Ashes: Australia v England, fourth Test, day two, Melbourne

England reduce Australia to 164-9 on day of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne after being bowled out for 255.

26 December 2013 Last updated at 22:59

Get involved

To get involved contact us in any of the following ways

As it happened

  1. 0735: 

    And now the time comes for us to end another all-night vigil.

    Join us from 2300 GMT tonight to see if England can ram home their advantage.

    If they can, it will be 4-3 on aggregate. That's how the Ashes are won, right?


    England bowler James Anderson: "We didn't start as well as we wanted to - the aim was to get 300 on the ball and we didn't do that. But we knew it was a hard wicket to score on and if we were disciplined we could take wickets and we did. We just stuck to our plans - there are no demons in the pitch. We just tried to bang out our areas and be as boring as possible and wait for the breakthroughs.

    "The addition of Ben Stokes has been a godsend for the other seamers. Having a number six batter who can bowl as well as he does really helps us out by giving us that fourth seamer. He has the chance to be an outstanding bowler."

    James Anderson
    BBC Radio Test Match SpecialCATCH UP WITH BBC RADIO

    Want to relive all the overnight action you've missed? BBC Radio 5 live sports extra will replay the entire day's play from 1100 GMT, and will play highlights from the close of play until then. Also this morning, BBC Radio 5 live brings all the best analysis and reaction on Ashes Breakfast. You can hear both 5 live and 5 live sports extra on digital radio, online and via the BBC Sport app.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I think England have to set their stall out to bat all day tomorrow. It doesn't matter how slowly. They'll get the best part of 200 runs and with their lead they're in prime position to win this."

  5. 0725: 

    And so England will arrive tomorrow needing a final wicket for the chance to bat again.

    When their time comes, they will look to occupy as long as possible in order to bat Australia out of the match. How many will be too many?

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Don't bowl short at Haddin, I'd put long off and long on out but I wouldn't be spreading the field so he can get twos and three here and there. At some stage Mitchell Johnson could have one of his magic spells but we have got to believe we can win it."

  7. 0723: 

    Brad Haddin, the thorn in the side, arrived to counter, and he remains on 43 after successfully over-turning an lbw decision given to Monty Panesar.

    He looked to have an ally in Mitchell Johnson, but his dismissal was the first of three late strikes for England. Australia close on 164-9, England well on top.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "A wonderful day's cricket from England's point of view, we have been waiting for it all series I thought Australia got sucked in by their own talk to attack England. They've had hard firm true pitches and their instinct is to attack but here they have a drop in pitch that sucks the life out of the ball, almost like a tennis ball bounce, slow and spongy, and batsmen are wary about driving which takes away their run scoring ability.

  9. 0721: 

    David Warner recklessly came and went, Shane Watson gifted a catch behind.

    Michael Clarke was undone by the brilliance of James Anderson, before Steven Smith and the previously obdurate Chris Rogers surrendered. The wickets were shared between the seamers, who were rewarded for their accuracy.

  10. 0719: 

    But that was to discount a remarkable fightback from England's bowlers. So often in this series they have been targeted by Australia's batsmen, their plans rendered useless.

    Today, though, the dry tactics were successful. Pressure was applied, dots bowled, maidens accrued. Australia, so patient throughout the series, could not stand to wait.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Yesterday we saw a grafting innings from Kevin Pietersen and that may be very crucial. Warner never looked at the bowling he thinks we're rubbish and got his comeuppance. Four of them played awful shots, sloppy stupid batting giving their wickets away. You have to treat the opposition with respect and I don't think they have assessed this pitch properly. Barring miracles we will win this Test match."

  12. 0716: 

    226-6 overnight, England had hopes of pushing on to 300, hopes that mainly rested on the shoulders of Kevin Pietersen.

    But they evaporated inside two overs, Pietersen the second man of the morning to go to Mitchell Johnson, a horrible slog resulting in him being bowled.

    In the end, Johnson was the destroyer with 5-63, England were blown away for 255. It didn't look enough.


    BBC Sport brings you all the news and analysis from the first Test throughout the day. Cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew and chief sports writer Tom Fordyce are in Melbourne, while you can see everything you've missed at-a-glance with our Ashes catch-up.

    In addition, you can hear the Pint-Sized Ashes two-minute review, as well as the thoughts of Aggers and Boycott in the TMS podcast.

  14. 0714: 

    Just waking up? Wondering what on earth has happened? Allow me to recap.

  15. 0713: 

    Australia batsman Chris Rogers: "We probably got bogged down. Perhaps a few of use looked for a release and it didn't go our way.

    "I ended up borrowing Ryan Harris's helmet. I've got a big head so none of them really fitted. You don't want to get hit in the head then give it away with a loose shot.

    "If I'm getting starts then I'm doing a bit of a job for the side, but it would be nice to get a hundred.

    "We've had one bad day. It had to happen, so it's up to us to rebound"

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Barring some heroics from Haddin, England should have a substantial lead. They should be able to bat with hope and freedom and, for the first time since the first day in Brisbane, England are in pole position. Given the mood post-Perth and the retirement of Graeme Swann it's quite remarkable. Australia have contributed to their own downfall but England have buzzed and 255 suddenly looks quite a good score."

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    John McBride: Good comeback by England with the 10-match series finely poised at 3-3.

    Mark Higginson: Good tight bowling, our batting has lost us the Ashes.

    Rubyshakes: Shows how important batting first tends to be. If only Cook hadn't been such a useless (coin) tosser on this tour...

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "It's been an amazing day. Somehow the ball is not quite coming on and we've seen a lot of people caught in front of the wicket, just like Siddle there. It was 29-4 that England lost this morning and it felt like it was an under par score but we're having to re-think that. England are playing exactly how they would have planned to play for the whole series.

    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "Those are English cheers and we haven't heard many of those in this series."

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Anna Fulla: Still have the feeling England may get a 50 run lead, get bowled out easily, again, and let Australia win by chasing down 200-250.

    Rachel T: The difference between the first two innings may well be KP's score.

  21. 0703: 
    Aus 164-9

    England are cheered all the way to the pavilion by their travelling fans, there are smiles that we have not seen for some time. When we return in the morning, Alastair Cook's men will be one quick wicket from a healthy first-innings lead.

  22. 0659: 
    CLOSE OF PLAY- Aus 164-9

    And that wicket of Siddle is the last action of the second day. England at least want the chance for Broad to bowl the final four balls of his over, but Aleem Dar has removed the bails. It's only a minor disappointment for the tourists, though. They have roared back into this Test to reduce Australia to 164-9, a deficit of 91 runs.

  23. 0658: 
    WICKET- Siddle c Bresnan b Broad 0 (Aus 164-9)
    Stuart Broad and Jonny Bairstow celebrate

    Got him! Stuart Broad strikes in the final over of the day. It's Peter Siddle who goes, tamely patting to Tim Bresnan at short cover. What a fantastic fightback by the tourists.

    Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Warner 9), 2-36 (Watson 10), 3-62 (Clarke 10), 4-110 (Smith 19), 5-112 (Rogers 61), 6-122 (Bailey 0), 7-151 (Johnson 2), 8-162 (Harris 6), 9-164 (Siddle 0)

    Broad's figures: 16.3-5-30-3

    Full match scorecard

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Tim Marshall: England simply aren't in control of this Test match while Haddin is in! Stop saying they are.

    Keri Coates: The only innings of the series I've not watched and we find a backbone - for everyone's sake I'll stay in bed.

  25. 0657: 
    Aus 164-8

    Right then, Broad to Siddle. Short leg in. Three minutes on the clock. The last action of the day?

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "It makes a change to see an Australian batsman scuppered by a short ball to the body. Broad's had a good day, all the England seamers have suddenly had a good day. There's still Brad Haddin out there so England will be wary but it's an amazing fightback. They have bowled with great discipline and fielded much better than at any other time in the series. The elation when they do take a wicket shows there is hunger there."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  27. 0655: 
    Aus 164-8 (91 behind)

    Just like last night, every ball is an event in the heat of the Melbourne evening. Ben Stokes is cheered to the wicket for every delivery he bowls at new man Peter Siddle, who might be the best number 10 in the world. Haddin can't keep the strike for the next over, which might be the final one of the day.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "We haven't had very attacking fields but England have been able to execute the sort of plan they used three years ago; bowling tight and picking up wickets when they come along. They have been aided by a wicket that doesn't really help strokeplay."

  29. 0649: 
    WICKET- Harris c Root b Broad 6 (Aus 162-8)
    Tim Bresnan congratulates Stuart Broad

    Did I say the Aussie tailenders have nothing to fear? I know nothing. Stuart Broad has roughed up Ryan Harris then sent him on his way. One uncomfortable bumper was fended off, Broad's response being to post a short leg. The next ball was identical, and Harris could only fence it to the hands of Joe Root. England's day gets better.

    Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Warner 9), 2-36 (Watson 10), 3-62 (Clarke 10), 4-110 (Smith 19), 5-112 (Rogers 61), 6-122 (Bailey 0), 7-151 (Johnson 2), 8-162 (Harris 6).

    Broad's figures: 16-5-30-2

    Full match scorecard


    Today's crowd at the MCG is 78,346, making an aggregate of 169,438 for the opening two days.

  31. 0646: 
    Aus 161-7 (trail by 94)

    England are still content to give Haddin the single. He takes one from Bresnan then leans on his bat at the non-striker's end. Like Canute, he is attempting to hold back the tide. Unlike Canute, he is standing tall. The Barmies tell us with gusto who they are as Harris plods forward to Bresnan. That is the difference for the Aussie tailenders, there is no one of express pace for them to fear.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "The ball is getting stuck in the pitch, it's not going sideways very frequently, and a lot of people are giving chances at mid-wicket. There was that feeling when those wickets fell very quickly this morning, Johnson blitzing out the tail, and 255 didn't seem enough but we'll see."

