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

Australia finish the third day of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne on 30-0, needing 231 to take a 4-0 lead over England.

27 December 2013 Last updated at 23:00

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As it happened

  1. 0727: 

    So the time comes for us to depart, ending another dismal day for England.

    One way or another, you fancy this match will end tomorrow. Can England turn it around?

    If they don't, we're one step closer to another whitewash.

  2. 0725: 

    England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow: "Of course we can do it. In the first innings we bowled them out for less than the target they are chasing. We got the ball moving sideways and bowled with great skill. Hopefully we can take that show of skill into tomorrow.

    "I don't know why we keep collapsing. If we knew that we would have put our fingers on it and moved on. In some areas it is quite difficult to rotate the strike and the fields they have set have been clever. They have bowled well to keep the run-scoring down."

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

    "I hope they don't go home thinking everything will be all right when we get back to England because it damn well isn't."

  4. 0725: 

    And that is the situation we find ourselves in at the end of this third day.

    England are staring down the barrel of another defeat, though may take heart from the fact that wickets have so far fallen in clusters in this low-scoring match.

    Trouble is, this is still a good batting deck.

    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'd like to be in the dressing room telling them what I think. They think they're better than they are, they've won three series against ordinary Australian sides and they think they're world beaters."

  7. 0722: 

    Eight overs to make Australia uncomfortable, but Chris Rogers and David Warner could have been on the settee in a onesie. 30-0, no trouble at all. Come back tomorrow needing another 201 for 4-0.

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

    "There were two good things, Cook played very nicely, nothing extravagant, just nice batting, lovely batting. And Kevin Pietersen was a class apart from the rest, with patience and craftsmanship, never looked in any trouble, nobody could have played any better."

  9. 0721: 

    Pietersen no choice but to go on the offensive. Held on the boundary to give Lyon a fifth. Monty Panesar done by Johnson, the last of five wickets for six runs. From 65-0 to 179 all out. Australia need 231 to win.

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

    "It's the fear factor, Bresnan got one up his nose first innings that nearly decapitated him and because he knows Mitchell Johnson is bowling at the other end he tries to pull one and does silly things at the other end."

  11. 0719: 

    For once, Johnson was not the destroyer, as a scrambled tail-end gifted wickets to Lyon. Horrible shots from Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad made it a full-scale collapse. Once more, three wickets for one run. But we weren't done yet.

  12. 0718: 

    Still there was hope. Kevin Pietersen was again impressive and he got some support from Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. The young pair, though, couldn't carry it through. Stokes holed out to Lyon, Bairstow always looked susceptible to Johnson. When the wicketkeeper was caught behind, the rot set in.

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

    "Carberry is not going to go forward until he learns better footwork on the front foot. He builds pressure for himself. He can't get singles, if you're going to wait for four balls at this level you're going to be waiting a long time. Nobody is hitting Mitchell Johnson he is bowling that quick, you've got to learn to rotate the strike."

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

    "I worry about Carberry because Compton got dropped for playing that way and he has played like that throughout the series, he wasted too many balls when that was the time to score. For Hampshire he has a terrific range of shots through the off-side. There are so many question marks about many of them."

  15. 0714: 

    However, after Cook was pinned lbw by a good one from Mitchell Johnson, the problems began. His partner Michael Carberry has been practically shotless in an 81-ball 12. When he went lbw to Peter Siddle, it began a collapse of three wickets for one run in six balls. Joe Root was foolishly run out by a Johnson direct hit, Ian Bell tamely patted his first delivery from Lyon to mid off. 87-4. Trouble.

  16. 0711: 

    But, even then, England looked to have salvaged the situation with a good opening stand. Alastair Cook was in his best touch of the series, striking 51 from 64 balls, becoming the youngest player to Test history to pass 8,000 Test runs. So far, so good.

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

    "This day promised a great deal for English cricket but finished really disappointingly. I feel very dejected after feeling this was England best chance to win for a long time."

  18. 0709: 

    The horrorshow began with Australia's last-wicket pair. Forty runs were added this morning by Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon as England bowled far too short. By the time Haddin went for 65, England's lead had been cut to 51 runs.

  19. 0707: 

    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.

    Text 81111

    James, Watford: There's a lot of rubbish surrounding the Aussies as they bat. There is also some litter.

    Mark, Hampshire: It obviously means more to the Aussies - they are hungrier. Ability wise not much in it but it's the application. Sounds like a normal Saturday at BWCC.

    Craig Edwards: It is only morbid curiosity that keeps me watching this series. It is like watching a horror movie narrated by Mr Boycott.

  21. 0706: 

    In what has been a series full of bad days, this is right up there with the worst for England. The reason? They began in such a good position. From a 91-run lead with only one wicket left to take, they have managed to slip to 201 runs away from defeat. Is 4-0 looking favourite right now? Would you bet against it?

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Jamie Holmes: England cricketers = joke. So embarrassing to watch

    Stephen: Two defining moments. 1: Carberry 12 of 80 odd balls. Set the tone, no pressure on us, no runs. And 2: Bell out for 0.

    Stuart Flavell: We need a huge dose of "commentator's curse", Bob Willis from '81, or the Aussies to bat like we do.

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

    "Brilliant day from Australia, I can't imagine what's going to be said tonight. There's still a possibility England could cause a shock, they certainly could get the 10 wickets but whatever happens this batting needs to be looked at, you can't keep throwing wickets away."

  24. 0701: 
    CLOSE OF PLAY- Aus 30-0

    Off stump from Stokes, Rogers cutting for a couple then leaving alone. More blowing litter disrupts proceedings, it seems that both sides are happy for this to be the last over of the day. Rogers eases the final delivery through the covers for three and, with that, the bails are removed. Australia close on 30-0. They need another 201 for a 4-0 lead.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Stuart Mitchell: I hope we get whitewashed, just so it's rammed home to the current Squad how bad this is. Careers should be lost because of this.

    The Pete: I know they're under pressure, but it's becoming clearer Cook is not in control and leading this team.

    Matthew Ball: Watching Monty try and field is both hilarious and embarrassing but for an international sportsman it's shocking.

  26. 0656: 
    Aus 25-0

    Another change, Ben Stokes coming on. England might be looking to make this the last of the day.

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

    "Look at this field. They need 231 there are eight minutes to go til the close and there are three men on the boundary, come on!"

  28. 0655: 
    Aus 25-0 (target 231)

    Monty will in fact come on to replace Anderson, bowling with only two catchers and three men out. What exactly is that bloke at deep mid-wicket doing? He must be 30 yards in from the fence, giving Warner loads of room to go over him for four. Panesar seems to check his watch before every delivery. Not long before you can get off the pitch, Monty.

