeing Nick Knight nudge a 100.2mph low full toss to the covers - and Knight was not considered a good enough player for tests.

    Now anything above 88mph and this lot fill their trousers, exhibit weak techniques are exposed and frail. Their bottle goes faster than a crate of Gordon's Extra Dry in the Long room.

  • on December 28, 2013, 11:39 GMT

    @CSpiers, obviously they are not as bad as they look. They are better players than this, though I agree they are mentally shot. Lyon didn't "decieve" Bell or Broad, he just bowled steadily without turn. Pieterson was fairly obvious !

    Johnson is at heart a fairly open chested 'pause and heave' bowler. (Graham Dilley and Jeff Thomson are the extreme versions of this). Any action built like that is prone to going wrong at any time - and when it does it goes badly wrong. Bowlers of that type tend to yoyo between awesome and wayward. Johnson has been touted as a wonder bowler before, but if the likes of Pattinson had been fit he may well not have been picked. He is likely to 'go back' to the wayward Johnson at any time, though not against the England team, he could probably get wickets bowling offies at the moment. Johnson is not mentally strong either IMO.

    I did watch most of the game, and the wickets fell not to good bowling, though the bowling was steady, but to appalling batting.

  • on December 28, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    Gotta say congrats to Nathan Lyon,slow starter but is maturing well and is turning the ball + flight + drift + batted well for an eleven

  • Cantbowlcantbat on December 28, 2013, 11:35 GMT

    Big call Robbie Brighton when you consider Oz has not lost to SA in SA since 1970. This current SA side rate themselves highly, but we'll get a clearer picture in a few weeks time.

  • hhillbumper on December 28, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    Got to give credit to this England team.Each time I think they can't possibly bat worse they surprise me with a poorer display than the last one.I apologise to the Aus fans getting the worng impression of their strength but frankly there is no doubt that this team have imploded. It is time to ask some serious questions of what has gone wrong and the team ethic that has taken place.A tour like this either heralds a new dawn of achievement or leaves scars for a good few years but this team have made Aus bowling look like the greatest ever. They have also made the Aus batting look good which just shows how poor they have played.This is the same Aus team that folded so quickly this year and the only thing missing from this tour is a homework incident. It is time for Flower and Gooch to go. Fresh ideas needed and England need some confidence because this is still the same team that won the Ashes this summer.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on December 28, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    Lyon is by far the best spinner in the world - after the magician Ajmal - and can claim a proud 2nd place after today. Also being 1 of the youngest blokes going around the int. level expect him to claim well in excess to 400 - maybe 500 - wkts in his career . He will also get a lot of chance to pick up wkts in favorable conds. when Aus tours in sub cont. Suffice to say the next great spinner after Warne/Murali era has arrived in the form of lion hearted Lyon. And 1 of Aus cricket's most imp. puzzles in the post legends/Warne era ' who after Warne ?' is answered. Here is the new 'Warne' ! It's N Lyon !!

  • DylanBrah on December 28, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson is an absolute champion. Has there ever been a more dominant performance by a bowler in an Ashes series in the history of the game?

  • on December 28, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    @rowayton I'm guessing James Anderson :)

  • geoffw on December 28, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    enjoyed the shellacking of neil99.

    btw, buddy - countless = 3.

    If you can count to 8 - yep - that's e-i-g-h-t in a row then go ahead :)

    love it.

  • on December 28, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    Pommy80 Having been at durham on day 4 earlier this year(a great days cricket and kind of like Melbourne in spring, every type of weather on display) you can't really compare the types and sizes of grounds as they are different countries . A baying crowd is effective no matter the size of ground and if said ground is at capacity, as it was then, it doesn't matter how many are in the crowd there. I would though also point out the MCG was created for cricket, hence it's name,so therefore you appear guilty of the same type of comment you have accused Eight8 of.

  • seniorgators on December 28, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    @cccrider Don't you hate it when you make a premature post and you get it horribly, horribly wrong. Can't retract it, can't rewrite it. Nice one ccc. Do something funky!

  • Eight8 on December 28, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    @pommy80: was a comment on the various Pommy posts talking about how Aussies don't attend test cricket (clutching at straws as they had nothing positive to post about their team's form). Well, guess what, they do in massive numbers!

  • Diaz54 on December 28, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    All those having a go at Peietersen, well want can you say. Where are the other batters!!!

  • jmcilhinney on December 28, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    I think that it's safe to say that England will rarely squander a better opportunity than that to win a Test match. I expect that the bowlers will be getting together in a hotel room tonight and the batsmen won't be invited. Where would that leave Ben Stokes, who did his part with the ball but was as culpable as anyone else with the bat? The England batsmen just look bereft of confidence so it's hard to see things going any differently in Sydney. They haven't lost this one yet but, as in previous games, there just aren't enough runs on the board for the bowlers to exert any pressure. If Stuart Broad can channel himself from Durham then maybe but it will be not far short of a miracle.

  • foozball on December 28, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    @pommy80, careful what you say about the venue for the First Test.

  • jimbond on December 28, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    Its still 200 runs to get, and it will need some doing. Remember Australia's batting in the first innings. And possibly on day 5, Panesar may come into play, possibly on day 4 itself (as there is no day 5 in this match).

  • PFEL on December 28, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    Oh so South Africa will obliterate Australia? Forgetting that a year ago Australia dominated 2 tests racking up 500+ twice in a row against Steyn, Morkel and Philander, only to be denied victory by weather and injury? I guess South Africa must have gotten 10x better since then and Australia 10x worse because otherwise I can't understand the logic

  • PrasPunter on December 28, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    can we make it 4-0 ? At lunch, had given up hope of a 5-0 , but this is great fightback from the Aussie boys !! Can we chase down 200 ? Will hold it back till it is done. Remember MCG 1998 ?