  33. 0640: 
    Aus 159-7 (trail by 96)

    Indeed it is Broad, bounding in for a final half-hour's work in the day. The shadows creep a little further as Ryan Harris, a very capable number nine, defends with a straight bat. In the crowd, a huge section of England fans are on their feet. I bet there was a few disappointed Christmas travellers after the Ashes were lost, but they are seeing England fight. It's like the 1990s again.

    The Barmy Army trumpeter plays during day two
    BBC Radio Test Match SpecialCATCH UP WITH BBC RADIO

    Want to relive all the overnight action you've missed? BBC Radio 5 live sports extra will replay the entire day's play from 1100 GMT, and will play highlights from the close of play until then. Also this morning, BBC Radio 5 live brings all the best analysis and reaction on Ashes Breakfast. You can hear both 5 live and 5 live sports extra on digital radio, online and via the BBC Sport app.

  35. 0635: 
    Aus 157-7 (Haddin 39, Harris 4)

    I've only just noticed that Brad Haddin is using a Kookaburra Bubble bat. Has he had that all series? That is retro. I used to have one of those when I played in the under-13s. That takes me back. Still Bresnan, kicking his heels up to concede just a single. Stuart Broad is getting loose.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    John Pierce: As bad as England have been Australia have won batting first. Perhaps batting first here might have helped. Still not convinced by Australia.

    Jay: England putting themselves in such a good position can only mean one thing - a second innings collapse.

    P Mason: No celebrations until we get rid of these two. Given how repetitive this series has been, I expect a stand from them. Sorry!

  37. 0631: 
    Aus 157-7 (trail by 99)

    Just waking up? You have missed England's best day since the series opener. They were rolled over for 255 this morning, but have fought back to take control of this match. By bowling tightly, building pressure, they have stifled Australia in a manner that has eluded them for much of the series. Of the seven wickets to fall, six have come from poor shots from frustrated batsmen. England's problem at the moment is that Brad Haddin remains.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "They can't let Australia get to within 30 or 40 or that third innings will become huge pressure. They should get a really good lead of 70 which will put them right in the driving seat to win this Test match."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  39. 0628: 
    Aus 151-7 (11 overs left)

    The Barmy Army are as loud as they have been in the series as Ryan Harris arrives at the crease. What more damage can England do tonight?

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "That's probably the hardest of the three catches Anderson has had, he made it look so easy, it's amazing how the ball follows you. Big wicket, just when the partnership was starting to get annoying for England. This is where they are good. It's not a big total but at least they have them on the board."

  41. 0623: 
    WICKET- Johnson c Anderson b Bresnan 2 (Aus 151-7)
    Tim Bresnan receives the plaudits

    Gone this time! James Anderson redeems himself by holding on at short mid-wicket. Mitchell Johnson is the man to go, pulling Tim Bresnan straight to Anderson, who moves to his right and can cling on now he has wiped the butter from his fingers. Anderson points to Bresnan in relief, while the rest of the England team mob the bowler. What a position the tourists are in.

    Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Warner 9), 2-36 (Watson 10), 3-62 (Clarke 10), 4-110 (Smith 19), 5-112 (Rogers 61), 6-122 (Bailey 0), 7-151 (Johnson 2)

    Bresnan's figures: 15.2-6-21-2

    Full match scorecard

  42. 0623: 
    Aus 150-6 (105 behind)

    Well, England could have had both of these men back in the hutch. Johnson has been given a life by Anderson, while Haddin survived by pixel on the ball-tracker screen. How important will those moments be?

    Ed Smith, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "At the very least I thought that would have been umpire's call."

  44. 0619: 
    NOT OUT- Aus 149-6

    Can you believe this? Brad Haddin looked stone dead in real time, but the eruption at the MCG tells us that he has survived. On with Panesar's arm, it was missing leg stump by the tiniest of margins. The decision begins a discussion between Haddin and Stuart Broad. Good natured? I don't think so.

  45. 0619: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Aus 149-6

    No inside edge.

  46. 0618: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Aus 149-6

    Sliding down the leg side?

  47. 0617: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Aus 149-6
    Monty Panesar

    Brad Haddin is gone! Up goes Aleem Dar's finger! It looks plumb, but Haddin wants another look. You can't blame him. Has Monty done it?

  48. 0616: 
    Aus 149-6 (106 behind)

    England are retreating from Haddin, Alastair Cook taking time to set Tim Bresnan's field. Just one slip, a catcher on the drive, off-side ring, couple of men out on the leg side. Haddin's happy to take the single, England are pleased to give it to him. Johnson, for now, will not be bored out. 13 overs left on the day, but I doubt we'll get them all in.

    Text 81111

    Titus: Haddin needs to be had out - as long as he's at the crease, the likes of Johnson will hang on his coat-tails and prosper .

  50. 0612: 
    Aus 148-6 (107 behind)

    Another big moment here - the introduction of Monty Panesar. Just six overs today from Monty, and Brad Haddin immediately looks to get after him with a swipe. Nothing doing, then a single. Johnson, meanwhile, remains uncharacteristically circumspect.

  51. 0608: 
    JOHNSON DROPPED ON 2- Aus 147-6

    Oh no. James Anderson has dropped an absolute dolly. Mitchell Johnson has picked Anderson out at short cover, just a small movement to the right is required. The ball goes into both hands and then is on the turf. Bowler Tim Bresnan just walks back to his mark, Alastair Cook stares a hole through his fielder. Matches turn on moments like that.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Haddin is counter attacking, he's in such good form. It's hard when you get someone coming in late in the day and you've put such a lot to get a team in this position. Low order players who are loose, who hit a few out of the middle, then the bowler starts to bowl a bit short and it takes the initiative away."

  53. 0603: 
    Aus 147-6 (Haddin 33 from 29 balls)

    Brad Haddin had played in three Ashes defeats before this series and, at the start of this year, thought his career might be over. Now, he is a perennial Aussie saviour, embarking on what could be his biggest rescue job. He's taking the attack to Anderson - first a cut, then a lofted drive, followed by fine tickle - three boundaries in the over. Surely not again?

  54. 0600: 
    Eng 135-6 (Haddin 21, Johnson 2)

    Still Stokes, pulled for a single by Haddin. Johnson has begun with a modicum of patience and is cautious around off stump. Stuart Broad has been off the field for a couple of overs and sits on the England bench, ready to return. I suspect he'll be wound up for another spell before the close.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Johnny Fieldhouse: My eyes, they sting, but I can't fall asleep now! There's a storm outside and finally a storm brewing in the MCG come on England."

    George Moore: I don't understand the complaint from George Bailey. Clear noise as ball passes the bat with same oscillation as a big edge!

    Rubyshakes: England have bowled tightly. Don't change things because we're at the tail. A ball that gets a No.3 is good enough to get a No.8.

  56. 0556: 
    Aus 134-6 (18 overs left)

    As Anderson comes around the wicket to leftie Johnson, the shadow cast by the stand on the off-side boundary is just starting to creep further across the outfield. Anderson still looks for the reverse swing, but his primary objective is to keep Johnson honest on a straight line.

    Brad Haddin

    Haddin's six sets a new record, it was the 52nd of the series, beating the previous record of 51 in the 2005 Ashes. It was the 37th hit by Australia, equalling Pakistan's record for the most by one team in a series.

  58. 0552: 
    Aus 133-6 (122 behind)

    A Brad Haddin counter-attack is a bit like a right hand from Wladimir Klitschko. You know it's coming, but there's not much you can do about it. From the first ball of Stokes' over, Haddin is smashing over long on for a maximum, then clipping off his toes for three. Mitchell Johnson won't hang about either, so it these two stick around, England's lead will be significantly dented.

    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "These two changed the match in Brisbane, Haddin scored 94 and they put on 114."

  60. 0547: 
    Aus 122-6 (133 behind)

    Even in real time there was a big noise as the ball passed Bailey's bat. We had countless replays, slowed down to the nth degree. Bailey left shaking his head as the Barmy Army went ballistic. Mitchell Johnson is the new man. Remember how he and Haddin changed the course of the Brisbane Test? It seems a lifetime ago.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "They're in trouble, Australia, this is going to be one hell of a few days, they've got the English disease, they're on the run! It was a shocking shot, deserved to be out. Some of the old umpires we played with would have said: 'go on, you're out."

  62. 0543: 
    WICKET- Bailey c Bairstow b Anderson 0 (Aus 122-6)
    England celebrate dismissing George Bailey

    Gone! George Bailey doesn't like it, the booing Aussies inside the MCG don't like it, but the hosts have lost a sixth wicket. There was nothing on Hot Spot, but Bailey is condemned by the noise on Snicko, just as Joe Root was in Perth. What we can say with certainty is that it was another loose shot, a cut too close to his body. England were convinced and are jubilant at the decision. They are in control of this Test match.

    Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Warner 9), 2-36 (Watson 10), 3-62 (Clarke 10), 4-110 (Smith 19), 5-112 (Rogers 61), 6-122 (Bailey 0).

    Anderson's figures: 13.5-3-37-3

    Full match scorecard

  63. 0543: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Aus 122-5

    Still we wait.

  64. 0542: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Aus 122-5

    There will be a roar either way. Wait for it...

  65. 0541: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Aus 122-5

    No mark on HotSpot, but a noise on Snicko.

  66. 0540: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Aus 122-5

    Huge flash from Bailey off Anderson, a noise, but umpire Dar says no. England are convinced. I fancy it too.

    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "This is where England in this series have let Australia get away."

  68. 0537: 
    Aus 122-5 (133 behind)

    There are 22 overs left in the day, but they must be bowled before 0700 GMT. Ooohh, a gift from Stokes to Haddin, a half-tracker that is dispatched through mid-wicket for four. So often in this series, Haddin has counter-punched. England need him gone sharpish.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "This is the best chance England will ever have of winning a Test match in this series. They've had opportunities where they have had Australia down a bit but this is a pitch more suited to our type of attack, they're not going to get away from us because the pitch is not conducive to shot playing. I think it is better to be batting first on these type of pitches, a lead on first innings is priceless."