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

    "You can see that this England team are just so flat."

  30. 0651: 
    Aus 21-0 (target 231)

    Panesar indeed approached the crease and removed his hat, only for a rethink to see Stuart Broad continue. As Broad kicks in, the shadow cast by the stand on Rogers' off side creeps ever further towards the pitch. Better length from Broad, but Rogers still able to take two to fine leg with the aid of some good running. Nine minutes left in the day, maybe three overs.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Dan Tinkler: With two mini-collapses of 5-6 and 3-1 England have gifted Aus 8-7! EIGHT FOR SEVEN! We weren't even that bad in the 90's!

    Jordan Preece: Got to feel sorry for the Barmy Army, been let down from day 2 of the first Test, deserve better.

    Josh Land: Put us on the barbi, we're done.

  32. 0646: 
    Aus 18-0 (target 231)

    In fairness to James Anderson, he has made a decent start and is keeping David Warner pretty quiet. Nathan Lyon is padded up to come is nightwatchman. Has anyone ever batted twice and taken five wickets on the same day of Test cricket? Monty is getting loose.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Ben Martin: This is now officially worse than the 90's...simply put Warne vs Lyon. We are making average bowlers look good!

    Martin Horne: Warner will be looking to knock off all 231 before the close tonight.. You just never know these days!

    James Waddington: Horror session. Horror day. Horror Test. Horror series. Yet still can't wait to do these all-nighters again for Sydney.

  34. 0642: 
    Aus 16-0 (target 231)

    Is it embarrassing yet? Too short from Broad, two pull shots, both giving a chase for Monty Panesar. The second retrieve and return is so bad that Australia can run four. Broad gives it the double teapot, but maybe he should think about pitching it up?

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

    "That was the worst display of the series. There are people on Twitter having a go at the batting coach Graham Gooch but don't give the players an excuse. It's not the coach's fault it's the players' fault. There was no excuse for what happened out there."

  36. 0638: 
    Aus 9-0 (target 231)

    It's almost like the hurricane that has blown litter and bits of boundary across the MCG is pushing the shadows further across the turf. Anderson asks for the most optimistic lbw against Warner as the Barmy Army tell us who they are in deafening style. Good from Anderson, keeping Warner honest.

    Text 81111

    Neil, Shropshire: Been watching this all night. My work-bound sister opens the living room door, looks at me and says ''you're weird'' The saddest part is England's performances this winter have given me no room to argue with her.

    Graham, Yorkshire: Back to the 90's for England, when batting collapses were the norm. There's no Waqar & Wasim, Curtley & Courtney or Shane and Glen to explain it.

  38. 0633: 
    Aus 9-0 (target 231)
    David Warner

    Yep, Stuart Broad's first ball is laced through point off the back foot, only prevented from reaching the boundary by some brilliant work from Michael Carberry. Then again, who needs Warner? Rogers is slashing between slips and gully to get four to third man. There's not a chance of Australia playing for the close here, they smell blood.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Andrew Haines: England playing brainless cricket with the bat - series in microcosm today, Australia add 40 for last wicket, England 6 for last 5!

    Joel Bailey: It's got to the point where I value sleep over watching the greatest series in sport. They don't care, so why should I.

    Vijay Dave: Bottom line no central contracts for England players after this tour.

  40. 0628: 
    Aus 2-0 (target 231)

    Ooohhh, a trimmer from Anderson beats the bat first up, but Rogers is away with a couple through the off side. Third slip out, man on the drive instead, Anderson around the wicket. Full, defended. Quietish first over. Now it's Warner time.

  41. 0624: 
    Aus need 231 to win

    So here we go. James Anderson with the ball, Chris Rogers on strike. David Warner is at the other end. I'm expecting him to tee off. In fact, I think he's holding a three wood.

  42. 0623: 
    Aus need 231 to win

    Here England come, a huddle for Alastair Cook to deliver some words. What can you say? I'm not sure I'm allowed to print what I'd be saying.

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    John, Mcr: You have to say that 5 wickets for 6 runs is pretty impressive even by England standards.

    Jon, Ashford, Kent: The plan's worked lads, give 'em the awkward half hour before the end of the day!

    Graham, Yorkshire: After this tour, can any of our batsmen justify a central contract for next season?

  44. 0621: 
    Aus need 231 to win

    Just waking up? You have missed another pretty poor day for England. After letting last-wicket pair Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon add 40 this morning, the tourists have been blown away (again) for 179. Only Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen stood up, twice England lost three wickets for one run as well losing their last five for six runs. Now, the Aussies have a wonderful chance to go 4-0 up.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Kevin Richards: White. Wash.

    David: History says we can win this but logic says 230 is nowhere near enough. Need them at least 3 down by the close.

    MangoPutney: Thoroughly embarrassing. We all believed the hype.

  46. 0618: 
    Nathan Lyon takes the applause

    Australia spinner Nathan Lyon: "I'm pretty proud to get to 100 wickets but we've got a big job to do and that's what I'm more worried about. The ball's been coming out pretty well and I've been lucky enough to get the reward today. We knew we needed to come out here and perform as a unit and take wickets. The pitch is a bit slow but it looks ok. There's no reason why we can't get 231 runs."

  47. 0617: 
    Aus need 231 to win

    And after so much in one day, there's still 16 overs scheduled. There's no way we'll got those in, the cut-off is 0700 GMT. Time for England to strike, or for David Warner to put a huge hole in that target?

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

    "I don't know which way to focus, on the determination of the Aussies or the frailties of the England batsmen, a bit of both I suppose. At one point England were 86-1 and seemingly on course to set a really substantial target.

    "There was another little recovery and they might have felt quite hopeful of victory but there was another collapse. The stand out bowling figures, and this will cause some headaches in the England camp, were 5-60 from Lyon on a pitch which has offered nothing. Let's just say has induced some errors."

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    James Holman: Well that was always going to happen. Can't really blame Pietersen for that, his teammates left him no choice!

    Martyn Hearne: Cannot blame KP has had to attack in both innings as the tail cannot score, he's batted sensibly until given no option.

    James Waddington: Flat. Not spinning. Day Three. Nathan Lyon should not be getting 5-fer. England's batting has been atrocious.

  50. 0613: 
    WICKET- Panesar lbw Johnson 0 (Eng 179 all out)
    Mitchell Johnson

    The Australians were running off before the decision was confirmed. Fast, tailing in, goodnight nurse. England's lower order have been blown away once more, not just by Mitchell Johnson, but by the spin of Nathan Lyon. From 65-0, they have slipped to 179 all out. The last five wickets went down for six runs. The bottom line is that Australia need 231 to win.