  • on December 28, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    Amazing the amount of passion shown for this mid table battle. 2 average batting sides on show here. With the English being rattled by Mitch. SA won't roll over to Johnson and would thump either of these sides home or away.

  • BradmanBestEver on December 28, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    @pommy80 FYI: MCG = Melbourne CRICKET Ground.

    And the MCG is the locale of the 4th test match currently underway. Got it matey?

  • C.Gull on December 28, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    @Dean Verlander, you are kidding yourself if you think Mitch has been the only difference between the sides. Take a look at the series bowling and batting tables. Australia has the most penetrative and economical bowlers (only Broad compares for wickets and Bresnan for economy) and the most prolific batsmen. Johnson has been a standout, but in practically every measurement in this thoroughly measured sport, Australia as a team is outperforming England by an appreciable margin.

  • on December 28, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Pommy80, yours is the ridiculous remark. Grounds made for Aussie rules? I suppose the likes of Adelaide, the MCG, SCG and the WACA pale against headingly and old Trafford eh? Absolute rubbish. Australian crowds are routinely better than what English grounds muster and have higher capacities for a reason, because they can accommodate the demand.

    Anyway, will not be easy for the Aussies but if they can get to lunch only one or two wickets down, they should be ok

  • noisypants on December 28, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    The Aussies have played well and taken every advantage offered by England. England have played badly, but are definitely capable of better.

  • PrasPunter on December 28, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    @neil99, doctored ones ? I am sure you aren't joking are you ? Of all and I can say this with lot of Aussie pride, Aus is the only team that doesn't doctor wickets. Each wicket has a character and it has behaved as such all along. When was the last time you didn't see a flat batting track in Adelaide or a low-bouncing road in Brisbane ? Remember the 700+ ind scored in Sydney few years ago ? It was Steve Waugh's farewell Test and we had all the reasons to get a wicket to produce a favorable result, but we didn't.

  • Narkovian on December 28, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    ENGLAND could, I repeat could, win this game. Aussies are just as liable to collapse as ENG. It could be an exciting day tomorrow. But that doesn't cover up yet another diabolical batting display by England. Terrible.

  • BhaskarHajong on December 28, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    Good for England they can now lose 0-5

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on December 28, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    @JG2704, hang on a moment, you told people not to get carried away about England after 'one day of dominance'? Did you not watch yesterday's play? They had one good session, that's all. It was business as usual today. You hang out to dry your own team you (as chief cheerleader) rated so highly before the Gabba as an excuse to why Australia is winning? @neil99, doctored pitches? Really? We set England 500+ to win 3 times n a row, the pitches looked alright to me.

  • disco_bob on December 28, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    @neil99 on (December 28, 2013, 7:32 GMT) "...The same Australian team who've lost countless Ashes series since 2005?..." You are FFL and I claim my five quid.

  • Rufus_Fuddleduck on December 28, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    @Neil99 - good teams play well in all conditions, while great teams take the conditions out of the equation. So much for that. Reading some earlier gloomy comments - cccrider for instance - and hoping that he would also be laughing at himself. Not that it's over till the winning hit, but it would take something now to derail the Aussie express train.

  • dunger.bob on December 28, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    @ pommy80: Your boy's were coming at Lyon because they couldn't buy a run off the quicks. Lyon knew that. He also knew England had a lead and if he started to leak runs it would probably lose the match for his team. .. There's a bit of pressure there and if Lyon was as bad as some English think then he would have gone for 4 an over, taken no wickets and England would be safe as houses tonight. Probably still batting actually. .. The fact that he turned it around and used Englands aggression against them is a skill in itself. .. He got all his wickets with flight by the way. It's a traditional off break bowlers weapon and he used the breeze brilliantly.

  • Rufus_Fuddleduck on December 28, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    @humdrum, you may be off the mark, though your query is interesting. As of now, England don't look like getting the Shield for ducks. They're on the upswing - 4 apiece in the first two Tests, 1 in the third and 3 now at the MCG. That makes it 12 ducks for England with one Test remaining. Now where does that put them in the pantheon?

  • Vishnu27 on December 28, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    So who turned up, pommy80? Their avatar's? Incredible statement. Quite a few English fans clearly in deep deep denial... More pain ahead

  • Brett_in_China on December 28, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    I'm back down the bottom!!! gee, sounds familiar, over the years. I did see Underwood destroy Australia - or maybe it was Snow. But it was a LONG time ago!! And guess what? The stupidity of supporters hasn't changed much, even if the immediacy of their comments have. Clarke is a canny captain. Mitch is an explosive bowler. Harris is a long term destroyer. Siddle is an dambuster. Lyon is a self effacing cancer. OK - talk about the batsmen - not batters - but fuck off if you think you understand what makes a good attack.

  • ThirteenthMan on December 28, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    England need wickets in the 4th after the spinner took 5 in the 3rd. For Swann's sake, let us hope Monty can do it.

  • BradmanBestEver on December 28, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    @neil99 - an interesting quote of yours: "Australia will be obliterated by SA"

    I am guessing you won't be betting on the English beating SA...given what we have seen over the past few weeks

  • pommy80 on December 28, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    @Eight8 "Oh, and the MCG crowd for days 1-3: 230,000+ Probably more than all 5 England tests crowd aggregate"... It helps having a 100,000+ capacity stadium. England has true cricket grounds, not arena's for Aussie rules. Stupid comment to make.