  70. 0533: 
    Aus 118-5 (56 overs)

    It must be asked, though, why are England able to do this today when they have struggled for so much of the series? Is it that hint of reverse swing? Is the pitch tougher to bat on than we thought? We said these conditions are more 'English', so is it suited to the visiting attack? James Anderson returns, full to Bailey before a reminder that he has the bumper up his sleeve. A maiden, another turn of the vice.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "The ball is reversing, not hugely, but just enough to create a bit of doubt, especially to a new batsman."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  72. 0529: 
    Aus 118-5 (137 behind)

    Thanks JL, well bowled sir. What an evening this is turning into for England. Much like Australia yesterday, they have cranked up the pressure in a manner that has brought them success for a number of years. For once in this series, England's bowlers have controlled proceedings, and the impatience shown by Australia last summer has returned. Four wickets have been thrown away and Anderson did Clarke with a rozzer. The MCG is alive, the Barmies are bouncing. Theatre.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    GWCB: This is more like the old England, let's be ruthless now.

    Rubyshakes: England must remember they're only halfway. The remaining batsmen are more than capable of putting another 200+ on between them.

  74. 0526: 
    Aus 114-5

    Another obdurate customer, the nuggety Brad Haddin is the new man, and his emphatic defensive shot shows, as if there was any doubt, that he is in no mood to give his wicket away cheaply. Billy Cooper's trumpet rings out mellifluously, Stuart Broad's song performed enthusiastically by the Barmy Army. A possible lbw appeal is negated by a nervy Bailey inside edge and with two new batsmen at the crease and the match delicately poised I hand you back to Stephan.

    Ed Smith, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "A most un-Rogers like shot from Rogers. It's a mini collapse."

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "It's an extraordinary shot, I can't really believe he was trying to hit Bresnan over the top. It was another regulation delivery, Rogers went for a big drive and sliced it timidly to mid off, where Pietersen made good ground."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  77. 0516: 
    WICKET- Rogers c Pietersen b Bresnan 61 (Aus 112-5)
    Tim Bresnan strikes

    It's Bresnan's moment in the limelight, he's only gone and dislodged the limpet. An uncharacteristic waft to a wide one outside off-stump does not make proper contact high on the bat, spoons airborne and Pietersen takes a well-judged catch running round from mid-off.

    Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Warner 9), 2-36 (Watson 10), 3-62 (Clarke 10), 4-110 (Smith 19), 5-112 (Rogers 61)

    Bresnan's figures: 12.1-5-17-1

    Rogers' innings: 218 minutes, 171 balls, 8 fours

    Full match scorecard

  78. 0512: 
    Aus 112-4

    After another steady over from the much maligned Bresnan, a cricketing bridesmaid rather than bride, Broad probes Rogers but a slight fumble from Carberry in the covers allows a single.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Anna Fulla: Expect a mini onslaught from Aus now to keep England in check. This should be England's chance to shut it out and take control.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Rogers is the glue that is just about holding Australia together. He is doing a good job, but he won't tear you apart unless you bowl really badly."

  81. 0508: 
    Aus 110-4

    George Bailey is the new batsman, another whose ability was questioned by a certain forthright former England opening batsman. He has made only one half century in his five Test innings thus far, and with Australia still trailing by 145, the Barmy Army raise the decibel levels another notch. Wicket maiden for Broad.

  82. 0505: 
    WICKET- Smith c Bell b Broad 19 (Aus 110-4)
    England celebrate

    Smith could not endure it any longer, a flash outside the off-stump and in the new-look England slip cordon it is Ian Bell who snaffles it safely at second slip.

    Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Warner 9), 2-36 (Watson 10), 3-62 (Clarke 10), 4-110 (Smith 19).

    Broad's figures: 11.5-3-26-1

    Full match scorecard

    Text 81111

    From Titus: Can anyone confirm that Chris Rodgers has undergone the surgical procedure known to the medical profession as a 'boycottomy'?

  84. 0502: 
    Aus 110-3 (Rogers 59, Smith 19)

    Here's a new tactic, Bresnan accidentally colliding with Smith in his follow through. It doesn't unsettle the batsmen however. I reckon even Piers Morgan could get a bat on it out there.

    Tim Bresnan (right) and Steve Smith collide
  85. 0458: 
    Aus 108-3 (Rogers 58, Smith 18)

    A sing-off in the crowd, the Barmy Army's signature tune against their Australian counterparts. Commendable effort from the travelling band who have in cricketing terms been given very little to sing about. Broad tests Smith's patience on and around the off-stump but nothing doing so far.

    Fans at the MCG
    Jim Maxwell, BBC Test Match Special

    "If he's in the right mental groove, Rogers is the sort of player that could bat for a month. They are not going to bore him out."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Text 81111

    From Lindsay: Why isn't Panesar bowling? Just brought Bresnan back on. Cook has no idea.

  88. 0453: 
    Aus 108-3

    England opting for the attritional approach that wins few friends and has not brought much success in this series either, Bresnan bowling wide of off-stump to a packed off-side field. It's a maiden but much more cannot be said of it.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "England have to be careful here. Monty Panesar is now England's number one spinner, but I think if Graeme Swann had been playing he would have bowled more overs. They have to give him confidence."

  90. 0449: 
    Aus 108-3 (Rogers 58, Smith 18)

    Smith has been criticised for his unusual technique, but he uses his high, flailing backlift to good effect to swot Broad to the square-leg fence. He plays no shot to one which one nips back to catch him on the pad, but after a brief conference England decide against a review, none used by either side thus far.

  91. 0445: 
    Aus 104-3

    Rogers content to play out a maiden from Anderson, who has been unable to find that movement off the seam which accounted for Clarke earlier. As Joel Garner used to say "It's gone to sleep". Not sure it ever did when he bowled though.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Matthew Ball: Forget Piers Morgan. A retired Brett Lee is still faster than most of England's bowlers.

  93. 0441: 
    Aus 104-3 (Rogers 58, Smith 14)
    Barmy Army fans watch the action in the middle

    Rogers showing no signs of discomfort against Broad either, despite that earlier clout on the head which drew a rather macabre streak of blood down his cheek. The short-pitched stuff has stopped and it all looks rather comfortable for the batsmen.

  94. 0436: 
    Aus 101-3 (Rogers 55, Smith 14)

    The Australian batsmen are not subjected to such hostility unfortunately, Rogers bringing up the 100 by stroking the opening delivery of the evening session from Anderson through the covers for four. A quiet buzz from the crowd, England's brief period of pressure seemingly released.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    The Sun's John Etheridge: I actually thought Piers Morgan would do better than that. Just ran away from every delivery.

  96. 0432: 
    Piers Morgan

    Thanks Stephan, well Piers has had some publicity today. An interesting approach to facing Brett Lee, who can still get the ball down there at 90mph. The outspoken presenter opted to step down the wicket to his first ball but in truth did not really get close to making contact with the bat during the brief challenge. The 48-year-old right-hander faced six deliveries before a feverish crowd at the MCG nets and was hit on five of them, the other one crashing into the leg-stump.

  97. 0417: 

    Right then, the tea break brings the sideshow of Brett Lee v Piers Morgan. Jamie Lillywhite is here to talk you through the opening stages of the final session, and he will no doubt let you know if Morgan takes a blow. On TMS, Aggers is interviewing Australia women's batter Jess Cameron.

    Jonathan Agnew interviews Jess Cameron
    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Sometimes maidens bring lots of wickets in a session, there was only one here but it was a critical one, Michael Clarke. England haven't been able to barge through the door but they have certainly kept a lid on Australia. It has been a low key sort of match, it might be one of those slow burners. If England can bowl Australia out for something similar to their total you have all sorts of possibilities but it's moving quite slowly at the moment."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  99. 0413: 
    TEA INTERVAL- Aus 96-3

    Ben Stokes to send down the last set before the break, the Durham redhead breathing hard in the heat. Length, length, short, short, we go to the break with a maiden. Only 58 runs came from the 29 overs in the session, just two per over. We take tea with Australia 96-3, 159 behind.

    Match scorecard
    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG

    "Warm sunshine now in Melbourne, sections of the crowd in the lower tier arguing with long-tempered stewards over the confiscation of banned beach balls. If this is the sort of thing that invariably happens during a longer Chris Rogers innings, the batsman - and his captain - couldn't care less - his half-century might have taken almost three hours, but it has accounted for more than half of Australia's runs."

  101. 0409: 
    50 FOR CHRIS ROGERS- Aus 96-3
    Chris Rogers

    Every England fielder is saving a single, but Rogers eventually sets off on the off side for the one that takes him to a fifth Test half-century. A gutsy knock not only for the pressure his side have been under, but also because of the blow he took to the head. I'm told he's scored more first-class runs than any other player in the world this year. Really? That's a helluva stat. One more over before tea.

  102. 0406: 
    Aus 94-3 (40 overs)

    Ben Stokes replacing Tim Bresnan for a spell before tea. We haven't seen much of Stuart Broad in this session, not since his opening burst. TV pictures show Brett Lee getting loose for his spell at Piers Morgan, which will also be televised. Is that like an old-school public execution? A third successive maiden, only eight runs have come from the past seven overs.

  103. 0402: 
    Aus 94-3 (Panesar 0-9 off 5)

    Rogers looking for the single that would take him 50, but an improving Panesar keeps him honest. Question, why is Panesar's bowling described as slow left-arm? Right-arm spinners are either off or leg-spin (finger or wrist), so why don't the lefties get a decent title?

    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    Mitchell Johnson's 28 wickets can be divided into two groups: 10 @ 38 runs each. Then four spells of 18 wkts @ 2 runs each. (18/37).