    Fall of wickets: 1-65 (Cook 51), 2-86 (Carberry 12), 3-86 (Root 15), 4-87 (Bell 0), 5-131 (Stokes 19), 6-173 (Bairstow 21), 7-174 (Bresnan 0), 8-174 (Broad 0), 9-179 (Pietersen 49), 10-179 (Panesar 0).

    Johnson's figures: 15-5-25-3

    Full match scorecard

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

    "It's one of those reviews I think because he can."

  52. 0612: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Eng 179-9

    Good idea to review Monty, but you look plumber than Plumby McPlumb. Surely this is the end?

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Sameer Akram: How can you have a go at KP for not playing "sensibly" when the rest of the team go and do THAT

    Sheridan Bains: Cringing at how easy our lower batting order has collapsed.

  54. 0607: 

    Yes, as Victor says, Nathan Lyon has five wickets, 5-50 to be exact. In his last two overs he has taken 3-1, including Broad, who was his 100th Test wicket. The MCG rises to acclaim a man who was working as a groundsman during the last Ashes series in Australia. Now, it's Jimmy and Monty versus Johnson.

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

    "I think you can understand where Pietersen is coming from, it was a very good catch from Harris, remember the wind is swirling around the MCG. It was a pretty good innings from Pietersen but a 230 lead you feel is nowhere near enough. Who's got the five-wicket haul, Johnson? No, it's Nathan Lyon, who hasn't turned a ball!"

  56. 0604: 
    WICKET- Pietersen c Harris b Lyon 49 (Eng 179-9)
    Nathan Lyon

    Oh Kevin. It looks ugly, he's holed out to long off from Nathan Lyon. Some may have the knives out for some KP-bashing, but it's hard to criticise given the state of the game, how well he has played and what has been going on at the other end. Could he have knocked it around for a while? Would you after they way the rest have been falling? The bottom line is that England are nine wickets down, 230 ahead.

    Fall of wickets: 1-65 (Cook 51), 2-86 (Carberry 12), 3-86 (Root 15), 4-87 (Bell 0), 5-131 (Stokes 19), 6-173 (Bairstow 21), 7-174 (Bresnan 0), 8-174 (Broad 0), 9-179 (Pietersen 49)

    Lyon's figures: 16.4-3-50-5

    Full match scorecard

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Joe: What must KP be thinking. Someone just stick around. Hold up an end and let KP play. Ridiculous from England. Again!

    Thomas Knights: Words fail me.

    Sam Lipworth: Why are we playing stupid shots at this point? Unbelievably poor batting - show some discipline.

  58. 0602: 
    Eng 178-8 (Pietersen 49, Anderson 0)

    What can Bresnan and Broad have been thinking? Is it simply a case of trying to make hay while they are not facing Johnson? Now Pietersen has to get as many runs as he can with only new man James Anderson and number 11 Monty Panesar for company. After the bail-blowing debacle, his plan is to tee off, crunching Johnson down the ground for four. We could be in for some fun here.

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

    "You don't know whether to stick or twist, I do understand Kevin's got to play a shot or two but I hope he doesn't slog."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  60. 0558: 
    NOT OUT- Eng 174-8

    It's just the wind blowing the bails off. Relax.

  61. 0558: 
    THIRD UMPIRE- Eng 174-8

    Please tell me KP hasn't trodden on his stumps...

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Matthew Ball: Can Bresnan please be removed from the England team now? Never been more than average

    Weston: Selecting Bairstow ahead of Buttler was a big error, was even better to stick with Prior. He is out of his depth at this level.

    Sam Rao: Can we put to bed the "Bresnan is an all rounder" myth now?!

  63. 0554: 
    WICKET- Broad c Clarke b Lyon 0 (Eng 174-8)

    This is beyond stupid. Stuart Broad is England's number nine. He is on nought and has faced two balls. At the other end, Kevin Pietersen has 45. Broad's plan? Aim a drive at Nathan Lyon. The problem? He gets a thick edge to Michael Clarke at slip. Tailender or not, that is brainless cricket. The end is coming quickly.

    Michael Clarke catches Stuart Broad

    Fall of wickets: 1-65 (Cook 51), 2-86 (Carberry 12), 3-86 (Root 15), 4-87 (Bell 0), 5-131 (Stokes 19), 6-173 (Bairstow 21), 7-174 (Bresnan 0), 8-174 (Broad 0)

    Lyon's figures: 16-3-49-4

    Full match scorecard

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

    "His eyes lit up thinking 'where am I going to get a run if Mitchell Johnson is bowling' he's looking to smite something and it wasn't there. It's just bad batting, it wasn't that short."

  65. 0549: 
    WICKET- Bresnan b Lyon 0 (Eng 174-7)
    Tim Bresnan

    What an awful, awful shot. If Mitchell Johnson isn't going to blast you out, then maybe just gift your wicket to Nathan Lyon? Tim Bresnan is looking to pull a ball that is nowhere near short enough, but can only get an under-edge on to the stumps. He waits to confirm that keeper Haddin wasn't the one to dislodge the bails, maybe to save some face from the shocking shot. The replay condemns him, yes Tim, it was that bad.

    Fall of wickets: 1-65 (Cook 51), 2-86 (Carberry 12), 3-86 (Root 15), 4-87 (Bell 0), 5-131 (Stokes 19), 6-173 (Bairstow 21), 7-174 (Bresnan 0)

    Lyon's figures: 15.2-2-49-3

    Full match scorecard

    Text 81111

    From Graham in Yorkshire: England have to start looking to the future and I think Alex Lees is our next star batsman. Our future top 3 will be Cook, Lees and Root, but not necessarily that order.

  67. 0547: 
    Eng 174-6

    There's been a lot of chat in this match about the drop-in pitch, which may have you wondering what on earth we are talking about. Well, because the MCG (like a lot of grounds down under) is mainly used for Aussie rules, they grow the square elsewhere before dropping it in. Hence the term. Geddit?


    BBC TMS: Mitchell Johnson has 30 wickets in this series. He is the first bowler to take 30 or more in any Test series since Warne in 2005 and the first to take 30 wickets or more in Australia since Craig McDermott in 1994/95.


    From Big Col: Scotsman sat at MCG surrounded by nervous Poms and Aussies. Glad to report though that temperature just dropped 10 degrees in a matter of seconds. Phew.

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

    "It's not rocket science is it? Play the good bowler out of the attack and wait for the others that you can hit."