  • AidanFX on December 28, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson's complaint to KP was what the cricketing world wanted to see. The time wasting tactics of Eng through the series in the field and with the bat have been ridiculous. Not to mention, KP uses the pull out at the last moment as a strategy (and the tactic worked against him this time; played into Mitch's hands). Obviously all batsmen on occasions will pull out - but KP has done it several times in the series and often right as the ball is being bowled. If he should ever do it for genuine cause now.. well, it seems like the 'boy crying wolf.' I was quite content to see Warner do his own antics near the end of play; the Aussies owed a few.' Overall an epic day of cricket and a reminder how good the international long version of the game is - unlike any sport in the world.

  • geoffboyc on December 28, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    The cheapest five-fer I've ever seen in a Test match. Bell gives a practice catch to mid off first ball, Bresnan misses a long hop that many club cricketers would have hit for four and Broad edges a ball that would have missed another set of stumps. Lyon must surely have been almost embarrassed to hold that ball up. Add in a ridiculous run out and no wonder KP gets frustrated. This was the worst of a bad set of team batting performances made worse still by Carberry's complete inability even to score a few singles and rotate the strike early on. If he'd been even slightly positive then the farce that followed might not have been quite so disastrous.

  • Rowayton on December 28, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    Wonder which experienced English player will run away this time if they lose tomorrow.

  • Micky.Panda on December 28, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    If you compare the Australian top order with England top order, they are probably not as good, with exception of the Warner demolitions. Its actually the Australia last 5 from Haddin down that are winning these matches, through superior bowling and keeping (in Aus conditions). Broad alone has bowled really well consistently. Australia tail including Haddin is averaging 41 with the bat, with England just 10 (including keeper). Why can't England's bowlers get the Australia tail-enders out? Australia has several batsmen, not really good enough, and yet still can win. I think Australia can get a rude shock in SA with same batting line-up against a superior attack.

  • on December 28, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    over the last ten years or so these series have mostly gone to the home side Mitchell Johnson has been the only real difference this time around and in my mind at least this has been accentuated by the fact the pitches back here at home have been dry and slow this year ; the batsman haven't had the exposure to real pace bowling. ecb have a lot of things to sort out. let's give Australia the praise their performance deserves and look at our team for a change

  • Vishnu27 on December 28, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    neill99: Laughably ludicrous statement re "doctored home pitches". Have a look at the dross England has served up in recent times!!! Embarrassing! Certainly helped Swann & his wicket tally no end!

    Australian pitches have unique characteristics, to which they have all played accordingly.

    If SA can "obliterate" Australia, just imagine what they will do to England?? Far more likely, is that Australia will serve it right back at SA. We'll leaving the rolling over to you lot.

  • AidanFX on December 28, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    Can people tell me how the pitches are "doctored". Perth and Gabba were what they are traditionally; quick and pacy - Perth broke up because it is a real constant pitch. Melbourne did what you would expect - made a pitch which won't deteriorate because it is a drop in pitch (to accommodate AFL). It is a slowish pitch; nothing new there but the pitch isn't seeming or anything. It is not an advantage to either side. Reality is both sides batted badly.

  • Drew2 on December 28, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    @Neil99 - I'll use some hand picked logic as well. South Africa are struggling against the team that England beat at home who are now getting smashed by Australia. Hmmm....this proves that Australia should win easily in South Africa. We all know it doesn't work that way, but don't let your disappointment in Australia's success bring you down.

  • CSpiers on December 28, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    @Paul Robson, If you actually watched the day's play today (which by your 'analysis' it sounds like you didn't, or at least i hope you didn't...) you'd realise that yes, England ARE as bad as they appear. They are listless, tired and were ready to go home after the 2nd test. Australia fought hard in England - England are completely out of fight in Australia. Mentally and physically shot, teams (particularly England when you consider their history against Aus) don't just bounce back from thrashings like this tour.

    Lyon bowled with good flight and deceived both Bell, Broad and to some extent Peitersen.

    And finally, Johnson has clearly altered his technique and is now bowling more upright, and his run-up is completely different - I don't see him going back to the way he used to bowl anytime soon. Please educate yourself a little more on the facts before you make yourself appear foolish with such ill informed remarks.

  • on December 28, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    congrats nathan lyon australia at last found a good spinner

  • pommy80 on December 28, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    It's clear England just haven't turned up in Australia, otherwise it would be 3-0 to England. Good to see Lyon get some wickets, finally, although how many of his 5 can we say he made it happen? Be good to see some batting changes next match.

  • Rooboy on December 28, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    lol neil99 ... just the slightest hint of desperation about your comments. England have won 3 Ashes series since 2005, if that's 'countless', then it speaks more to your numerical abilities than any English dominance.

  • dunger.bob on December 28, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    I actually agree with @neil99 that we doctor our pitches. We doctor them heavily. We try and make each and every one exactly the same as it's been, more or less, for the last 100 years or so. .. Believe me, I'm a farmer and that would take some very slick doctoring indeed. It's all in the name of competitive cricket where the best players shine, not about giving us some advantage against the tourists. That's the difference.

  • Eight8 on December 28, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    @neil99: I'll also jump on board with the numerous others debunking your doctored pitches comment. Australia has always maintained the same characteristics of it's pitches for decades. All 6 test venues have distinct characteristics that have been as such my whole life at least. And one could even say that Adelaide and Melbourne probably even favour England's skill set. Exactly the same pitches as the ones England dominated Australia on last time they toured...only this time they have performed horribly compared to how good they were then.