  105. 0359: 
    Aus 94-3 (161 behind)

    Bresnan has been by far and away England's most used bowler in this afternoon session, an economy rate of just over 1.5 is the reason why. At the end of a press conference I was at in the summer, Bresnan was talking about the arrival of his newborn son. "He poos a lot," said Tim. Insightful. A maiden.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "England were elated when Anderson bowled Michael Clarke, a misjudgement from the captain, but since then, fairly calmly, Rogers has progressed to 49."

  107. 0355: 
    Aus 94-3 (Rogers 49, Smith 13)

    The flies that were such a nuisance on day one have been less visible today, but they still buzz around Panesar's black patka as he skips in. "Good Monty" is the chat from behind the stumps, before a short ball gives Smith a single from the final ball. The Mexican Wave has returned.

    Flags of the Barmy Army are displayed at the MCG
    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Josh Withers: Big spell this for Monty, needs to show he is the man to replace Swann.

    Oliver Prendergast: Big bag of allsorts from Monty so far!

    Matthew Ball: Never has 'Slow Left Arm' described someone so accurately as Monty. No revs on the ball at all

  109. 0352: 
    Aus 93-3 (162 behind)

    Rogers, nearing a half century, bunts a pull shot off Bresnan through square leg for a couple. On to 49. There's an odd sense of quiet inside the 'G, as if the crowd is waiting for something to happen. Either that or they are wilting in the afternoon sun.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Zander Twine: I'll wait till we get Haddin out before getting excited.

    Kevin Richards: Aussie run-rate is 2.5 per over. Not hearing the criticism that England drew for that same rate yesterday. Blinkered.

    Northern Monkey: It's never too late to win back pride. That's all at stake now and that's worth fighting every minute for.

  111. 0349: 
    Aus 91-3 (35 overs)
    Steve Smith

    Panesar to Smith, a man that likes to get after the spinners. A dance for nothing, then a rock back to cut what is no more than a long hop. Four scored. Australia coming through a tough spell? We thought that when before Clarke went. Twenty minutes or so until tea.

    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG

    "At the halfway point in the day's play, the match remains well poised. If England can remove another batsman before tea, they will feel satisfied that some of the damage sustained in their brief innings this morning may have been reversed; if Australia get to the break with both Rogers and Smith together and the ball increasingly old, they will have the foundations to push on towards ascendancy in the evening session."

  113. 0345: 
    Aus 87-3 (168 behind)

    Bresnan to Rogers, what could best be described as no-frills cricket. Back of a length, off stump, shuffle across, defend. Repeat. Bresnan, despite the lack of threat, is England's most economical bowler. This afternoon has very much mirrored England's slow-going yesterday. The Aussies are going for a similar rate to the one that got England some flak.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "I wonder if Monty Panesar is feeling any different now that Graeme Swann has retired? If he can grab this opportunity he could become England's number one spinner for the next four or five years so I'm wondering if he's feeling any extra pressure."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  115. 0341: 
    Aus 86-3 (Rogers 47, Smith 7)

    Wonder no more, he comes the left-arm tweaker. Just as in his only over before lunch, Panesar starts with a horrible full toss that is gobbled up by Rogers, before a beach ball in the stands behind the bowler's arm disrupts play. What's the thinking behind taking a beach ball to the cricket? "Right off to the Test match. Got my ticket, the sandwiches and suncream. Ah, nearly forgot the beach ball."

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "Throughout the series Australia have always had players who have stood up to the mark in the first innings. With England everything is right-arm over, around the same pace. Having that from both ends for any length of time allows the batsmen to get used to it, they should keep changing things, changing angles."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  117. 0337: 
    DROPPED CATCH- Aus 82-3
    James Anderson dives

    Wow, this would have been an absolute screamer from James Anderson. Steve Smith is pulling, Anderson, at short mid-wicket, taking off to his right to dive full length. Out goes the hand, but the ball does not stick. It would have been a worldie. That would have provided a huge boost to the returning Tim Bresnan, who has been economical enough without looking threatening. He's barely touching 80mph. I wonder when we'll see Monty?

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Obamas: Once had a guy at school throw an orange at my head hard it burst on impact , that's express pace isn't it?

    Jamie Waterhouse: We need Broad back on to rough Rogers up a bit. Johnson wouldn't have been pulled out of the attack if he'd rattled our player.

  119. 0333: 
    Aus 82-3 (Stokes 1-17 from 7)

    I say Rogers is limpet-like - and his technique could never be described as "easy on the eye" - but he's proving to be a real nuisance to England here. Zinc on his lips, third lid of the day on his head, armguard that looks like it was borrowed from Baldrick facing the bowler. He whips a poor delivery from Stokes through the leg side for four. Rogers was a bunny of Graeme Swann's. Remember him?

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Sam Roberts: Yet another dismissal with a batsman leaving the ball. It keeps on happening. Poor judgement or good bowling?

    Jack Osborne: Looking good for England right now, but can they avoid the big partnerships from the middle order?

    Ben Holt: As long as we don't caress the middle order like we usually do we might have a game on here.

  121. 0329: 
    Aus 76-3 (179 behind)

    Anderson, the king of the swingers, is definitely getting tail back into right-hander Smith. The king of the swingers was from the Jungle Book, right? King Louie if I'm not mistaken. Smith has started well, while Rogers continues his limpet-like occupation.

    Text 81111

    Andrew, Glasgow: Never faced express pace myself, but at the end of school nets a few years ago we set the pace on the bowling machine to, I think, 95 mph and got a couple of friend of mine to face it. We only used a tennis ball, but that didn't stop them from needing new underwear by the end of it. One of them even hit the ball and the way he went on about it, you'd think he'd just hit a double century.

  123. 0324: 
    APPEAL - NOT OUT- Aus 72-3

    Indeed Stokes is called on to replace Bresnan, the Durham redhead spider-like in his action to propel the ball towards the fidgety Smith. No hint of wobble, a half-appeal when Smith is struck outside the line. The MCG is becalmed. Last night, Melbourne was alive when Australia were on the attack, now, it waits in quiet as the Baggy Greens defend.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "You can tell by the way the England players are looking at the ball they think there might be something in this. That's been the trouble in this series, they have just not got the ball going through the air with any kind of shape, the sort we saw in 2010-11 when they managed to get just enough."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  125. 0319: 
    Aus 71-3 (28 overs)

    Ben Stokes is getting loose as Anderson begins his examination of Tin Tin lookalike Smith. Just two slips and a gully, so not over-attacking the new man, instead looking to keep it tight. Reverse swing was a key factor in England's win three years ago, especially here in Melbourne. There's not been a sniff on the whole tour, but maybe that Clarke wicket was the first hint. It certainly hooped back.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Another half volley from Bresnan, he's just putting it there, there's nothing, no zip."

  127. 0315: 
    Aus 70-3 (185 behind)

    One more quick wicket would have England right on top in this Test match and I suspect Rogers is the one they would want the most. He hasn't been rattled by that blow to the head and continues here by driving Bresnan for four. I wonder how long he'll continue in the attack. Maybe England will get Stuart Broad back for new man Smith, or perhaps call on Monty?


    TMS: That is the ninth time that James Anderson has dismissed Michael Clarke in Test cricket but the first time in this series.

  129. 0311: 
    Aus 62-3

    Steven Smith is the new man and England's plan will be the same for Australia's number five. For the first time in what seems like an eternity, England are in with a shout of taking control of a Test match.

  130. 0306: 
    WICKET- Clarke b Anderson 10 (Aus 62-3)
    James Anderson

    Bowled him! England get the wicket they have worked so hard for, James Anderson bowling Michael Clarke with a beauty. For his part, the Aussie skipper contributes to his own downfall, shouldering arms, but the delivery from Anderson did some serious shaping back in to take the top of off stump. We have spoken so much about England's post-lunch plan to bowl tight and, on a rare occasion in this series, it has worked. We have a real contest.

    Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Warner 9), 2-36 (Watson 10), 3-62 (Clarke 10)

    Anderson's figures: 7.2-1-23-2

    Full match scorecard

  131. 0305: 
    Aus 62-2 (Rogers 30, Clarke 10)

    Rogers gets so far across his stumps in defence that all three sticks are visible after he has played a stroke. Bresnan, sweatband on his left arm, sends down an improved over, a maiden. Can England turn this pressure into a wicket? You sense that Australia's bowlers would do just that, but their batsmen seem to have more patience than the tourists.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Dan: No threat with Bresnan, risk it with Finn.

    Freddie Drapkin: Re 0248 LAST Christmas I got an hour's batting against the bowling machine at the Oval but I still haven't been as I'm too scared to face it with my brother in control and a maximum speed of just over 90mph.

    Stephen Vallance II: How much are "best ever" or "most ever" statistics weakened by teams/players playing more nowadays?

  133. 0302: 
    Aus 62-2 (trail by 193)

    Anderson around the wicket to leftie Rogers, two slips, a gully and a catcher on the drive. With no shape, Anderson is too straight and allows a couple to be taken to long leg. Most of the lower tier of the vast bowl that is the MCG is bathed in warm sunshine. My mum would say it's "too hot". Pipe down mum, you moan when it's cold.

    Play during day two at the MCG
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "That was so big a half volley from Bresnan it was like hitting an orange, there's no pressure with bowling like that. I don't think we can get back to the top of the tree without wicket-taking bowlers and Bresnan is not a wicket-taking bowler in Test cricket. For me it's A) Can you get me wickets? B) Can you keep it tight?"

  135. 0257: 
    Aus 58-2 (Bresnan 0-7 off 3)

    Ah, long half-volley from Bresnan driven straight for four by Rogers. Is Bresnan a weakness is this bowling-tight plan? To be fair, he comes back well. However, you feel that Australia have climbed the mountain of pressure and are coming back down the other side.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Thomas Hughes: I wonder if the Australians would have shown the same concern for an English player....not likely.

    Freddie Drapkin: Never nice to see a cricketer hurt, but refreshing to see some aggression from this very limp bowling attack. Long overdue.