  71. 0544: 
    DRINKS BREAK- Eng 174-6

    The Johnson-Pietersen battle is now cricketing, rather than verbal, with a man on the hook lurking in the shadows. Johnson is back of a length, KP using his height to ride the bounce. He declines a single by raising a hand so high it looks like he's waving to someone in the crowd. How many more might Mitch have? Drinks.

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

    "Pietersen has played very well, he's got his head down and tried really hard. If he played like this all the time with common sense and responsibility he'd get even more runs."

  73. 0540: 
    Eng 174-6 (lead by 225)

    Nathan Lyon switches ends, tweaking them down as the re-appearing sun casts lengthening shadows. Pietersen continues to tower for England, a single allows Bresnan to play the rest of the over back. KP will have the strike to Johnson, which will please Bresnan more than anyone else in Melbourne.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    David: We're always being told about Bresnan's batting. Time to make them when it really really counts son.

    Henry: And there is Bairstow gone - Can Bresnan step up and hold the tail with KP? England need another run of form here.

    Thomas Knights: Have to feel for KP, batting nicely again and quickly running out of partners again.

  75. 0535: 
    APPEAL - NOT OUT- Eng 173-6
    Australian fans

    The wind is up in Melbourne, the wind is up England. The 'G is alive once more, hoping for English carnage. New man Tim Bresnan is pinned first ball, the whole of Victoria appeals, but there's nothing doing. There are 24 overs remaining in the day. Can we say with certainty that England will face them all?

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

    "That is what I've been saying all along with Mitchell Johnson, you can look to be positive but you've got to be very careful, he's a genuinely fast bowler and if the ball is not there you're going to get out. Only when the ball is really very short or full play it positively for runs, other than that he's too dangerous."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  77. 0532: 
    WICKET- Bairstow c Haddin b Johnson 21 (173-6)
    Mitchell Johnson celebrates

    Did you think Jonny Bairstow would last long against Mitchell Johnson? It was always likely to end this way. Full, wide of off stump, Bairstow can't resist a waft, getting only a thin tickle through to Brad Haddin. The door to the rabbit hutch is open, Mitch has his sights on the tail.

    Fall of wickets: 1-65 (Cook 51), 2-86 (Carberry 12), 3-86 (Root 15), 4-87 (Bell 0), 5-131 (Stokes 19), 6-173 (Bairstow 21)

    Lyon's figures: 11.3-3-21-2

    Full match scorecard

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Glen James: Dad'll be disappointed, but unsurprised, when he wakes to see what's happened. I've pinched the last of the Mississippi Mud Pie.

  79. 0530: 
    Eng 172-5 (lead by 223)
    Chris Rogers catches a beach ball

    All manner of objects are sweeping across in the strong wind, like an old landfill site. The bails have been changed, and England will hope the replacements have glue on them. Pietersen has found a great ally in Bairstow and there is no way through for Harris. Johnson is coming in for another over, however, and it's back to Stephan to describe it.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Henry: Mitchell Johnson v KP - Can the MCG hold so much Swagger? Intensity rising here, finally some entertainment.

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

    "Johnson is telling him to watch the game, but something had distracted Pietersen. Johnson is giving it to him. This will be great entertainment now."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  82. 0523: 
    Eng 169-5 (Pietersen 40, Bairstow 21)

    Here's Johnson, his thick black moustache baring down on the batsmen like an unruly relative of Lord Lucan. And there is tension as Pietersen pulls away just as the left-arm paceman bowls, spotting something behind the arm. An incensed Johnson throws the ball to wicketkeeper Haddin anyway and adds a few expletives towards KP for good measure. Bails are being blown off, but only by the wind at present, great drama.

    Kevin Pietersen and Mitchell Johnson exchange words
  83. 0516: 
    Eng 168-5 (lead by 219)

    They say it's 38 degrees Celsius out there but there is a stiffish breeze blowing some rubbish across the playing area, may be time for the heavy bails. The stumps are bright yellow in this series but the bails remain the traditional natural colour. It's not Johnson back in the attack but the creaking Harris, who Clarke obviously feels still has the guile to dislodge these two strokeplayers. Bairstow picks up four more though with a thick edge through gully.


    From Ken: A big thank-you to Andy, London at 0219 for solving a Christmas Day mystery. At Christmas lunch in our home-town of Melbourne we were confounded by the bewildering Cracker joke: Q. Why don't Elephants like penguins? A. Because they can't get the wrappers off. I think Andy has given us enough info to solve the puzzle.

  85. 0511: 
    Eng 164-5 (Pietersen 39, Bairstow 17)
    Jonny Bairstow

    Bairstow is dealing in sixes! His first two scoring strokes sailing into the crowd over long-on, the latest of them gathered by some jubilant England fans. He then sweeps stylishly for four more, a delightful burst of scoring from the wicketkeeper. Pietersen has a word of advice mid-over for his young colleague, who demonstrates his confidence by pinching the strike.

  86. 0508: 
    Eng 153-5 (Pietersen 39, Bairstow 6)

    Johnson goes through his stretches menacingly at mid-on and it is not going to be long before the next instalment as Pietersen seizes on to a short one from Siddle to lash ruthlessly to the mid-wicket fence, then drives the final ball of the over majestically through the covers for four more.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    David: Shortly the missus will come down to prepare for work, she'll ask as always 'why?' I'll look forlornly and say 'I don't know'.

  88. 0503: 
    Eng 145-5 (lead by 196)

    There's a way to get off the mark, a 94 metre six over long-on from Bairstow, taking a step down the pitch to Lyon and shovelling the ball over the ropes.

    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG

    "One question on everyone's lips at the MCG after tea: how much is enough? No team has successfully chased more than 183 at this ground since the pitches went drop-in back in 1996, but you sense that Australia's belligerent hitters will fancy chasing down at least that. Every run, all are agreed, could be critical."

  90. 0500: 
    Eng 139-5 (Pietersen 31, Bairstow 0)
    Kevin Pietersen avoids a bouncer

    Still it's the dependable Siddle, who sends in a surprise bouncer timed at 'only' 83mph but from the violent manner on which Pietersen jerked his head back in evasive action it looked quicker. A maiden, and nothing reckless from KP.

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

    "So much hinges on this pair for England. Pietersen has played well, circumspectly by his standards."

  92. 0455: 
    Eng 139-5 (lead by 190)

    Lyon tests Bairstow from round the wicket, there are a few rough patches beginning to emerge but it is mainly the pressure of the match situation taxing the young Yorkshireman. For the moment his defence looks OK.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Weston Mberikwazvo: So Stokes is now fully integrated into the English team and culture. Loose strokes when the team needs you the most!