    Doctored pitches are England changing from their traditional seam friendly pitches to super dry one's too exploit Australia's perceived weakness. Doctored pitches are India creating pitches that crumble around the edges to suit their spinners but treating the centre in such a way that it stayed even so Australia's seamers had nothing to work with.

    Check your history before posting ill-informed comments.

  • JG2704 on December 28, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    @neil99 on (December 28, 2013, 7:32 GMT) It proves that Australia have played much better than England in this series. Australia had a mare in India just like we are having a mare here. I don't like the Aus comments from the regular/one off cheerleaders (and we have them too) but give Australia credit - they've outplayed us in every dept and are playing a brand of cricket which is more pleasing to the eye too

  • Eight8 on December 28, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    @neil99: in case you haven't noticed, there has been a distinct difference in class between the 2 teams this series. The average in batting averages was over twice as much by the Aussies after 3 tests and is probably still more than 2-1 still. Australia, despite losing 3-0 were far from soundly beaten in England. They were pumped in the 2nd test granted but overall the batting averages were less than 1 run in them over the 5 tests and that with the Aussies throwing the bat in 2 rain affected 2nd innings. Most observers agree it was probably the least representative 3-0 in the history of the Ashes.

  • Webba84 on December 28, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    @neil99 Doctored my rear end. This is by far the most england like pitch in Australia. And Adelaid wasnt far off either.

  • JG2704 on December 28, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Well played Australia but poor stuff by England again. It's a repetitive theme that we're incapable of playing attacking cricket (batting) without becoming reckless.Some loose shots again and I reckon only the openers wickets were purely bowlers wickets.For once I can see why KP hits out when down with the lower order - Broad and Bres can both hold a bat but were out to poor/irresponsible shots. I'm also thinking now that while I praise Carberry for not giving his wicket away he's stagnating the run rate too much and is not technically good enough to keep it going for long enough to make an impact on the game before he gets found out.Also am I the only one seeing a lack of footwork from our batsmen? I said yesterday in a post (which unfortunately Cricinfo saw unfit to publish) that a couple of our posters started to get a little carried away after 1 day of dominance that it's a 4 innings match. Obviously we could turn it round again but I doubt it

  • on December 28, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    G'Day neil99, It's all swings and roundabouts. " The same Australian team who've lost 'countless' Ashes series since 2005? " Suck it up princess, mate, the answer was 3. Not forgetting the 8 consecutive Australia wins prior to 2005. Australia's playing better than England, and I'll enjoy the moment. They may take that into SA, but form is a fickle thing, ask any Englishman. Whether they dominate or get beaten in SA is almost irrelevant, it's about enjoying the beautiful game of test cricket. Celebrating the wins are a bonus. For the record, I think it's going to be hard for Australia to make 230 in the second innings, given the new-found form of the English bowlers :D

  • Eight8 on December 28, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    Lyon is definitely more affective when batsmen are coming at him. Most of his 4-5 fors have been when batsmen are looking at scoring. He is still yet to take a bag when trying to bowl a team out in the 4th innings. Yet he is still a more than serviceable spinner and will probably become our greatest ever off-spinning wicket taker.

    Whatever happened to England's tail. Bresnan, Broad, Swann and Anderson used to be more than handy and played a big part in England's good era, but they have all slipped terribly. Would be interesting to see a stat comparison of both team's first 5 wicket average. Suggest it would be pretty close. Haddin and the Aussie tail have been all over England's last 5.

    Amazing day really. England in such a good position last night and even after the last wicket partnership, were in an all but unlosable position and 0 for 67...and then somehow lost 10-114!

    Oh, and the MCG crowd for days 1-3: 230,000+ Probably more than all 5 England tests crowd aggregate...

  • on December 28, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    @ neil99 doctored home pitches?? It is the only thing Australia doesn't do. These pitches have played the exact same every year for the last 30 at least! Adelaide was the only unknown purely because it was a drop in for the first time and lo and behold it played like the road that Adelaide is famous for!

    If you are English don't give up on this test yet. This wicket will produce a win for one team or the other, Aus will either get the runs or lose all their wickets, neither team has batted out much more than a day yet!

  • on December 28, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    @neil99 doctored pitches? Are you serious? The WACA is slower than ever but aside from that all the grounds have played the same way for ~30 years. Even the drop in at Adelaide was an Adelaide pitch. Clutching at straws.

  • on December 28, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    @Neil99: I see you are desperately hoping to get reactions to your comment. You can count the number of Ashes losses for Oz since 2005 on the fingers of one hand - hardly countless. And UK pitches were far more doctored than Aus ones have been. In Australia, four test matches, four very different pitches. England had dry dusty turners designed to assist with spin and reverse swing. Traditional England wickets were always good for conventional swing and seam bowling. Just ask Terry Alderman. I will agree that Australia still have a long way to go, and England could still very well win this game. Advantage Australia. And SAF will be just as vulnerable to hostile fast bowling as England has been. Aus batting remains the concern.

  • CrikiLeaks on December 28, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    Neil99 - soundly beaten? Pfft. Doctored pitches? Delusional and hypocritical. These results vindicate the accusation of ECB deciding Indian style pitches would be an advantage in the home ashes series and doctoring such.

  • magpie22 on December 28, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    Seriuosly Neil99, "doctored pitches"? Each Test pitch so far has been true to its reputation. Gabba and Perth quick, Adleaide slow and MCG a bit two-paced. Obviously, you failed to watch the previous Ashes series in England where the ptiches may as well have been imported from India (to exploit Australia's weakness aginst spin). SA may well win against Oz, but if their ptiches are true to form (usually quite quick) it will be a cracking contest.

