By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Australia paceman Peter Siddle captured the prized wicket of England captain Alastair Cook but the tourists survived with no further loss to be 71 for one at lunch on the opening day of the fourth test in Melbourne on Thursday.
Siddle had Cook caught behind for 27 to break a promising 48-run opening partnership with Michael Carberry after Australia captain Michael Clarke sprung a surprise by sending his unchanged team into the field on an overcast morning at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Carberry survived a nervous session to be 26 not out at the break, with number three batsman Joe Root on 11 in front of a building crowd of more than 84,000.
Clarke may regret sending England in to bat, with the drop-in wicket offering little for his seamers.
Cook cut Mitchell Johnson for a boundary in the paceman's first over and took a leading role early in the opening partnership as Carberry struggled to score and appeared very uncomfortable facing seamer Ryan Harris.
Harris was unlucky not to take the match's first wicket, when he had Carberry push forward to drive, only to nick the ball to the slips, but a diving Steven Smith put down a difficult chance with the batsman on two runs.
Australia were finally rewarded for a sustained period of pressure after the drinks break, when Cook, apparently flustered by a near run-out four balls earlier, was out nicking to Clarke in the slips from a ball he could have left well alone.
Root and Carberry rode their luck and a number of false shots, with the opener surviving an lbw appeal on review five minutes before lunch.
Carberry was struck on the pad by Harris after not offering a shot but umpire Aleem Dar waved the appeal away. Australia appealed the decision but the technology showed the ball travelling over the stumps and the decision stood.
England, who have already lost the five-test series 3-0 to surrender the coveted urn, dropped wicketkeeper vice captain Matt Prior, who paid the price for a poor campaign with the bat and behind the stumps.
Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow replaces Prior, with spinner Monty Panesar, as expected, coming in for Graeme Swann, who retired from England and first-class cricket during the week.
England paceman Stuart Broad retains his place despite a doubt over his fitness after he was struck on the foot when dismissed lbw by a searing yorker from Johnson in Perth. (Editing by John O'Brien; Editing by John O'Brien)