    Matthew Ball: Good captaincy from Clarke. Forced that shot with the 'in between' mid off.

  94. 0452: 
    Eng 138-5 (Pietersen 30, Bairstow 0)

    Surely the old pantomime villain himself Mr Johnson will be back in the attack before long but for the moment it is Siddle, and he finds the edge of Pietersen's bat but it goes along the ground through the slips for four, which are all welcome. Pietersen also clips a full toss towards two men close in on the leg-side, an outstretched Bailey appears to get a fingertip to it but England's premier batsman remains.

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

    "It feels like Stokes has been suckered there. He likes to attack, and we shouldn't take that away from him, but I'm not sure where he was trying to hit that. Smith was 15 metres in from the boundary and it was straight to him. Lyon is picking up wickets and that's a big blow for England. They were looking composed. The lead is still substantial, but they need much more."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  96. 0445: 
    WICKET- Stokes c Smith b Lyon 19 (Eng 131-5)
    Nathan Lyon and Michael Clarke celebrate

    Stokes had looked so good, emphatic in defence, but he could not resist a drive at Lyon, he did not get hold of it and Smith took a simple catch in the covers. The lead is 182 and we're not sure how many more can be added.

    Fall of wickets: 1-65 (Cook 51), 2-86 (Carberry 12), 3-86 (Root 15), 4-87 (Bell 0), 5-131 (Stokes 19)

    Lyon's figures: 10.5-1-30-2

    Full match scorecard

  97. 0442: 
    Eng 131-4 (lead by 182)

    Pietersen clips Siddle right out of the middle of the bat into the vast acreage of perfectly manicured turf through mid-wicket at this imposing venue and ambles through for three. Signs of exasperation from captain Clarke in the slip cordon.

    Highest run chases at the MCG

    England Cricket: The highest fourth innings chases at the MCG.

  99. 0438: 
    Eng 125-4 (Pietersen 20, Stokes 16)

    Stokes, using his feet to good effect against the spin of Lyon, takes on Johnson, who even manages to hit the stumps from deep mid-on, the bail flying up and nearly felling the bowler but Stokes is safely home and Kevin is calmly rotating the strike at present too.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Stuart Flavell: Let's all calm down a bit, on day 1 we'd have taken this position. A lead of 250+ on this track and it will not be easy chase!!

  101. 0435: 
    Eng 121-4 (lead by 172)

    Pietersen looks up for this challenge and drives Siddle powerfully to the square cover boundary. Is it going to be one of his classic innings or is there a reckless stroke looming for his critics to feast upon?

  102. 0432: 

    Since the drop in pitch was first used at the MCG in 1996, the highest fourth innings Test run chase has been 183 but even so you feel Australia would be confident chasing quite a bit more than that.

  103. 0430: 

    Buoyed by a teatime mini caramel shortcake or two richer than Roman Abramovich, we can contemplate the final session of the day. The England tailenders might have struggled to keep much down during the break given the prospect of facing Mitchell Johnson. Pietersen and Stokes have looked ok but Jonny Bairstow is next and then it is Bresnan, Broad, Anderson and Monty.

  104. 0418: 

    On TMS, Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland is the tea-time guest. Here, Jamie Lillywhite will talk you through the beginning of the evening session.

  105. 0417: 

    Kevin Pietersen and Ben Stokes have steadied the ship, putting the match back in the balance. However, with a tail as strong as a poppadom, England need much more from this pair if they are to move into a math-winning position. At tea on day three, they are 166 ahead with six second-innings wickets in hand.

  106. 0416: 

    The static Carberry went lbw, then Root wrongly chose to take on Mitchell Johnson's arm before Ian Bell patted Nathan Lyon to the same fielder for a golden blob. Six balls, three wickets, one run.

    Ian Bell
  107. 0414: 
    Eng 115-4

    Yep, for a little while the wheels, axel, gearbox and engine were falling off as England conspired to lose four wickets for 22 runs. After Alastair Cook was pinned leg before for 51, the rest hit the self-destruct button.

    Australia run out Joe Root
  108. 0412: 
    TEA INTERVAL- Eng 115-4

    David Warner is another Aussie never shy of something to say and he's chirping away again here. Pietersen single off Harris - it really does feel as though England are coming through the storm now - before Stokes covers up for the break. England take tea on 115-4, a lead of 166. That doesn't tell the story of the session, though.

    Match scorecard
    Text 81111

    Dan, St. James, Barbados: Carberry lies 2nd behind Pietersen in the England run-scoring list this series. He doesn't get flustered, he has the temperament, just needs the time and backing.

    Michael, Manchester: Great shout by Sam Lipworth at 0312, saying we will be 100-4 within 30 minutes. At 0342 we were at 100-4.

  110. 0407: 
    Eng 114-4 (lead by 165)

    Still the leg trap is set by Johnson for Pietersen, who seems to be taking a guess when the bumper might come by jumping back into his crease. In goes a gully, Pietersen works a couple to leg. Johnson doesn't seem to wearing his sports bra today, which maybe is why he feels manly enough to have a word with KP. One more before the break.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    David: In these long innings rotation is vital to keep up momentum. I've now been inspired to alternate beer and tea to stay awake.

    James Bamford: Who cares about run rate, let's tire their bowlers out for a change! Oh and marmite>vegemite every day of the week!

  112. 0402: 
    Eng 110-4 (lead by 161)

    Still Harris, now around the wicket to leftie Stokes. The sun that bathed the ground for most of the morning is gone for now. It's not gloomy, but there's white clouds over the cricketing theatre to dim the sunshine. Mitchell Johnson signs some autographs, including the scorebook of a young fella in a Barmy Army T-shirt. Traitor.

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

    "Stokes, the new kid on the block, plays further forward on the front foot than our opening batsman, Carberry."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  114. 0358: 
    Eng 107-4 (Pietersen 10, Stokes 9)

    Didn't we say that Mitch 2.0 stuffs one per session down the leg side? Here it is again, conceding a couple of leg byes to Stokes. This pair have added 20 now. Change of plan for Pietersen, in comes short leg and back go the scouts for the final ball. Bumper? No, the bluff. Full. Almost works too. Just over 10 minutes until tea.

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

    "Harris has no zip, I'd be very surprised to see him in Sydney with only three days rest. He's quicker than Watson but anyone is quicker than Watson, my mum bowled quicker than him in our back garden."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  116. 0352: 
    Eng 103-4 (lead by 154)

    Harris is covering the ball as he runs in, looking to hide which way it will swing. Bar that attempt to run out Pietersen, Stokes has had looked decent so far, playing forward with that bandaged front arm nice and high. A maiden. The crowd, previously gripped by the England collapse, is Mexican waving.