  • mondotv on December 28, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    @neil99 Someone's living in the past? Doctored Aussie pitches? As opposed to India and England I suppose. In case you've never been to this country before the pitches at the test venues have played the way they've always played. And guess what Sydney will be good for seamers on the first morning and will spin a lot on days 4 and 5. I'm not sure the pitch got a single person out today. No doctoring required. Whereas the English pitches showed a distinct lack of pace and India - well they just aren't sporting wickets. No excuses though- good teams win on all surfaces. We can agree on one thing - this Aus team has a ways to go to match SA and India but at least they seem to have England's measure. The gulf in class looks reversed in this series. Putting this all down to "doctored" pitches is just sour grapes and does not hold up to any kind of factual examination.

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

    Going to repost this - just in case anyone missed it :) No superlatives, just very bloody good - Posted by Brett_in_China on (December 28, 2013, 6:11 GMT) Lyon, 5 for!!!!!! Yes!!!! He IS our test spin bowler. For anyone who says England HAD to go after him with the speedsters at the other end - he is TOO GOOD for them to be able to that! Fantastic effort - when it mattered!!!!!! And - even CricInfo commentators said strange decision for Clarke to continue with Lyon - good captaincy, good bowling. Great effort!!!!!!

  • bren19 on December 28, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    @neil99 it is so cute how you are clinging on to your excuses for losing. Speaking of doctored pitches - Swann seemed to perform a bit worse here than on the burners prepared for him in England. Hang on to those glory days old mate.

  • Biggus on December 28, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    I won't be breaking out the Champers quite yet, but it would appear we have a game on our hands. I'd be pretty depressed if I were an England supporter. Very tame stuff from them today.

  • on December 28, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    @ neill99 in case you forgot this Australian team drew SA in SA so you know since you like to mention past series. Times have changed Australia will own England for a while going forward. Get used to it !!

  • Shaggy076 on December 28, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    Neil99; It's also the same Aussie team that has never lost in South Africa since there return.Played there 2 years ago and did ok.

  • on December 28, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    YES BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD FOR ENGLAND. Flower and players have to change, it's not that Australia are unbeatable, just not getting competition, Ali, Robson, Taylor waiting in the wings, nothing to loose in Sydney

  • on December 28, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Think England today were a 'miracle'. Cook and Panesar were got out by Johnson. Carberry was unfortunate to be given out though the ball did just clip the stumps, most lbws of that sort are not given.

    The rest gave their wickets away. Lyon's 5-for is the luckiest one I've seen since Botham took 5/41 in 1987 bowling long hops. Root ran himself out, god alone knows what Bell was doing, Stokes looked good but threw it away, Bairstow got 2 or 3 hits then got himself out, Bresnan (see Bell), Broad (see Bell), and Peterson maybe was justified in having a slog given the tails recent performance.

    I wouldn't get too smug if I was Australian though. England aren't as bad as they appear, like Australia weren't as bad as they appeared in the summer. Johnson may be wonder boy now, but he's alternated between that and being unable to hit the cut strip most of his career, and I doubt that's going to change any time soon. Australia have been in trouble repeatedly and Haddin's dug them out of it

  • Brownly on December 28, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    @neil99

    Doctored home pitches? Aside from Adelaide's drop-in pitch (which played quite traditionally) these are the same pitches produced every year in Australia. Bounce and pace in Brisbane and Perth for the fast bowlers, hard and dry in Sydney and Adelaide for the batsmen and spinners, deceptively two-paced in Melbourne with a good contest between bat and ball. The one finger that should not be levelled in this Ashes series is the one that says the pitches are to blame. They have been fantastically sporting, and it's a shame that you don't agree.

  • IndianEagle on December 28, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    match still intrestingly poised may be oz have slight edge. As like eng, oz too winning in doctored pitches which suits them. dont forget, oz's top 5 failed 5 times in this ashes so Anybody's game.

  • dunger.bob on December 28, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    @ neil99: I count 3 Ashes series to England since 2005. .. You're right about us in India though. One of our very worst attempts at cracking that particular nut. I have a feeling that if England played India next series the Indian's would obliterate you. .. as for South Africa, they've got their hands full at the moment and will be lucky to hold India out. When we go there, I don't really expect to win. I'll just be happy to compete strongly.

  • on December 28, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    neil99 - does your cricket history only go back to 2005? England lost 2006/07 by a 5-0 margin. After that the English won 2009, 2010-11 and 2013 - three in a row. Prior to 2005 - Australia won 1989, 1990-91, 1993, 1994-95, 1997, 1998-99, 2001 and 2002-03. Count 'em - thats 8 in a row. I'll always remember Bill Lawry being told in the 90's by Tony Greig that the Poms had been bowled out in the West Indies for 46 (I think) and Lawry's priceless response was: "Well come on, it's only England". The truth is England have had a solid period from 2009-2013. nothing game changing or dynastic about that. So perhaps when you start talking about Australia only winning on doctored pitches you should check your history - Poms doctor more. EVERY pitch in the last Ashes series in England were specifically prepared for Graeme Swann and he proceeded to capture 26 wickets. Put him on the varied pitches in Australia and he averaged 80 and talk his bat, ball and nappies and went home. Unlike Lyon.

  • milepost on December 28, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    @neil99, nice try champ. You English cricket fans do love your historical references lol! We prefer the present, the one in which there is a class divide bigger than the Pacific Ocean and we are showing it every session.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge.. on December 28, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    @neil99, living in the past I see? Does that make this second whitewash in 5 series feel better? SA are getting belted by India at the moment, no concerns there. Australia don't doctor pitches and both teams bat on the same ones. May be you guys just can't bat or bowl on pitches you haven't doctored? You seem to make our pitches look like minefields, 8/7 today on another flat one. Oh boy.....

