England on top in fourth Test

England took four wickets in the opening session of the fourth Ashes test to get on top of Australia before a big crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

By (AP)

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sun 26 Dec 2010, 8:59 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:25 AM

At lunch, Australia was 58-4 in a test it must at least draw to prevent England completing a successful Ashes defense. Chris Tremlett had two wickets, with one each to James Anderson and inclusion Tim Bresnan.

Michael Clarke was 12 not out at the interval, with Steven Smith yet to score.

England captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and made the correct decision to send Australia in on a grey morning in Melbourne, with the MCG pitch notoriously difficult to bat upon on the first morning of a test.

Both teams started nervously on a green wicket as the crowd filed in amid expectations of the biggest recorded crowd in test history of 91,000.

Australia opener Shane Watson was dropped twice by England in the first 13 balls. Watson did soon depart as Tremlett’s lifter spooned off a glove to Kevin Pietersen at gully.

Phil Hughes went out for the third time in the series to a full ball, lashing a loose drive of a Bresnan delivery straight to Pietersen. Bresnan was brought into the side to replace Steven Finn.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting, playing with a broken left little finger suffered in the second test, made 10 off 38 balls. He played two brilliant pull shots that stood out, but was undone by a superb Tremlett leg-cutter that squared up the skipper and an edge flew to the slips where it was well taken by Graeme Swann.

That reduced the hosts to 37-3 and brought to the crease Mike Hussey, who had batted Australia out of trouble in both the opening two tests.

However he could not do so this time. Anderson came on for a second spell and had Hussey caught behind by wicketkeeper Matt Prior for 8.

Only one more ball was bowled before a sudden rain shower arrived and prompted lunch to be called a few minutes early.

Australia named an unchanged side for this test, sticking with four paceman and releasing spinner Michael Beer for Sheffield Shield duty. The decision would have looked better had Australia won the toss and got first bowl on a two-paced green wicket, but instead it must bowl last without a spinner to exploit a dry pitch.

Finn was rested despite being the leading wicket-taker in the series with 14 wickets. He was expensive in Perth, while Bresnan is a better batsman and should strenghten an England batting line up which looked rather shallow at the WACA.

The record crowd was not reached by lunch, with many Melbourne Cricket Club members normally late to arrive on Boxing Day. Official attendance would be announced later Sunday.

More news from