    Text 81111

    Alex Dawson, Bristol: Another late night, another England collapse. And to rub salt in the wounds there are only Fosters left in the fridge.

    Kofi, London: University student inspired by England's performance yesterday to drink loads of coffee to watch today's exploits. Yet for my troubles I get to watch another shocking collapse in the works. Can't get to sleep but I'm so dispirited that if KP goes I'll stop watching and start doing next year's coursework!

  118. 0348: 
    CLOSE!- Eng 103-4

    Did we think England were riding the wave? Call on Mitchell Johnson, the man who was omnipresent even when he wasn't bowling. Probably two bursts either side of tea here, reversing the ball at 90mph+. Stokes looks decent at the moment, confidently coming forward. The live text team ponders Johnson's return from figure of fun to destroyer of Ashes dreams. Not so much a comeback, as a regeneration. He's like Doctor Who. Ben Stokes, what is this call? Pietersen would have been a mile out had Siddle's throw hit.

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

    "With this pair their mindset is score but I wouldn't go into fifth gear yet, play in second and third to start and don't gift them any more wickets. The problem is Mitchell Johnson can get thrown the ball very shortly and he's created havoc. Not only is he putting the batsmen in trouble with his deliveries there is also more happening at the other end, you start thinking about Johnson and forget about what the guy bowling is doing."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  120. 0342: 
    Eng 100-4 (lead by 153)

    Ryan Harris, all stubble and chest, returns, allowing Pietersen to drive square for a couple. Has the sting just abated, just a little? The 'G seems a little calmer. No England supporters have been heard for a while, mind.

    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG

    "There are many things for an English supporter to lament about that spell of three wickets for one run in six balls, but not least is the fact that the top order has had to contribute in this series or the innings is lost. England's tail has not wagged but barely stirred; with Johnson seemingly Midas Mitch after the run-out of Root and catch of Bell, one wonders what further damage he will do when he begins his now customary lower order clear-up."

  122. 0338: 
    CLOSE!- Eng 100-4

    What on earth is that leave from Ben Stokes? Left on length alone, Siddle's delivery just clears the middle stump. That's more like it lad, use the bat. Pull for four, 100 up.

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

    "You just always think with Kevin Pietersen that anything could happen, the entertainer, you are never sure if he's going to take the fielders on or knock it down for one, what's he going to go for."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  124. 0334: 
    Eng 95-4 (lead by 146)

    Three catchers for Lyon to KP, the imposing England number four doing a better job than Joe Root of taking a single to Mitchell Johnson. Throw missed, did KP have a chirp at Johnson there? Ooohhh, that's a rozzer from Lyon to Stokes, turning the leftie inside out. All happening.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    James Waddington: This kind of performance in a series has been coming for some time. Shocking batting displays since New Zealand tour.

    Chris Harvey: With all due respect to Jonny Bairstow, the game is over if this partnership doesn't fire.

    George Martin: Bell and Root should be locked in a room with Sir Geoffrey for a couple of hours.

  126. 0330: 
    Eng 92-4 (lead by 143)

    Oh the horror. It was three wickets in six balls for one run. Can cool heads prevail? Stokes, a tattooed red-top, is the calmest man in Melbourne as he leaves Siddle outside off stump. It's hard no to like the cut of his jib. The sun has retreated slightly, the daylight not so bright. A maiden. Tense.

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

    "Look at the Australian body language. It was only an hour of so again they looked down, flat, stuck for ideas. Johnson has caused panic once again for England, the wicket of Cook and then the run out of Root which was amazing."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  128. 0326: 
    Eng 92-4 (lead by 143)

    You just can't help but feel that this could be England's last meaningful partnership. New man Ben Stokes, he of the maiden Test ton in Perth, is solid on the front dog against Lyon. From bat being on top, the game has turned to every-ball-could-be-a-wicket. Ah, counter-punch from KP, skip to biff through mid off for four. What's all the fuss about?

    Henry Blofeld, BBC Test Match Special

    "Everything in Australia is jubilant, even the spider cam is bouncing up and down."

  130. 0324: 
    Eng 87-4 (lead by 138)

    In case you've forgotten, from four wickets down England added only 82 more runs in the first innings. Pietersen, as if not aware of what has been going on at the other end, looks good on the front foot then whips Siddle straight at one of the two short mid-wickets that must even follow him when he takes a leak. Has this woken you from you sleep? You're not dreaming.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Thomas Knights: This is just awful. The worst England tour in memory is getting worse by the over. Fuming at the total lack of fight and skill.

    Daniel Ashmore: What about a 300 lead now after 87-4? Seem more appealing now to trolls? Match now on a pivot. Next hour crucial.

    Ollie Clamp: Can you confirm what I've just seen on my news feed 87-4? Actually?

  132. 0320: 
    Eng 87-4 (lead by 138)

    Can you believe what is happening? Three wickets have gone down in two overs. The MCG is absolutely rocking, everyone in Melbourne right behind the Aussies. The home side will know that one more wicket will have them right amongst England. The tail has contributed nothing in this series. England's biggest hope is that man Pietersen.

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

    "What is that? I can't believe what I've just seen there. Bell just prods it and it goes straight to mid-off. Kevin Pietersen has had a lot of criticism for silly shots in that series, that is a lot worse than anything Pietersen did. I'm absolutely staggered with that shot. There's no excuse it doesn't stop in the surface, and Australia are right back in this Test match."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  134. 0315: 
    WICKET- Bell c Johnson b Lyon 0 (Eng 87-4)
    Australia celebrate

    Ian Bell is out first ball! It's falling apart for England in the blink of an eye. Just two balls after the Root run-out, Bell pokes at Nathan Lyon, offering the simplest chance to that man Mitchell Johnson at mid off. England have lost four wickets for 22 runs and Australia are bouncing. At the very best for England, this game is in the balance. At worst, they are in the soup.

    Fall of wickets: 1-65 (Cook 51), 2-86 (Carberry 12), 3-86 (Root 15), 4-87 (Bell 0)

    Lyon's figures: 6.4-1-18-1

    Full match scorecard

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

    "It was a nice shot from Joe Root but the ball bounced nicely for Mitchell Johnson in his left hand, the game has been turned on its head in the last half an hour. The ball is reverse swinging, the easiest time to bat was in the first 20 overs. Michael Carberry wasted a lot of deliveries."

