Melbourne - England have strangled Australia's batting to seize control of the fourth
Ashes Test on a low-scoring second day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
The beleaguered tourists, with the Ashes already lost,
boosted their chances of averting a 5-0 series clean sweep with a rare
rewarding day in the field as they defended what had appeared to be a
below-par first innings total of 255.
But disciplined bowling and
fielding stifled Australia's scoring and with it the wickets tumbled to
put the home side under pressure on a slow-paced MCG pitch.
At the close, Australia were 164 for nine, trailing England by 91 runs with Brad Haddin on an unbeaten 43.
like that have been few and far between on this trip, and we're really
hungry to get something out of this tour and I think we showed that
today," England paceman James Anderson said.
"I thought we fielded
pretty well all day. We dived around a lot, we chased everything. I
thought Alastair Cook set really good fields, we bowled to those fields
and it was a really complete performance."
England were restricted
in their first innings by a hostile spell from Mitchell Johnson, but
the Australians also laboured for runs with veteran opener Chris Rogers
crawling to his third half-century of the series and wicketkeeper Haddin
again defying England.
Cook's tactics of drying up the runs
reaped rewards with the cheap dismissals of key batsmen David Warner
(9), Shane Watson (10), Michael Clarke (10), Steve Smith (19) and George
Led by Anderson's three for 50 and Stuart Broad
(3-30), England tied up the Australian batsmen and looked set for what
could prove a significant innings lead on a pitch which is expected to
play harder through the Test match.
In the 13 overs to lunch, after polishing off England's last four wickets, Australia lost Warner and Watson.
top-edged Anderson high into the air to give wicketkeeper Jonny
Bairstow a straight forward catch and Watson was snapped up behind off
Anderson surprised Clarke with a delivery that darted back in and collected the top of off-stump in his 10 off 34 balls.
bowling frustrated Smith trying to cut too close to his body and edged
Broad to Ian Bell in the slips for 19 off 77 balls.
Rogers followed soon slicing to Kevin Pietersen who took a fine running catch at mid-wicket.
The veteran opener had batted for 224 minutes and faced 171 balls for his 61, his third half-century of the series.
"England are on top. We have had our worst day of the series," Rogers said.
played very well. They bowled outstandingly and we're up against it.
There's a lot of game to go in the match so we have to fight well for
the rest of it."
Bailey, who clobbered Anderson for 28 runs off
one over in the third Perth Test, was out for a painstaking duck off 19
balls after a long-winded review for a catch behind off the same bowler.
was caught by Anderson off Bresnan for two, Harris fell to a catch at
short-leg off Broad for six and Siddle was out in the day's last over to
the same bowler.
England, resuming at 226 for six, only added 29
more runs to be all out with Johnson taking five for 63 in a withering
four-over spell of three for four.
Among the England wreckage was
the wicket of Pietersen, out bowled going for a wild slog for 71 after
adding just four runs to his overnight score.
Johnson now has taken 28 wickets at 14.96 for the series.
He had a double-wicket breakthrough in his opening over of the day, removing Bresnan (1) and Pietersen.
Bresnan received a brutish delivery first-up and he fended it away in an act of self-preservation to Bailey at short leg.
who passed Geoff Boycott as the fourth all-time England run-getter,
went for a lusty swing and Johnson knocked back his middle stump.
then trapped Broad leg before wicket for 11 and Panesar shouldered arms
to spinner Nathan Lyon and was bowled for two leaving Anderson 11 not