Melbourne - Alastair Cook hit a long-awaited century and Stuart Broad
snapped up four wickets as England's much-maligned old guard finally enjoyed a
day to remember in the Ashes series on Wednesday.
At 3-0 down after three Tests, the Ashes urn is already lost
to Australia but Cook and Broad showed their careers are not over yet after
critics had questioned their place in the England team.
In scorching heat in Melbourne, England bowled out the
Australians for 327, with 113-Test paceman Broad capturing four wickets for 51
runs in his best bowling performance in more than a year.
Cook then ended a 10-innings stretch without a half-century,
the longest drought of his 151-Test career, to claim his 32nd Test ton.
At the close, England were 192 for two and trailing by 135
runs with Cook, playing in an English-record 34th consecutive Ashes Test,
unbeaten on 104 and skipper Joe Root providing support on 49 in a 112-run
Cook had a huge and symbolic let-off on 66 when rival
skipper Steve Smith put down a two-handed chance after a couple of grabs at the
ball in the slips off Mitchell Marsh.
But apart from the drop, it was more like the former
captain's signature batting after just 83 runs in his previous six innings of
The Australians claimed two wickets with Josh Hazlewood
trapping James Vince leg before wicket for 17 and Mark Stoneman out to a
blinding one-handed return catch by spinner Nathan Lyon for 15.
Australia, already without the injured Mitchell Starc, had
enforcer Pat Cummins on and off the field with a stomach complaint and down on
pace and trademark bounce.
England earlier ended Steve Smith's incredible three-year
unbeaten run in Melbourne as they bowled out the hosts for 327 just after
lunch, claiming the last seven wickets for 67 runs.
Debutant Tom Curran celebrated his first Test wicket as
Smith chopped a short, wide delivery on to his stumps on 76, early on the
Smith had not been dismissed in a Melbourne Test match since
Boxing Day 2014, and was on track for his third century of the series on a
bat-friendly MCG pitch.
In the last three Boxing Day Tests, Smith scored 192 against
India, 134 not out against the West Indies and an unbeaten 165 last year
With his dismissal, Smith has now scored 502 runs in the
Ashes series at a stunning average of 125.50.
It was an overdue slice of luck for Curran, who had David
Warner caught on 99 only to have the dismissal overturned for an overstepping
no-ball on Tuesday's opening day. Warner went on to score 103.
England got more return for bowling wide of the stumps when
Mitchell Marsh also dragged on a Chris Woakes delivery for nine after his 181
in the third Test in Perth.
His elder brother, Shaun, lost a leg before wicket review on
61 off 148 balls to Stuart Broad.
Tim Paine became the third batsman to chop on to his stumps
in the session for 24 off James Anderson, while Jackson Bird fell lbw to Broad
Cummins was snapped up at slip off Broad for four, before
Lyon was lbw to Anderson for a duck to end the Australian innings.