  136. 0312: 
    WICKET- Root run out 15 (Eng 86-3)
    Joe Root

    What on earth is going on out there? Just when England looked to have Australia by the baggy green, this match turns. It's a calamity for Joe Root, who is run out, perhaps in his keenness to rotate the strike. It's the right idea, but it's the wrong shot to run on. A push wide of mid off, swooped on Mitchell Johnson, who hits direct at the non-striker's end to beat Root's dive. Sloppy from Root, but brilliant from Johnson. Did Root forget Johnson is a leftie?

    Fall of wickets: 1-65 (Cook 51), 2-86 (Carberry 12), 3-86 (Root 15)

    Full match scorecard

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Jamie Forster: Right KP be positive, not reckless. Attack Lyon but be responsible.

    Aadz: 12 runs 81 balls faced, what was Nick Compton doing wrong?

    Sam Lipworth: Looking very ominous indeed, we desperately need runs or we'll be 100-4 in 30 mins.

  138. 0309: 
    Eng 86-2

    Is the stage set for Kevin Pietersen? He was un-Pietersen-like in the first innings, grafting what is now looking like a vital 71. Now, though, you feel that a full-flow KP could win this match for England. For once in this series, he has something of a licence.

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

    "He's done a lot of hard work, Carberry, with minimal reward. But if you bowl round the wicket in the tension of a Test match he doesn't seem to know where to go."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  140. 0305: 
    WICKET- Carberry lbw Siddle 12 (Eng 86-2)
    Peter Siddle

    Michael Carberry's torturous vigil is over. Peter Siddle pins him from around the wicket and, though it looks a bit leggy, Carberry heads off. Root calls him back - maybe a review? No, too late. Maybe Carberry and had enough of scratching around. Replays show it was just clipping the leg peg. The bottom line is that Australia have another.

    Fall of wickets: 1-65 (Cook 51), 2-86 (Carberry 12)

    Carberry's innings: 123 minutes, 81 balls, one four

    Siddle's figures: 6.5-3-15-1

    Full match scorecard

    Text 81111

    Gareth, Omagh: Re Aussie export (0205) The Triffids - best band in the world mid eighties to mid nineties. Tragic early death robbed us of them. And The Gobetweens of course. And the Alessi sisters in Neighbours....

  142. 0302: 
    Eng 81-1 (Carberry 12 from 80 balls)

    Lyon, the willowy John Cleese lookalike, skips in with a towel poking from the back of his trousers. Carberry, almost like a man inventing batting, looks to be battling his urge to attack. Prodding defence, laughs from behind the stumps. Biff on the off side, straight at the fielder. Cat-and-mouse maiden.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Zeshaan Mahmood: England to get bogged down. pressure mounts. Aussies to get 1-2 before tea. England likely to be 4-5 down before close of play.

    Steven Listentome: In this position every run counts double (effectively). 2 an over and don't lose wickets is ok.

    Paul: Haddin continues to chirp even after clearly not out. Bad sportmanship. Poor.

  144. 0258: 
    Eng 81-1 (lead by 132)

    Johnson withdrawn, replaced by the bustling accuracy of Peter Siddle. Australia plan to bowl dry, England's task is to absorb the pressure while at the same time keep the scoreboard ticking. Siddle charges in to the shirt-front wicket, Carberry drops and runs on the off side, then Root threads to third man. Single, two. Good cricket.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Matthew Rowell: If Hotspot is never conclusive and Snicko is always needed, why don't we just get rid of it?

    Ben Gibbins: This is where Carberry's slow scoring can hurt England. Heaping pressure on Root to score against a pumped up Johnson...

    Sam Roberts: Aleem Dar has made a couple of awful decisions in this Test match.

  146. 0254: 
    Eng 78-1 (lead by 129)

    Lyon is around the wicket to both players as he has been almost exclusively for the entire series. Any fears that England might bat themselves into a hole are being temporarily allayed, Root driving then pulling a couple of twos. You can sense the importance of this period. Australia will want one wicket to bring two and more. England want to stamp out the fire of any fightback.

    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG

    "After Cook's dismissal and Root's reprieve, this is now one of those spells in one of those sessions in one of those matches where the crowd are eyeballing every delivery. Lots of boozy bile from Bay 13 aimed at the struggling pair of Carberry and Root, a nervousness quietening the Barmy Army across the other side of this vast outfield."

  148. 0248: 
    Eng 73-1 (lead by 124)

    Brad Haddin was straight in Root's ear after that reprieve, the old man picking on the youngster. The danger for England with this pair at the crease is that they get stuck, inviting pressure. Nathan Lyon will look to contain at one end, the seamers rotated at the other. In what might be Johnson's last over for a while, Root drives nicely for three, then Carberry taps and runs. That's the ticket, pinch the singles, rotate the strike. Busy cricket.

    Text 81111

    Tony, Telford: Vegemite is better than Marmite, a smoother taste all together. Paul Hogan, Men Down Under, AC/DC, INXS and uranium ore are great Australian exports.

    John in Coventry: I fell in love with Timtams. The difference was, you don't get Penquins in dark chocolate. Dark Chocolate Timtams are to die for.

  150. 0244: 
    Eng 68-1 (lead by 119)

    The Root rumpus stopped us from reflecting on the dismissal of Cook, where the England skipper was right not to review. The Ball-tracker showed he would have lost middle and leg. What both the Cook wicket and the Root non-wicket showed is that Johnson is getting the ball to reverse. Root, always a nick-off candidate, has to be wary of the ball moving away from him.

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

    "Maybe the lad deserves that. Was it Perth when he got the rough decision? He's got to stop playing and missing, he's playing and missing at so many balls. That first innings was alarming, half volleys he was missing, extraordinary for a good young player like him."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  152. 0240: 
    NOT OUT- Eng 65-1

    And breathe. Boos inside the 'G and a chant I can't print, but Root rightly survives. The Aussies are annoyed, Peter Siddle is chatting to umpire Dar and Johnson is staring a hole through England's number three. Back to your mark, Mitch.

  153. 0239: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Eng 65-1

    Nothing on Snicko.

  154. 0239: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Eng 65-1

    No sound either. Only Brad Haddin appealed, the slips were unmoved. Root was given out on the field, though, so we need evidence to overturn.

  155. 0238: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Eng 65-1

    Nothing on Hot Spot.

  156. 0237: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Eng 65-1
    Joe Root asks for a review

    Joe Root can't believe this. He's been given out caught behind from his second ball. Australia are convinced, the MCG is convinced, but Root is shaking his head. Another look, please.