  137. 0254: 
    Aus 54-2 (201 behind)

    Another change, James Anderson replacing Stuart Broad. Australia have come through their first examination after lunch, now they are faced with England's second pair of quicks. If Clarke and Rogers can ride the pressure, they could make hey in the brilliant sunshine. Ball running away off Clarke's thigh pad towards fine leg, with no fielder there, keeper Bairstow hares after it to stop the boundary.

    James Anderson

    England and Wales Cricket Board: The Warner wicket before lunch was Jimmy Anderson's 600th international wicket for England in all formats.

  139. 0248: 
    Aus 50-2 (21 overs)

    This chat of Brett Lee splattering Piers Morgan over the MCG nets has got me wondering about how us mortals would go against a bowler of express pace. Top amateur club bowlers are usually around the mid to high 70s, so upwards of 90mph would be a different gravy. Have you ever had to face a lightning quick bowler? Tim Bresnan replaces Stokes, getting an airy waft from Rogers, who is back in his shell for the rest of the set.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Phil Cockman: Helena (0211) not often I support Piers Morgan, he will get battered, but is he showing more resolve than some of our batsmen?

    James Gutteridge: After this series England need to start trying some new players, too many past their best.

    Obamas: Carberry the coolest fielder England have ever had? Sunglasses, ear ring. Cool as they come.

  141. 0243: 
    Aus 50-2 (Rogers 22, Clarke 8)

    Rogers isn't happy with his first replacement lid, so he gets another couple run out by the 12th man. He faces one ball from Broad then is again waving to the dressing room, gesturing to a specific individual that he wants their lid. Helmet number three comes out. He takes two, then a single, with runs now starting to trickle as a Mexican Wave laps the 'G.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "The best games of cricket are when 250 plays 250 and you know you're going to get a result, when every boundary really counts. We haven't had an Ashes match like that really since Trent Bridge in July which, in its own right, was quite an epic. Melbourne seems to have a knack of keeping you interested right until the end and let's hope we have another one here."

  143. 0239: 
    Aus 47-2

    Rogers taking one to the skull masked the fact Broad sent down another maiden and Stokes continues to tighten the vice under a cloudless sky. Bar the tape poking from beneath Rogers' helmet, there have been no signs this Aussie pair are uncomfortable. Clarke is patient enough to ease three through the covers, with Rogers taking as many off his toes.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Joe Baldwin: Good to see some sportsmanship for once - nasty hit for Rogers, and Broad went straight up to him to see how he was.

    David V Smith: Good to see The Spirit of Cricket on display. Not been enough of that this series.

    Si Lomas: Is there an older, in use piece of cricketing attire than Chris Rogers' arm guard?

    Chris Rogers
  145. 0236: 
    Aus 41-2 (214 behind)

    Broad goes short, left alone, then full, left alone again. Rogers survives, face, and perhaps pride, wounded.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Rogers is chatting away and I guess he wants to get on with it and get back on the horse. We are about to get on with it but a chastening moment for Rogers."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  147. 0234: 
    Aus 41-2 (England 255)

    Some white tape is applied to the wound, Rogers is good to carry on. Much has been made of the spirit (or lack of it) this series has been played in, but there was genuine concern from the England players after Rogers was hit. The leftie has played a lot of county cricket and seems popular amongst the England players. England gather to talk amongst themselves, Rogers changes his lid, we're about to get back under way. I wonder if he'll get another bumper.

  148. 0231: 
    OUCH!- Aus 41-2
    Chris Rogers

    Broad angles his run in to the stumps, setting off on the lush green outfield then arriving at the lighter square. Broad is still above 90mph...pushing Rogers back...then...whallop! Rogers ducks into a bumper, the nastiness of the blow matching the thud of leather into metal. Rogers is groggy, there's claret coming from near his ear, Clarke is down to tend to him and England's fielders are beckoning the physio on.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Rogers is the sort of bloke you want in your team. I'm not saying Australia have a lot of mavericks but he is a straightforward, gritty opening batsman. It's not beautiful but he knows his game and has worked out how to play over the years."

  150. 0227: 
    Aus 41-2 (Rogers 16, Clarke 5)
    Ben Stokes

    A tight bandage is a permanent presence on Ben Stokes' right arm. I've got no idea what it is there for. On his left arm, the black ink of a tattoo pokes from under his shirt. More good fielding by England, first by Bresnan, then by Pietersen, keeps Clarke under wraps. Stokes' second successive maiden.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Martin Horne: For those who harbour hope, not long til the ball goes soft and Clarke/Smith/Haddin* fill their boots. *Delete as applicable.

    Daniel Ashmore: Finn should be in for Brez. Doesn't matter about a few no balls if he knocks the wicket. Get him bowling fast and aggressive!

    Freddie Drapkin: Vital to get Clarke early. If he gets a start on this pitch, in Australia, in front of 90,000, he could make a huge score.

  152. 0223: 
    Aus 41-2 (124 behind)

    England are taking their inspiration from Australia, looking to bowl dots, build pressure. Not so long ago, that was England's set menu. Good work at point by the diving Michael Carberry keeps Clarke to one when four looked likely - the Hampshire man has his backside tanned by pats of congratulations from pretty much every other fielder. Ooohhhh, good from Broad, beating Rogers with a rozzer. Only three runs since lunch.

    Text 81111

    Joe Firth, Derbyshire: Completely agree with Piers Morgan's comment about Swann, no stomach for a fight when he lost form. But he's very wrong on Trott, when suffering from a mental illness to say he 'quit' is unbelievably insensitive.

  154. 0219: 
    Aus 40-2 (Stokes 1-4 from 3)
    The Melbourne Cricket Ground

    As Victor says, we have Ben Stokes carrying the attack after lunch, the Durham man switching ends. The MCG murmurs a post-lunch hum, the soundtrack that is played in the background of every Test match. Stokes, the sun glinting off the sweat on his forehead, resumes well, asking Rogers to straight-bat a maiden.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Clarke not moving quite as smoothly as he can. Now we're going to see Stokes, you'd think as captain you'd want to put your two best bowlers on after lunch and Stokes has impressed with his aggression, his status is rising. He may not be as dependable as Bresnan but he's more likely to do something."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  156. 0216: 
    Aus 40-2 (215 behind)

    Broad's plan for Clarke is not subtle. Short leg, couple of men back, bumpers expected. Remember the dismissal in the first innings at Brisbane? Giving the Aussie skipper the strike in the second innings didn't work out quite as well. Broad bounds in to a white wicket illuminated by the bright sunlight, beating Clarke's loose drive.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    The New Inn: We don't think we'll be seeing Ben Stokes play for Durham much in the next 10 years.

    Matthew Tilbury: Anyone think Stokes could be England's Kallis?

    Mark Fowkes: It's easy for Stokes to look great when everyone else is looking so mediocre!

  158. 0211: 
    Aus 38-2

    Can England hammer down the cracked Aussie door? The men in green and yellow resume on 38-2, 217 behind. Michael Clarke, on two, is on strike to Stuart Broad. Chris Rogers is at the other end on 16. In beautiful sunshine, let's play.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Helena Gillespie: Not often I support Brett Lee but please batter Piers Morgan - he's such an eejit.

  160. 0208: 

    Right then, barely enough time to make and eat a turkey sandwich before we're on the marks once more.

    Piers Morgan has got you going, hasn't he?

  161. 0139: 

    So the end of the first session on this Boxing Day night. We're off for a leftover mince pie and will be back for the afternoon action. In the meantime, TMS are talking to Piers Morgan, who later today will be padded up to face Brett Lee.

    Piers Morgan talks to Jonathan Agnew

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG

    "Once again the door opens for England. Those two wickets - both to poor shots - have given them a foothold in this Australian innings. And captain Michael Clarke averages just 12 against England at this ground. Can this underperforming team finally make full use of this start?"

  163. 0136: 
    Aus 38-2

    What to make of all that? England were simply blown away in the first hour, run over by the Mitchell Johnson juggernaut to slip from 226-6 to 255 all out. But then, some fight, David Warner and Shane Watson done for by James Anderson and Ben Stokes. 38-2. Do we have a game? Are the Ashes alive? Oh, hang on...

    Match scorecard
  164. 0133: 
    LUNCH INTERVAL- Aus 38-2

    Horrible waist-high full bunger for Panesar to begin with, but then he's on the money. "Ooohhh Monty" is the chat from behind the wicket, as Rogers pushes back a maiden to take us to lunch. Australia go to the interval on 38-2, 217 behind.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Si Lomas: Half my issue with Bresnan is that he is supposed to be the third seamer yet Stokes as a rookie batting all-rounder is more threatening.

    Obamas: Ben Stokes is the only shining light in this absolutely horrific dark cloud of a tour.

    The Pete: I really like the look of Stokes but I still don't see him as a 6. He's a 7/8 1st change bowler, basically a better Bresnan.

  166. 0130: 
    Aus 38-2

    Monty on for the last over before lunch...


    Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff: Worried about Ben Stokes bowling! Should keep his cap on, gingers burn. But seriously Stokes will become the all-rounder England have always wanted. Can easily bowl 5mph quicker, can bat and a bit maverick!

  168. 0129: 
    Aus 38-2 (trail by 217)

    Now then Michael Clarke, you arrive with your team under a smidge of pressure. Short leg in straight away, Stokes immediately testing the Aussie skipper with a bumper. Replays of the Watson dismissal do him no favours, that drive was Loose with a capital L.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "That was on the up, through extra cover, and an inside edge, two down, the English disease has got them, they were rubbish shots, come on lads play some more!"

  170. 0124: 
    WICKET- Watson c Bairstow b Stokes 10 (Aus 36-2)
    Ben Stokes

    England have another, Ben Stokes the man working the magic. The Durham man has come on with some good bustle and has drawn a poor stroke from Shane Watson, whose loose drive is under-edged through to the new mits of Jonny Bairstow. After an appalling morning with the bat, England are doing the business with the ball. Game on?

    Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Warner 9), 2-36 (Watson 10).

    Stokes' figures: 1.2-0-2-1

    Full match scorecard

    Text 81111

    From Joseph: Good to see Ben 'the yorker' Stokes trying something different.

  172. 0123: 
    Aus 36-1 (219 behind)

    Another change, Tim Bresnan on to replace Anderson. It's low-80s from Bresnan and, though pace isn't everything, it immediately looks less threatening. The Aussies can milk singles - Shane Watson at this pace is rarely hit off the square. The change of strike between the right and light-handers has fine leg Monty Panesar doing some miles. Probably two overs before lunch.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I hope Stokes is not going to be a one-match wonder, I've seen a few of those, but he looks to have a bit of talent. You can't take away the hundred he got at Perth, which was marvellous, but what we really want is for him to develop for the Ashes in 2015. He looks to have something, we want him to be a fixture in the team. We should be thinking about who is going to be playing in 2015. We need a few new faces."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  174. 0118: 
    Aus 33-1

    Indeed it is Ben Stokes, immediately yorker-length full in the mid-80s to Rogers. Appeal, not out. Cook fancies another look, but Stokes knows there's an inside edge. Rogers, sweater on despite the sun, flashes for four, then gets defending on the walk. Decent start from Stokes.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Matthew Ball: The way things have been going I was waiting for Bairstow to drop that. New batsman at the crease and Cook takes away a slip tells all you need to know about his captaincy.

    Weston Mberikwazvo: Warner's strange T20 like innings are a direct result of a ridiculous decision allowing him to go play BBL in-between Tests.

    James Tompkinson: Is there a cricket dressing room equivalent of the naughty step? KP and Warner would be prime candidates based on today

  176. 0113: 
    APPEAL - NOT OUT- Aus 31-1

    Ooohhh, careful there Shane. It's the Anderson v Watson battle the bowler was so used to winning in the summer, Australia's number three walking and planting the front dog to get hit on the pad. Appeal, not out. Too high and inside edge. Slash for four, Watson winning so far. Ben Stokes is limbering up.


    From Andrew: Dear BBC, please add a feature to the cricket live reporting feed so that users can turn off the tweeters and texters. To be frank, I really, really, really don't care what Henry from Cleethorpes thinks about KP's temperament, or how ashamed Gladys in Walton on the Naze is about the manner in which England has lost this Ashes series. I build websites, it won't cost much to add that feature. I will give you the money.

    So, just to clarify, you've emailed in to complain about people getting in touch? Make your cheque out to S Shemilt.

  178. 0110: 
    Aus 27-1 (228 behind)

    Still Broad, getting close to 92mph, with the crab-like Rogers shuffling his zinc lips to defend from the crease. The roar from the crowd tells us a Mexican Wave is on, with the noise cranked up as Rogers edges through third man for four. Twenty minutes until lunch.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "If England can hold the lines that the Australian bowlers did, that fourth stump, next to the off-stump, I think they can make them struggle a little."

  180. 0106: 
    Aus 23-1 (232 behind)

    Now then, Shane Watson, formerly the mayor of Lbwshire, is the new man. England still target that big front pad, but Watto, who limped off with a groin injury yesterday, is away with a drive that beats the dive of Kevin Pietersen at straight mid on. Anderson thumbs his nose in Watson's direction. What on earth does that mean?

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Warner deserves to get out, he hasn't played a proper batting innings. Although he has played well through the series and batted beautifully, instinctively there is that wanting to bash the bowling. He came out today in the best form of his life playing outrageous shots and getting away with it, eventually he's got himself out and that's justice."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  182. 0100: 
    WICKET- Warner c Bairstow b Anderson 9 (Aus 19-1)
    England celebrate

    The start of something special? James Anderson strikes to end a very odd innings by David Warner. His desire to attack every ball sees him aiming a one-legged pull at a ball that wasn't short enough, with the result being a top edge that goes straight up. Jonny Bairstow, who must have been thinking what a clown he would look if he dropped it, steadies himself to pouch his first catch as a Test keeper. England on the board.

    Full match scorecard

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Shelts: It's not true that England have no bowler like Johnson, Broad is constantly bowling at high 80s - low 90s mph!

    Tom Gilthorpe: Broad generating some serious 'wheels' out there. Just waiting for Anderson to find some swing here.

    Jim Hopping: England in transition like Aussies have been for last few years. Need to make similar tough decisions to bounce back.

  184. 0058: 
    APPEAL - NOT OUT- Aus 19-0

    Half-appeal from Jonny Bairstow, keeping in shades and a long-sleeved shirt, as Warner has another unsuccessful flash at the fired-up Broad. Just like yesterday, a wally in the crowd has arrived at the MCG with the whistle they got for Christmas. Two blasts, clap clap, two blasts, clap clap. Repeat. Why is that so popular down under? The more refined Barmy Army have the trumpeter, who plays the theme from Rocky. Classy.


    David Stocks: Why are we playing at balls that are 2 foot wide and 6 inches higher than the stumps? Why have Finn, Rankin and Ballance not even played yet? Why has Swann really retired? Why have we been so bad after beating them easily 4 months ago? Why don't we ask Sir Geoff, Sir Ian and some of the Barmy Army to tell them some home truths? Why don't the players donate their match fees to charity after such poor performances? Why am I still up watching them play so poorly?

  186. 0054: 
    Aus 14-0 (241 behind)

    Change of angle for Anderson, coming around the wicket as the sunshine pokes through to bathe the cricketing colosseum. Man on the drive on the edge of the wicket, Rogers slightly uneasy. Inside edge, defence on the hop, another inside edge from an attempted drive. Good from Anderson, but the ball isn't doing much.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "I reckon the slips should be a yard deeper for Warner than for Rogers because Warner goes very hard at the ball!"

  188. 0049: 
    Aus 14-0 (Rogers 5, Warner 9)
    David Warner

    Throughout this series, there have been lots of calls for Steven Finn's inclusion. Is that because of his pace? Has he not been a different (lesser) bowler since the Graeme Smith dead-ball incident? Also, his skiddiness doesn't generate the bounce of a Johnson. But, would any change be an improvement? Speaking of pace, Broad is above 90mph, but Warner can carve through point for four. What's Warner had for breakfast? It's a shot a ball. A flash, a pull nearly going back to the bowler. Hurried by the pace, or simply on the charge?

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Andrew Swain: KP could learn a lot from Warner re: aggression. Pick and choose which balls to attack rather than swinging wildly at anything.

    Anthony Barker: Johnson starts series with no form/confidence-ends winning Ashes for Australia. Finn England's fastest, starts the same - ends carrying drinks!

    Alistair Lowe: Would love to see England take early wickets and make it a contest. Too often pressure has been off Aussies.

  190. 0045: 
    Aus 10-0 (245 behind)

    Urgh. It would seem that David Warner is in the mood (when isn't he in the mood?) The first ball of Anderson's over is in the slot and belted down the ground for four. A single, then Rogers goes the other side of straight for a boundary of his own. Captain Cook, shades masking his eyes like a man trying to hide a hangover, already has his head in his hands.

    Text 81111

    Ronnie, Kirkcaldy: If this was a football team the manager would rightly carry the can. It's time for Andy Flower to go.

    Martin, Warrington: The problem KP has is that as fans we judge him against a better category of player, because he's the closest we've had to any of "the greats". For a man who has over 8,000 Test runs, it's all rather odd. I tend to think that as fans we almost expect a hundred every time he comes out to bat.

    Jim, Watford: At least KP contributed. Bresnan, Root and Anderson have done nothing all series. The selection of the former two defies reason at the moment.

  192. 0041: 
    Aus 1-0 (254 behind)

    Customary boos for Stuart Broad, who has recovered from a bruised foot to share the new ball. Three slips, a gully, short leg for Rogers, with Broad getting a little nibble at 90mph to beat the edge. He's not of the same pace, but I wonder how G Onions of Durham might have gone on this wicket?

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    James McCarthy: That shot from Kevin Pietersen sums up exactly why I wanted him dropped from the team yesterday. Not a team player.

    Dan Walsh: Pietersen needs to think about the situation his team is in, he didn't need to play that shot.

    James Bamford: People saying Johnson has one ball, yes but it's a very good one and none of our lot can bowl as fast!

  194. 0037: 
    APPEAL - NOT OUT- Aus 1-0 (254 behind)
    James Anderson appeals

    First ball, big shout. It looks leggy, and Bairstow's first action as England wicketkeeper is to stick his oar in the review discussion. Nothing doing. Some swing for Anderson, but the radar not there yet. Bairstow is light-footed for his first takes in a Test.

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "The real disappointment on this tour is Steven Finn - he doesn't seem to be getting better. If you look back to the rule change of him knocking the bail over I think that has disturbed him. All of a sudden he has gone backwards and all the reports are they can't trust his ability in a Test match. He's got to look at Mitchell Johnson. They are totally different bowlers, but look at how he has come back.

    "Finn has all the attributes, he is someone they have got to get some cricket to make sure he comes back into contention."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  196. 0033: 

    Here we go, the Australia openers are in the middle. Chris Rogers and David Warner - he of 457 runs in the series. I suspect he'll fancy a dart at England here.

    Keep an eye on Jonny Bairstow too, he's keeping in a Test for the first time.

    James Anderson to Rogers. Play.

    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG

    "Another grim morning for England. To lose four wickets for 29 runs in 50 minutes against bowling of Johnson's class is understandable, but it underlines the current gulf between these two sides: the Aussie tail wags; the English tail is tucked between their legs."

  198. 0032: 

    So, can England respond? Once again, they need a performance from their bowlers. They should get some help, these are the most 'English' conditions we've seen all tour. If England can't make inroads, Australia embark on a two-day rampage.

  199. 0030: 
    Eng 255 all out

    Have a look at this pic of Tim Bresnan's wicket. I think it rather sums up England's morning and their tour.

