England are in charge of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne after their bowlers reduced Australia to 162-9 at the end of day two, leading by 91 runs.
The day didn't start well for England, resuming their first innings on 226-6, after Mitchell Johnson took three quick wickets, including Kevin Pietersen who perished playing an ugly shot while looking for quick runs, to bowl the tourists out for 255.
Australia's innings began amid a flurry of shots by David Warner, most of which he didn't connect with, and a brief innings came to an end when he top-edged off James Anderson, with Jonny Bairstow settling under the catch to claim his first victim as a Test wicketkeeper. Ben Stokes then found Shane Watson's inside edge, with Bairstow again taking the catch, as Australia went in at lunch 38-2.
Michael Clarke was dismissed by Anderson, after he shouldered arms to a ball that ducked in and took out his off stump. Chris Rogers remained steady, reaching his half-century just before the tea break, with Australian 96-3. It was slow going for Australia in the afternoon session, as England mirrored their tactics of tight, 'dry' bowling to extract wickets from a lifeless pitch.
Steve Smith was dismissed after Ian Bell took a sharp catch in the slips off Stuart Broad, then George Bailey went in controversial circumstances. The Tazmanian slashed at a rising delivery from Anderson, and despite vociferous appeals from behind the stumps, umpire Aleem Dar said not out. England reviewed, and although nothing showed up on HotSpot, 'Real Time Snicko' picked up a slight edge, and to Bailey's chagrin he was given out.
Tim Bresnan dismissed Johnson after he pulled to Anderson at mid-wicket, then Broad claimed two more wickets, getting Ryan Harris to shovel the ball to Joe Root at short-leg, before the final ball of the day saw Peter Siddle scoop a shot to Bresnan at cover.
Australia ended the day 162-9, trailing England by 91 runs, and for the first time in the series, the tourists are most definitely ahead in a Test match.
230-7 WICKET! Mitchell Johnson gets Tim Bresnan in his first over of the day with a brute of a rising ball which the Yorkshireman can only shovel into the air, and George Bailey takes a good catch at short-leg.
231-8 WICKET! Kevin Pietersen's innings comes to an end with an ugly swipe across the line, and he is bowled. Pietersen was trying for quick runs, but that was a terrible shot.
242-9 WICKET! A five-fer for Johnson, after pinning Broad leg before that is so plum, not even Broad reviews it.
255 all out WICKET! Monty Panesar shoulders arms and is bowled by Nathan Lyon, and that's England's innings over, rather sooner than they hoped.
19-1 WICKET! David Warner's short but strange innings ends as he top edges a shovel to the leg side, and it loops in the air for Jonny Bairstow to comfortably take the catch.
36-2 WICKET! Shane Watson plays a loose drive outside off stump and gets an inside edge through to Bairstow off Ben Stokes.
OUCH! Chris Rogers ducks into a Broad bouncer and it strikes him a hefty blow on the helmet. Part of said helmet is bent back, and cuts him just above the ear.
62-3 WICKET! Michael Clarke becomes the third player in this Test to shoulder arms to one that bowls him, this one an in-ducker from James Anderson that strikes the top of off stump.
110-4 WICKET! Steve Smith cuts to Ian Bell in the slips and he takes a terrific catch, and England's 'dry' bowling works.
112-5 WICKET! That dry bowling takes another as Rogers spoons a catch to Pietersen, who runs around from mid-off to pouch the catch.
122-6 WICKET! Controversial one, as George Bailey slashes at a short ball from Anderson, Bairstow takes the catch but umpire Aleem Dar says no. England refer, and despite no mark showing on HotSpot, Snicko detects a noise and it's out.
151-7 WICKET! Shortly after dropping Johnson at short cover off Bresnan, Anderson makes amends by taking a sharp chance off a pull at mid-wicket.
162-8 WICKET! Alastair Cook puts a short-leg in, and the very next ball Ryan Harris shovels a catch to Joe Root from a rising ball by Broad.
164-9 WICKET! Peter Siddle spoons a simple catch to Bresnan in the covers off Broad, and England end the day on a high.
TALKING POINT OF THE DAY
Finally, England convert a chance - When England reduced Australia to 122-6, a sense of deja vu lingered over the MCG. The hosts had been in a similar position in two of the previous three Tests, but runs from Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson scuppered them on both occasions. Not this time though, with some tight and disciplined bowling bearing fruit, and Alastair Cook's side are now in an excellent position to salvage some pride and win a Test, even though the Ashes are gone.
Brad Haddin's smoked six over mid-on was the 52nd of the series, the most in any Test series ever, beating the 2005 Ashes.
Haddin and Chris Rogers were the only two Australian batsmen to get over 20. Rogers made his 61 from 171 balls, Haddin took 43 from 49 balls.
With his 43, Haddin moved to second in the Australian run rankings with 368, above Michael Clarke. Only David Warner has more.
TWEETS OF THE DAY
- Sports & Recreation
- Kevin Pietersen
- James Anderson
- Mitchell Johnson
- David Warner
- Jonny Bairstow
- George Bailey
- Tim Bresnan
- Chris Rogers