  • pat_one_back on December 28, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    I understand it's hard to watch at neill99 but Eng are sure looking thoroughly outclassed, yes winning in India was special but you neglect to mention how Eng went against SA, or how they just scaped past NZ, it's been a good few years but they weren't all happy days.

  • Wayne_Larkins_Barnet on December 28, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    @neil99, you're talking the distant past buddy. Why do you English do that when you are getting smashed in the present? SA can't beat India at the moment in home conditions that suit them? I don't think we will be too worried about that lol! Yeah we doctor pitches, they go from road-minefield-road-minefield. Clever isn't it lol! I seem to recall we won 5-0 6 years ago? So in 5 series since then we have lost 3 very close ones and dealt out 2 record breaking whitewashes lol! England lost 8 wickets today for 7 runs (again). We set the 500+ to win in 3 consecutive matches. You don't think there's a class difference? Would you like to buy some straws sir?

  • cccrider on December 28, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Dalboy, what passive aggressive nonsense you write about Johnson. It reminds me of the abuse handed out to Lleyton Hewitt. Fast bowling is tough work, and has always involved words and glares and hardness. Johnson has shredded the opposition in mind and body, and they get out to Lyon's tame spin rather than stand up to Johnson. Johnson should be heartily congratulated, not henpecked or tut-tutted. I really think you are following the wrong sport.

  • bren19 on December 28, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    Not over yet. I am an aussie supporter and want to see us clean them up, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Still 200 runs to get and runs have not been easy to come by in this match. Anderson is a champion bowler (not so much this series I will grant you) and it is times like this that champions stand up. We will see what he is made of tomorrow!!

  • swoodley on December 28, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    @neil99...which pitch (or pitches) has/have been doctored? The pitches have all been typical of the pitch at each venue for many years. Why don't you just give credit where it's due...Australia have consistently outplayed England throughout the series and deserve to be in the box seat.

  • dunger.bob on December 28, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    There's still a lot of cricket left in this match. We should make the 200 we need but I wouldn't be putting the house on it. The Poms aren't the only ones who've collapsed in this game to date.

    It's just so good to see Lyon get his 5'fer. It was blowing a gale today and he used it beautifully. Completely beat all of his wickets in flight I thought. Swann retires but a new offie from the old school takes his place on the cricket stage.

    Nice to see Jimmy really putting in and threatening to go past 135k's this arvo. Didn't quite make it though.

    A good solid start by the lads. Is it just me or is Rogers starting to look more at home. It's almost as if he's starting to think he actually belongs there. That can only be good for him.

  • disco_bob on December 28, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    I think it was Carberry's tortuous 12 in 81 balls that did England in. With Cook going at a run a ball Carberry kept the RR at 3, and made the batting look a bit terrifying for the other bowlers who duly obliged and played as if this was a pitch made of cobblestones and demons. Good to see a bit of spine from Australia after a bit of an ordinary batting display.

  • DylanBrah on December 28, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    @neil99 - and this is the same England team that beat Australia convincingly a few years back, no? The pitches haven't changed much since then. I'm sure if this 'great' England team managed to beat India in India on their doctored pitches, then surely they can beat Australia in Australia on our 'doctored pitches'? The truth is, Englands 'superstars' Cook, Anderson, Swann, Pietersen, Bell, Trott haven't been up to the challenge presented by the Aussies. Simple as that. Enough of your pommy excuses.

  • lillee4PM on December 28, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    Just when I was thinking that nobody could bat as poorly as Aus in the first innings, Eng come along and totally choke in their second. Wow, what a great "dead rubber" this is turning out to be. It looks like Mike Hussey was right to pass the team song custodianship to Nathan Lyon; well done spinner! I still think Pup made the wrong decision at the toss but Eng are so beat up he'll probably get away with it. Odds have now swung massively back our way; can't wait for the 4th day!

  • dalboy12 on December 28, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    Great to see Lyons get some wickets --- and he did without abusing the other team, he just bowled well. Maybe some of his team-mates could learn from that. Johnson's behaviour in this series has been as bad as his bowling has been good.

  • Wayne_Larkins_Barnet on December 28, 2013, 7:40 GMT

    We will have 4-0 wrapped up by tea tomorrow on the way to the second whitewashing of England in 6 years. That is quite the standout on some of these guys CV's, something for the mantle piece. @humdrum, the total ducks would be an interesting stat for sure. We know tons are currently 7-1, likely 8-1 tomorrow. Mitch has 31 wickets, enough to personally account for 3 entire innings and the career ending stats is 3-0 as well. Lyon keeps chipping away with his magic 'zooter' ball (evocatively termed by @FFL). Boycott must be eating some humble pie today (not his favourite but he eats quite a lot of it) after arrogantly declaring yesterday that England would win unless a miracle occurred. No miracles required Geoffrey, normal Ashes service resumed in Brisbane.

  • Gowers_Great_Tiger_Moth_Flyby on December 28, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    @ Front foot lunged needs a hug

    The so called class difference the teams? The same England team that beat India in India when the same Australian team were smashed 4-0? ANd the same Australian team soundly beaten in England. The same Australian team who've lost countless Ashes series since 2005?

    All this proves is Australia can only win on doctored home pitches. Australia will be obliterated by SA.

  • AussiePhoenix on December 28, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    Really happy for Lyon, making MCG his den. Interesting his 100th wicket came in his 29th match, same number as the once mighty J Anderson. And Johnson, showing his all round factor in ths series, not just wickets - crucial catches and that run out.