    Tim Bresnan falls to Mitchell Johnson
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "These are England's best players. I think Gary Ballance will come into the reckoning but I just think it's a mindset. England have players who know they have been found out, they are thinking do they stick of twist and yesterday a lot of them got stuck, you just want them to be a bit more courageous."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Pat O'Hara: KP is one of the reasons I watch cricket. He polarises opinions like no other.

    Richard Powell: Get the impression that the net practice our lads are having isn't in any way resembling what they're meeting in game conditions.

    Jamie Fewery: When will Tim Bresnan justify his selection with either bat or ball? Really struggling to understand this England team.

  202. 0026: 
    Eng 255 all out

    Mitchell Johnson leads Australia from the field, again showing the ball to the MCG. He ends with figures of 5-63, it was the left-armer that was the architect of England's collapse from 202-4 to 255 all out. The last six wickets went for 53 runs. We wondered if England could make a competitive total this morning and now we have the answer. The most disappointing thing is that it was all too predictable.

    Match scorecard
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "Monty played so well that's a disappointing end. The all-round attack for Australia has worked brilliantly throughout the series, they bowl as a unit and they all know what their roles are."

  204. 0022: 
    WICKET- Panesar b Lyon 2 (Eng 255 all out)
    Monty Panesar is bowled

    Oh Monty! Don't shoulder arms there, you'll lose your off stump. Panesar offers no stroke to a Nathan Lyon slider and gets the timbers rattled, rounding off a morning that has seen England blown away. The tourists are 255 all out. Surely not enough...

    Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Cook 27), 2-96 (Carberry 38), 3-106 (Root 24), 4-173 (Bell 27), 5-202 (Stokes 14), 6-215 (Bairstow 10), 7-230 (Bresnan 1), 8-231 (Pietersen 71), 9-242 (Broad 11), 10-255 (Panesar 2)

    Lyon's figures: 22.2-3-67-1

    Full match scorecard

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "I don't know why they've got a fine leg, I can't imagine Monty is going to have a hook."

  206. 0018: 
    OUCH!- Eng 250-9

    Mitchell Johnson is finally withdrawn from the attack after a burst of 3-4 this morning and an overall second new-ball spell of 9-3-18-5. Unbelievable stuff. Maybe Monty Panesar would have preferred it Johnson stayed on? He certainly wasn't targeting Monty's 'special area' in the way that Peter Siddle is. A bullseye, dropping Monty to his haunches. A huge "ooohhhh" inside the MCG when the replay is shown. Why does everyone think it's funny when that happens? It's not funny when you're the man who needs a new box.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Joe Vidler: KP is so frustrating because he could be so much better. Unlike Collingwood who made the best of his limited ability.

    Scott Whittlesea: KP top scorer again and gets a load of grief. This has happened countless times. Give the man a break!

    Benjamin O'Gara: Never judge a wicket before both teams have batted, Anderson may well have a good day.

  208. 0013: 
    Eng 250-9 (Anderson 8, Panesar 0)

    A change, and blessed relief for numbers 10 and 11 looking to get out of Melbourne alive. It's the off-spin of Nathan Lyon, Anderson celebrating the back of Ryan Harris by skipping down the track to biff over mid on for four. Get him up the order.

    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG

    "If anyone in the MCG had been a little sleepy this morning with festive hangovers and the food comas, Johnson's brilliant burst has shaken them violently awake. Even the silenced England supporters are appreciating that this is a sensational demonstration of how to clean up a tail. It's as if the last 15 years of tail-enders learning to bat had never happened."

  210. 0010: 
    Eng 246-9

    You feel that one on the stumps might do for James Anderson here, but at the minute the Burnley Lara has the freedom to swish and miss outside off stump. A fiddle with the the helmet, a touch of the armguard, ready for another 90mph bullet. A push through the off side for two , Jimmy hitting the deck to make sure he isn't sconned but Peter Siddle's throw. Laughs between Anderson and George Bailey. Weren't they going at each other in Brisbane?

    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "Johnson's bowling has been incredible to watch and certainly must be difficult to face, he's just blowing England away with the pace and hostility and the accuracy. It's those bouncers causing all the problems, he's fizzing them down.

    "Pietersen yesterday found it difficult to score and there's no question the message would have been to play more freely but that shot just sends out a complete lack of respect to numbers 9, 10 and 11. England yesterday couldn't get out of first gear and this morning they've tried to play in sixth gear, you've got to give yourselves a chances."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  212. 0006: 
    Eng 243-9 (Harris 2-47 off 24)

    So a last-wicket leftie pair is at the crease for the beasty Aussie pacers to feast on. I wonder if Monty and Jimmy are doing their best to stay away from Johnson's end? It's Anderson who must face the music after an edged single off Harris. Monty, to be fair, is getting in line quite solidly.

    Text 81111

    Ray, Southampton: KP batting with the tail that includes Anderson and Monty. Thank God he was out slogging and not trying to accumulate. Let's be fair and judge it on the situation rather than the man.

    Ian, Herts: Every dog has it's day. This Aussie team won't be around in a few years time and neither team will be the same, then it will all start again.

  214. 0002: 
    Eng 242-9

    Number 11 Monty Panesar shows great bravery to resist the Johnson juggernaut, but surely it won't be long before England are bowling. Yes, we can't be sure what a good score is, but 242-9 is not it.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Peter Loader: Think we need to leave KP alone and let him play cricket. When he tries to think about the situation he makes the wrong decision.

    Philip Roberts: KP is allowed to go for it when he's batting with the tail. Poor yesterday from all the other batsmen.

    Hugh Moxon: I honestly don't get the criticism of KP, he's now the 4th highest England run scorer and he's top scored in this innings.

  216. 0000: 
    Mitchell Johnson

    Mitchell Johnson has done it again. He has blown England's lower order away with the second new ball, now holding it above his head to celebrate a five-wicket haul. England were 201-4 when the new ball was taken last evening, Johnson didn't have a wicket. He now has a 10th five-fer in Tests and England have lost five for 40.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Start up the roller. It was fast and straight it was just a matter of time. When Stuart Broad didn't think about a review you know it must have been straight. It's just too fast for them. Now Monty and if Johnson bowls it straight he could knock his block off, he's never going to see it."

  218. 2358: 
    WICKET- Broad lbw Johnson 11 (Eng 242-9)
    Mitchell Johnson strikes

    As plumb as plumb can be. Full and straight from Mitchell Johnson, very similar to the delivery that injured Stuart Broad in Perth, and the result is just the same. Broad is back on his stumps, his front pad preventing what would have been a total castleing. Even Broad, that great lover of a review, doesn't bother.

    Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Cook 27), 2-96 (Carberry 38), 3-106 (Root 24), 4-173 (Bell 27), 5-202 (Stokes 14), 6-215 (Bairstow 10), 7-230 (Bresnan 1), 8-231 (Pietersen 71), 9-242 (Broad 11).

    Johnson's figures: 22.2-3-60-5

    Full match scorecard

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "For batsmen it's hard enough to play this short stuff at this pace, for tailenders it's almost impossible, it's just a matter of luck and hoping you get a few edges."

    Live TMS commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  220. 2356: 
    DROPPED CATCH- Eng 242-8

    Tough to call this a drop, it would have been a screamer of a caught and bowled from Harris. The hopping Broad loops a chance back to the hulking pacer, who has to change direction to get to the ball. He dives with one hand, but can't hold on. Harris puts his head to the turf in disappointment, but you sense another chance isn't far away.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Jordan King: Kevin Pietersen. That is the most brainless, spineless, gutless way to give your wicket away. Just gift them 5-0 lads. Pathetic.

    Tom Gilthorpe: I think that shot tells us how much KP rates Broad's batting.

    Kevin Richards: Fed up of all of the KP bashing. 'Too cautious' yesterday and today slammed for getting out trying to be aggressive. Pick one!

  222. 2353: 
    Eng 241-8

    Broad has changed his batting stance so that's he's leaning over his front leg, all his weight going down towards the bowler. That might be to correct a previous problem of going too far back on his stumps, but it doesn't seem a very good way to deal with the chin music. He gets a single off Johnson, then watches on as Anderson skips around to survive. Have a look at this picture of the Pietersen dismissal. The bail travelled further than the ball and I think the Aussie slips are laughing in the background.

    Kevin Pietersen
    Text 81111

    Andrew: Mitchell Johnson has officially completed his Ashes resurrection by demolishing England during this Series. Who would have imagined could ever recover from the ridicule of 3 years ago. It's a true fairytale sporting comback.

    Al, Birmingham: We had it great for a while though it seems a lifetime ago.

    Phil, Wrexham: Losing the Urn is this manner has been heartbreaking and bewildering. The 5-0 catastrophe is very much on.

  224. 2348: 
    Eng 240-8 (92 overs)

    Stuart Broad will not die wondering, his bat is there to be thrown. A thick edge, a decent cover drive, Harris taken for a couple of boundaries. You like it in your half, Stuart? Get ready for the chin music. Field changes, short leg, men on the hook, Broad doing well to turn one off his hips for a single. His only problem now is that he's on strike to Mitchell.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Mike Wren-Kirkham: Extremely irresponsible from Pietersen, he needed to be aggressive but that's just reckless.

    Jack of all trades: Let's "not" criticise KP for that wicket that's the way he plays, what a horrible heave across the line.

    John Skelton VI: All the people slating Bresnan are idiots, try facing a near perfect bouncer at 90mph first up.

    Tim Bresnan
  226. 2344: 
    Eng 231-8

    James Anderson is the next rabbit into the headlights. England have lost four wickets for 29 runs, all to Johnson with the new ball.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "That's just a slog isn't it. Trying to slog a guy who's the quickest on either teams. He tried to graft yesterday but that's just silly. When guys bowl that quick, rocket pace, newish ball which zips, your chances of slogging across the line are very slim. If he'd tried to hit straight there would be a bit more chance. That just summed up the weakness of his thinking sometimes."

