Ashes

Aussies wrestle back control

2013-12-28 09:15
Nathan Lyon (Getty)

Melbourne - Australia moved within 201 runs of victory in the fourth Ashes Test with all 10 wickets in hand after routing England's second innings for 179 to wrest back the momentum on a roller-coaster fourth day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday.

Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon took 5-50 as England lost their last five wickets after tea for the addition of only six runs, their batsmen squandering the advantage their bowlers had fought hard for in the morning.

Chris Rogers was on 18 with fellow opener David Warner on 12 as Australia reached 30 for no loss at the close of a blustery day's play in front of a crowd of more than 63 000.

Though a fourth consecutive Test victory would seem Australia's for the taking, no team has ever chased down more than South Africa's 183 in 2008 since the first use of drop-in wickets at the MCG in 1996.

But England's demoralising batting performance and their failure to breach Australia's openers in the last hour suggest they face an uphill task to prevent the hosts from taking a 4-0 lead in the five-Test series.

England had bowled Australia out for 204 in the first hour of the day to take a slender 51-run lead, and pushed it out to 105 at lunch without loss.

From there, the wheels fell off spectacularly, with two separate collapses before and after tea seeing England lose a total of eight wickets for the addition of only seven runs.

England captain Alastair Cook managed his third half-century and became the youngest cricketer at 29 to reach 8 000 Test runs, but his wicket for 51 was duly followed by the loss of three more for one run in the session.

England still held a lead of 182 after tea with six wickets in hand, but Lyon combined with paceman Mitchell Johnson to mow through the tail.

Lyon struck to remove Ben Stokes to end a 44-run partnership with Kevin Pietersen, the spinner coaxing the all-rounder into a clumsy slog straight to Steven Smith at mid-on.

Jonny Bairstow, who replaced seasoned wicketkeeper Matt Prior, added a quick-fire 21 before being well caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin with a flat-footed drive off a wider delivery from Johnson, the bowler's 30th wicket of the series.

Lyon struck again the second ball after drinks to bowl Tim Bresnan for a duck, and three balls later had Stuart Broad out for zero caught by Australia captain Michael Clarke in the slips.

Pietersen was out for 49 slogging Lyon to long-off before Johnson wrapped up the innings by trapping Monty Panesar in front for another duck.

Johnson had earlier continued his fairytale series by swooping in at mid-off to throw the stumps and run out Joe Root for 15.

Two balls later, Ian Bell was out for a first-ball duck, inexplicably spooning an innocuous Lyon delivery straight to a disbelieving Johnson at mid-off, sparking thunderous roars at the stadium.

Earlier, Australia's final wicket partnership between Haddin and Lyon had yielded a valuable 40 runs before paceman James Anderson struck to remove the wicketkeeper for 65.

The 36-year-old Haddin became the first batsman at seventh or lower in the order to post four first innings half-centuries in a series, and also surpassed Englishman Alec Stewart's 378 runs on home soil in 1993 to become the highest-scoring wicketkeeper in an Ashes series.

Enjoying some of the best form of his career, Haddin cracked seven fours and a six before flailing at a short ball that soared high in the air, allowing fellow wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow to take a simple catch square of the wicket.

Lyon was 18 not out after slogging three boundaries and providing commendable support.

Anderson finished the pick of England's bowlers with 4-67, with fellow seamer Broad taking 3-45.

Australia hold an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series. The final match starts in Sydney on January 3.

Read more on:    ashes  |  nathan lyon  |  cricket
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Trescothick to help Trott

2014-04-20 09:18

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

Previous Results

Date Match Result
Vote

Should the Proteas have gone for the win after needing 16 runs from 19 balls with three wickets in hand against India?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.