  • on December 28, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    Does not require much to "Tear England apart". They do a good job on their own! Most of the key wickets were Christmas gifts to Australia.

  • Gabbagod on December 28, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    Three stand outs for me today. Lyon's 5fa, England's obvious disinterest and Broad caught at first slip actually walked !

  • Shaggy076 on December 28, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    Nathan Lyon who was ridiculed by every English commenter coming into the series now has 18/433 (average 27) which is outstanding in Australian conditions. To go with this he has now score 50+ runs and not been dismissed once. He has now shown he is a very important part of the team.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on December 28, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    I'm kind of out of things to say. Really, what else can be said about the class difference between the teams. I guess one thing is England tried to bat like Australia but after years under Flower they can't. I don't know how many times I have commented that Root failed (again) (again). 8/7 in two collapses. Where is @FFL, we await your thoughts.

  • Shaggy076 on December 28, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    Johnson 8/88 for the test match, to think Greatest Game was sledging him when he didnt have a wicket saying he had returned to being mediocre. He has kept a brilliant standard all series long, watch out South Africa.

  • on December 28, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    Someone has to support KP, he is being totally cornered with no options but to play an unnatural innings.

  • on December 28, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    5 wickets for 6 runs, wow, absolutely mind boggling.

  • humdrum on December 28, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    By the way,is anyone keeping track of the total ducks scored by England in this series and the existing world record for a 5 test series ? Have a sneaking feeling that the world record will soon be on England's mantelpiece until the likes of Zimbabwe or Bangladesh beat the record down the line,assuming they get to play a 5 test series.

  • Shaggy076 on December 28, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    Markofcaloundra; We will do it easy, Have made this total all summer.

  • Blakey on December 28, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    Another thought, did Clarke bowl first to put some extra 'pressure' on the Australian batting in order to change their thinking and try chasing a score? Many have made the comment that Australia has won the first 3 games in some way due to winning the toss and batting first. This (if the win eventuates) will show the toss to be of little importance and will give the Australian batsmen some confidence when chasing a score.

  • BradmanBestEver on December 28, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    No threat so far from the 2 English trundlers

  • BradmanBestEver on December 28, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    We have returned to normal service after a short aberration - England are losing to Australia and we can all go about our daily business knowing that normality has been restored

  • pat_one_back on December 28, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    Well the minor miracle has come with Nathan Lyon cleaning up some appalling shots a pretty flat 3rd day wicket, with Harris on one leg and Watto reduced to literally just rolling the arm over Johnson & Lyon have pulled off something quite special, it will be eye catching disappointment if the batsmen can't seal it from here. They'll need to bat well but not even great I wouldn't say, I mean Eng really imploded there's no obvious demons to and only one new ball to see off chasing 230, looks a 285+ ODI par score pitch from here...Great set up whatever happens from here.

  • sumit1982 on December 28, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    English batsmen giving more respect Nathan Lyon.None of the batsmen try to charge him.England on a verge of losing these MCG test,unless Anderson come up with a magic spel.l

  • aussie1993 on December 28, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    @worst england team of all time I cant c england winning this one unless australia give wickets themselves

  • Blakey on December 28, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    You have to feel for Brad Haddin. In any other series, his efforts would be a no-brainer for man of the series.... Then along came Mitch! Johnson's influence on this series has been nothing short of sensational. If he hasn't taken the wickets himself, he has caused the dismissals of the lower order because they are scared to face him. Well done to the other bowlers for their work in allowing Johnson to bowl as he bowls best-flat out at the batsman or at the stumps. And well done to Michael Clarke for his understanding of this.

  • humdrum on December 28, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    So its 8-88 for Johnson in this test taking his tally in this series to 30 in 4 tests,which really says it all.Good,old fashioned fast bowling and never mind the state of the wicket nor the temperature nor the,err...opposition(?) Its waltzing Matilda at the MCG and it would take a brave man to bet on the Ausies not getting there and 4-0 in the series with one to play, After restricting Australia in the 1st dig,it was back to normal cricket for England as their last 5 folded for 7 runs. For sheer collapses in this series and the consistency of the same,there ought to be a special award for the English team.Maybe Wisden could consider initiating it.

  • on December 28, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    get glen maxwell in foe bailey

  • on December 28, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    great piece of bowling by lyon and Johnson and now time for batsman to finish it off

  • xtrafalgarx on December 28, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    If there wasn't any doubt, today proves it. England are so mentally shot they just have forgotten how to win at the moment, their bowlers were good but ther batsman are out of confidence and wit.

  • Brett_in_China on December 28, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Lyon, 5 for!!!!!! Yes!!!! He IS our test spin bowler. For anyone who says England HAD to go after him with the speedsters at the other end - he is TOO GOOD for them to be able to that! Fantastic effort - when it mattered!!!!!! And - even CricInfo commentators said strange decision for Clarke to continue with Lyon - good captaincy, good bowling. Great effort!!!!!!

  • milepost on December 28, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    From the ball by ball coverage - "Another collapse of 3 for 1 by England. So that's 6 for 2 across two spells. Jeepers".

  • milepost on December 28, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    Well how unusual, an almost close game of cricket against England. As we said yesterday, don't get carried away after winning one session as it seems business as usual today with Australia in control again. I think the effect of Clarke sending in England is being overstated, we just had a poor first innings and dropped a few too many catches.