  228. 2339: 
    WICKET- Pietersen b Johnson 71 (Eng 231-8)
    Kevin Pietersen

    Oh Kevin. We expected Pietersen to play some shots, but this is awful, ugly and unnecessary. He steps back in his crease, aims a huge slog that would have landed in the Yarra had he connected, but loses his middle stump to a Mitchell Johnson in-swinger. Pietersen deserves credit for his knock and you can understand that he was trying to get runs with the tail, but that didn't look very good.

    Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Cook 27), 2-96 (Carberry 38), 3-106 (Root 24), 4-173 (Bell 27), 5-202 (Stokes 14), 6-215 (Bairstow 10), 7-230 (Bresnan 1), 8-231 (Pietersen 71)

    Johnson's figures: 20.5-2-59-4

    Pietersen's statistics: 161 balls, 5 fours and 1 six

    Full match scorecard

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Ben Gibbins: Bresnan proving why he should be nowhere near this team. Poor batsmen, average bowler. Put some kind of specialist in instead

    Reverend Liam Reilly: Leave. The. Short. Ball. How is this idea so difficult?

    Smithy: Feeling sorry for KP slated for being aggressive and now slated for being cautious.....can't win.

  230. 2338: 
    Eng 231-7

    Boos for Stuart Broad, who is away right away with a single. What does Pietersen do now? Is it time to carry the fight? Replays show what a brute of a ball that was to Bresnan. Yes, he got in a tangle and was disappointed with himself, but there wasn't much he could do. It was brilliant from Johnson.

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "It's a typical tailender's shot, take your eye off the ball as it leaps up at your heart you've no chance. I don't know why they don't duck. What do they do in the nets?"

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

  232. 2335: 
    WICKET- Bresnan c Bailey b Johnson 1 (Eng 230-7)
    Johnson dismisses Bresnan

    Gone! Mitchell Johnson strikes with his first ball of the day. It's an absolute snorter to Tim Bresnan, dug in at the heart. He can only get his bat up to stop himself from being decapitated, looping the ball over short leg, where George Bailey turns and scampers to take a very good catch. The 'G erupts, Australia mob Johnson, the man with the mo who has done it again. A horrible start for England.

    Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Cook 27), 2-96 (Carberry 38), 3-106 (Root 24), 4-173 (Bell 27), 5-202 (Stokes 14), 6-215 (Bairstow 10), 7-230 (Bresnan 1).

    Johnson's figures: 20.1-2-59-3

    Full match scorecard

    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Just like me he plays himself in! I wonder how Kevin is at home, that lass he married must wonder what side of the bed he's going to get out of."

  234. 2334: 
    Eng 230-6 (Pietersen 71, Bresnan 1)

    So, Kevin, you went 152 balls for four boundaries yesterday and are one in one today. It's wide from Harris, with Pietersen throwing the bat to go over the leap of point. Harris, 20 overs for 32 runs yesterday, is back to being the miser for the rest of the over. Blasting out Jerusalem, the large Barmy Army contingent are already in good voice.

  235. 2330: 

    Ah, the men in the wide-brimmed sunhats have made it, followed by the Baggy Greens and the blue-helmeted England batsmen. Pietersen, on 67, is accompanied by Tim Bresnan, who has one.

    Pietersen is already having a chat with Brad Haddin, but it looks good natured. The MCG is nowhere near as full as it was yesterday, more than half the seats are empty. It looks muggy.

    Ryan Harris has the ball, Pietersen on strike. Let's play.

  236. 2327: 

    The lush MCG turf is being cleared, ready for play to begin. No sign of the umps, though. We were tardy yesterday and could be a touch late again today.

    Text 81111

    From Paul in Manchester: I wonder if Aggers (and many other English cricket journalists) ever read their own articles side by side because they seem to completely contradict themselves from one week to the next. At Perth KP should be dropped for playing shots and he needs to learn to 'apply himself', here he is batting too cautiously. It's all very well saying 'you can bat defensively and still hit boundaries' but that is reliant on getting bad balls which have been rare. In essence what he is asking is for KP to play like Boycott and Richards all at once with the consistency of Bradman.

    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "I want Pietersen to play with a whiff of irresponsibility because that's when he terrifies opponents. If you take that line, you have to cut him more slack."

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Ben Gibbins: England need to get to at least 300 today and make a game of it. Come on KP.

    Apple core: Need Morgan back in the test team! Great man under pressure!

    Ed Smith, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Kevin Pietersen is an unpredictable person. I don't think he always knows what is going on himself. Many players touched with genius have an element about themselves that they don't understand. Not everyone is a super-cool player like Boycott and can play the percentage shot all the time."

    Listen to Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

  241. 2320:  
    BBC Radio Test Match SpecialFOLLOW LIVE WITH THE BBC

    Are you bored of your new phone/tablet/laptop yet? Didn't think so.

    On your gadgets, not only can you follow this informative and entertaining live text, but also listen to commentary from Test Match Special. TMS is live on Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra, which can be heard online, on digital TVs and on the BBC Sport and BBC Radio apps.

    Follow the action with the BBC Sport app

    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG

    "A cool, cloudy morning at the 'G', with England's large if weary support hoping that Kevin Pietersen can add some rare sparkle in this first session. England will want 300 as a minimum, but with the new ball only nine overs old Australia will believe they can rattle KP's tail-ender team-mates out for significantly less."

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Ross Lawson: Really need a performance from Bresnan today. Struggling with bat and ball recently - not good for an all-rounder!

  244. 2315: 

    So what do you reckon? Can Pietersen take England to a competitive total, or are Australia set to dominate once more? Text 81111, tweet using the hashtag #bbccricket or email

    Also, I know Boxing Day is extremely sociable (I left a party in order to come to work tonight), so how will you be following the Test match?

    Tweet or email your pictures, preferably with your phone/tablet/computer in it. The more festive/random the better. If you're in a tropical paradise, you will make us extremely jealous.

  245. 2313: 

    Mitchell Johnson may be relishing another chance to rip through the England tail, but the best chance of English blood being shed at the the MCG could well be in the nets at 3.15pm local time.

    That's when former chat show host and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan will face 10 balls from former Australia fast bowler Brett Lee.

    On the eve of his challenge, Morgan was talking up his chances of showing up one of the fastest bowlers in the history of the game. He said: "I can't decide whether to whack him over that stand or that one. I think Brett, now that he's physically met me, realises it's a bit more of a challenge than he thought.''

  246. 2311: 
    Alastair Cook

    Our chief sports writer Tom Fordyce lamented another difficult day on a disastrous Ashes tour for England captain Alastair Cook. Tom said Cook "looked like a leader in search of a team".

    He wrote: "It is one thing being the captain of a sinking ship. It is another to have several of your senior officers already away in the lifeboats, leaving you bobbing up and down on an inflatable raft with only cabin boys for company and circling sharks all around."

  247. 2310: 

    England batsman Ian Bell praised Pietersen's patience and backed him to steer England to a decent total at the MCG. "It's a great sign to see him scrap it out," said Bell. "If you want one guy to go out there to try to get us up to a competitive total, it would be KP."

  248. 2309: 
    Kevin Pietersen

    Pietersen faced 152 balls for his 67 runs on Thursday and went 44 minutes without scoring early in his innings.

    While he praised Pietersen's fighting qualities, BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said the Surrey batsman's approach was typical of a tentative and over-cautious strategy from England in Melbourne.

  249. 2307: 

    Yep, there's a biggish first hour in prospect as the KP-led England look for a score that will put the Aussies under some pressure.

    What might that score be? Hard to tell - don't judge a pitch until both teams have batted etc. However, it's a good bet that anything under 300 will have England in myther.

  250. 2306: 

    So that is where we begin. After being asked to bat, a string of England batsmen got in, and then got out.

    In the end, they closed the first day on 226-6, an almost comatose Kevin Pietersen battling his way to a four-hour unbeaten 67.

    His only company in a quest to reach a hundred, see England past 300 and fend off a new ball that is only nine overs old is the tail.

    Australia, so happy to bowl dry on day one, will be unleashing raw pace on the second morning in their bid to mop things up.

    Match scorecard
  251. 2305: 

    Australia, on the other hand, looked like they had refrained from the Christmas indulgence to be the first in the queue at the Boxing Day sales.

    No booze, just a light meal, lining up outside a shop full of England batsmen before six in the morning. Bargains to be had.

    Australia celebrate
  252. 2303: 

    OK, it wasn't as bad as some of the suffering that has been inflicted on this disastrous Ashes tour, but day one at MCG ended with Australia in the stronger position.

    England showed some rare fight with the bat, but static progress combined with generosity the Aussies don't really need put the tourists at the bottom of the Christmas tree.

  253. 2301: 

    Sound familiar? Imagine that your hangover was a month in the making, a month when you have been stuffed all around Australia.

    England's opening-day performance at the Boxing Day Test was the result of the nightmare before Christmas.

  254. 2300: 

    Boxing Day. Stuffed full of turkey, maybe a hangover after a sherry too many. Feeling sluggish. A day to do little more than pick through the wreckage of wrapping paper, empty bottles and leftover sprouts.

Live Scores - Australia v England


  • Australia beat England by 8 wickets
  • Australia: 204 & 231-2 (51.5 overs)
  • England: 255 & 179 (61.0 overs)
  • Venue: Melbourne

Australia 2nd Innings

View full scorecard
Rogers c Bairstow b Panesar 116
Warner c Bairstow b Stokes 25
Watson not out 83
Clarke not out 6
Extras 1nb 1
Total for 2 231

From the Archive

Johnners, Aggers & Bearders A trip down memory lane

Classic moments from the TMS archive

The BBC Sport app

BBC Sport app

BBC Sport brings you all the breaking news on its free smartphone app for users in the UK

Get Inspired

How to get into sports and activities near you, plus more about our campaign