  • markofcaloundra on December 28, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    Sad to say england have enough already at 225 ahead..and 4 wkts still in hand... Aussie bating is now back to par...as in first innings.... hope the failures in first dig bat big... but....we are now back to playing our usual game based on actual ability ie this is not a good batting team.... too many borderline test players... hope im wrong but cant see us making more than 140 in second dig

  • lillee4PM on December 28, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Johnson, Johnson, Johnson, Oi, Oi, Oi! The Barmy Army have gone strangely quiet (again), I wonder why?

  • on December 28, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    After early jubilation after winning a single day of cricket normal service has been resumed. The thought that this current English rabble could win a cricket match is unthinkable. Most of their top 7 averages less than 40 with the bat (count them - Carberry, Root, Stokes and Bairstow) and they don't have a single player that averages less than 30 with the ball! It is no wonder that the Poms are nostalgic for 2010 since some very, very dark days lay ahead.

  • on December 28, 2013, 1:57 GMT

    England have a better chance at this test as its really hot out there and the pitch will dry up and Monty can spin it up for England.

  • pat_one_back on December 28, 2013, 1:52 GMT

    Cook's fields to Haddin this morning were plain ridiculous, 7 men on the fence for a No 7 yet to get himself set, meanwhile Andersen refuses to bowl at a No 11's off stump, between them they deserved to lose their entire lead not just half... Still Eng in the box seat after Clarke threw away advantage to challenge his team to bat last, courageous and thoughtful with better opposition around the corner in Feb, could have come off we're it not for missed day 1 catches, if Aust can pull Eng back from here it will be a minor miracle or two, especially with Harris & Watson both limping.

  • on December 28, 2013, 1:42 GMT

    I think England have a better chance at this test as the pitch would dry up be all bed of roses for spinners not so much for Australian batsmen. Given the fact that it is hot out there Monty can spin it up for England as the test heads to its 5th day. Michael carberry still struggles getting only 5 runs off 50 balls, this tells how much he as a batsman is on the backfoot ,if he is unable to convert this then he might disappear for at least 2 years for now , on the contrary A.Cook has understood and played on the aggressive side. I think K.petiersen would come in by tea and end the day with Cook

  • on December 28, 2013, 1:39 GMT

    Great to see England putting up a great fight this game

  • cccrider on December 28, 2013, 1:14 GMT

    Nice one, Clarkey. Do something funky, shake it up. Bowl first, punk. Throw the advantage away. Give Broad another day of rest. Give your bowlers one less day of rest. So now we have Watson injured, Harris hobbling and Siddle shagged. And 38 degrees and almost one hundred behind. Looking down the barrel. And then Sydney with English momentum.

  • on December 28, 2013, 1:13 GMT

    Cook is playing very good.Hopefully he will get bigger hundred.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on December 28, 2013, 1:13 GMT

    Cook is playing very good.Hopefully he will get bigger hundred.

  • cccrider on December 28, 2013, 1:14 GMT

    Nice one, Clarkey. Do something funky, shake it up. Bowl first, punk. Throw the advantage away. Give Broad another day of rest. Give your bowlers one less day of rest. So now we have Watson injured, Harris hobbling and Siddle shagged. And 38 degrees and almost one hundred behind. Looking down the barrel. And then Sydney with English momentum.

  • on December 28, 2013, 1:39 GMT

    Great to see England putting up a great fight this game

  • on December 28, 2013, 1:42 GMT

    I think England have a better chance at this test as the pitch would dry up be all bed of roses for spinners not so much for Australian batsmen. Given the fact that it is hot out there Monty can spin it up for England as the test heads to its 5th day. Michael carberry still struggles getting only 5 runs off 50 balls, this tells how much he as a batsman is on the backfoot ,if he is unable to convert this then he might disappear for at least 2 years for now , on the contrary A.Cook has understood and played on the aggressive side. I think K.petiersen would come in by tea and end the day with Cook

  • pat_one_back on December 28, 2013, 1:52 GMT

    Cook's fields to Haddin this morning were plain ridiculous, 7 men on the fence for a No 7 yet to get himself set, meanwhile Andersen refuses to bowl at a No 11's off stump, between them they deserved to lose their entire lead not just half... Still Eng in the box seat after Clarke threw away advantage to challenge his team to bat last, courageous and thoughtful with better opposition around the corner in Feb, could have come off we're it not for missed day 1 catches, if Aust can pull Eng back from here it will be a minor miracle or two, especially with Harris & Watson both limping.

  • on December 28, 2013, 1:57 GMT

    England have a better chance at this test as its really hot out there and the pitch will dry up and Monty can spin it up for England.

  • on December 28, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    After early jubilation after winning a single day of cricket normal service has been resumed. The thought that this current English rabble could win a cricket match is unthinkable. Most of their top 7 averages less than 40 with the bat (count them - Carberry, Root, Stokes and Bairstow) and they don't have a single player that averages less than 30 with the ball! It is no wonder that the Poms are nostalgic for 2010 since some very, very dark days lay ahead.

  • lillee4PM on December 28, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Johnson, Johnson, Johnson, Oi, Oi, Oi! The Barmy Army have gone strangely quiet (again), I wonder why?

  • markofcaloundra on December 28, 2013, 5:47 GMT

    Sad to say england have enough already at 225 ahead..and 4 wkts still in hand... Aussie bating is now back to par...as in first innings.... hope the failures in first dig bat big... but....we are now back to playing our usual game based on actual ability ie this is not a good batting team.... too many borderline test players... hope im wrong but cant see us making more than 140 in second dig

  • milepost on December 28, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    Well how unusual, an almost close game of cricket against England. As we said yesterday, don't get carried away after winning one session as it seems business as usual today with Australia in control again. I think the effect of Clarke sending in England is being overstated, we just had a poor first innings and dropped a few too many catches.