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

    "Johnson can make things happen because of the extra pace. Cook was just a fraction late and it looked out. It's a different ball game when you get these guys bowling at this pace, they can do things no-one else can. If you've got genuine searing pace something happens. They can probably get a few more overs out of him yet, they'll want to get Joe Root as much as possible against him."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  158. 0234: 
    WICKET- Cook lbw Johnson 51 (Eng 65-1)
    Mitchell Johnson dismisses Alastair Cook for 51

    Gone. Mitchell Johnson strikes to remove the England captain. It's fast, full, and Alastair Cook can only get half a stride in. The shout looks very good and up goes the finger of Aleem Dar. Cook thinks about a review, comes for a chat with Carberry, but then says "that's out" and walks off. The end of a good knock, and an opening for the Aussies.

    Fall of wickets: 1-65 (Cook 51)

    Johnson's figures: 5.3-2-6-1

    Full match scorecard

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Matthew Hewat: Re 0205 Surely the refrigerator is Australia's best export. Especially on days like today in Melbourne.

    The Bobcat Club: Re Aussie exports: Nick Cave, surely? And then there's Germaine Greer.

  160. 0232: 
    OUCH!- Eng 65-0

    Ooofff, Steven Smith is as lucky as you can be when taking a blow at short leg. Big sweep from Carberry off the returning Nathan Lyon, straight at the helmeted fielder. He takes the ball on the palm of the hand, causing no real damage. He'd have been in myther had that got him a couple of inches higher, on the wrist. He's still heading off, though.

    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG

    "The contrast between these two England openers could barely be more marked. While Alastair Cook is playing with greater fluidity than at any time since the start of the Ashes last summer, scoring at almost a run a ball, Michael Carberry has a tenth of the runs from the same number of deliveries. Starved of stuff to cut and pull, he has worrying few other scoring options. If that drought continues, so the chances of a getting out to a risky shot grow."

  162. 0228: 
    Eng 64-0 (Cook 50, Carberry 6)

    While some may question Cook's tactics in the field, it's hard to criticise the manner in which he's carried himself throughout this Ashes humbling. His post-match pressers have always been very honest. Now, he looks to have a determination to earn some pride. Eeessshhh, pace from Johnson, Carberry has no business trying to pull, then does well to jam down on a yorker. Appeal for leg before, but there's a big inside edge.

    Alastair Cook

    Alastair Cook's 50 came from 60 balls and is his second fastest half century in Tests. His quickest was from 56 balls against India in Mohali in 2008.

  164. 0222: 
    50 FOR ALASTAIR COOK- Eng 64-0

    Well batted, skipper. The most fluent knock of Alastair Cook's tour moves past 50. Two almost identical boundaries off Watson take him there, both cuts behind square on the off side. The Barmy Army rise to acclaim a leader that looks incredibly determined. First 8,000 runs, now a 35th half-ton. Welcome back.

    Text 81111

    Andy, London: Re: 0205, the Timtam was just a copy of our Penguin bars, and without the classic jokes is obviously inferior

  166. 0219: 
    Eng 56-0 (lead by 107)

    Mitchell Johnson to bring the thunder after lunch. This is likely to be a short, sharp spell that will end after two or three overs if he doesn't find success. Catch England cold, that's the Aussie hope. Johnson, clapped and whistled as he prowls in, is back of a length over 91mph, with singles taken. A grimmace through the mo, Mitch looks perturbed.

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

    "Watson never looks as if he's interested does he? He's an amazing cricketer. He walks back to his mark as if he doesn't want to bowl. I reckon if I'd taken my cap off I'd have been quicker than him!"

  168. 0214: 
    Eng 54-0 (lead by 105)

    Only one ball in to the session, and Michael Clarke is having a chunter about the ball. There's some suggestion that we might even have the wrong one (is that even possible?), but we continue regardless. Watson, moving no more freely than this morning, is accurate to begin with a maiden.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Daniel Ashmore: 300 run lead would be brilliant for England in the context of batting performances this series. Would give them a serious chance.

  170. 0209: 
    Eng 54-0 (Cook 41, Carberry 5)

    A few fluffy white clouds have appeared, but the sun is still fierce. Shane Watson will kick things off after the break, Alastair Cook is on strike.

  171. 0208: 

    About to get back under way, England 54-0 with a lead of 105. Can they kick on? What have Australia got in response?

    Text 81111

    Oliver: Even after Cook's 8,000 runs in Tests Chanderpaul and Kallis are the best two bats in my life time (26 years old). Kallis best all round cricketer I've seen. Chanderpaul in a better team would be talked about more.

    Tony, Pickering: As much as I want to moan at Carberry's lack of runs, he is still there so there's still hope that he realises he is holding a bat!

  173. 0205: 

    Kylie Minogue on the telly in the canteen, belting out Especially For You. I accept that's not her finest work, but surely she's Australia's finest export? Trying to put together a top three. Neighbours? Stubby holders? Tim Tams? Not vegemite. That stuff is rough.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Anthony Bray: Is Sam Robson England's long term answer for a new batting opener alongside Cook?

    Blair Renwick: At lunch with 10 wickets in hand and 54 on the board. England must push on from here.

    Nick Hayes: Carberry just seeing off the new ball, in this heat plenty of runs to be had later as Aussies tire, run rate not an issue.

  175. 0136: 
    Bill Lawry joins Aggers in the TMS box

    TMS are chatting to legendary Australia opener and commentator Bill Lawry during the break. Potentially about pigeons. Stay tuned while you tuck in to a late-night feast.

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  176. 0135: 

    How many would be too many for the Aussies to chase? 300? Maybe a few more on this improving deck? England will be looking to bat for as long as possible. I doubt a declaration would even cross their minds until this time tomorrow - if they last that long.

  177. 0133: 

    England were poor for the best part of an hour this morning, allowing Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon to add 40, but, since then, they have regained control. On a pitch that looks to bet getting better for batting, they have stretched their lead to 105 with all 10 second-innings wickets in hand.

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

    "Drop in pitches have a habit of getting better, England are in the box seat at the moment but as we have said for the last nine Test matches they haven't got a big score."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  179. 0130: 
    LUNCH INTERVAL- Eng 54-0

    Mitchell Johnson is wound up for one blast before the break, coming around the wicket to Carberry in similar fashion that did for the leftie in Brisbane. Leg slip in, bumper, wasted energy to the ducking Carberry. Back over, Carberry watchful before heading for a brew. England lunch on 54-0, a lead of 105.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Chris Meadowcroft: Cook with 8,000 Test runs, while he has his ups and downs there can be no question he is one of the best batsmen England has seen.

    Kenny Jarvis: Funny how a dominant bully in the county circuit like Carberry can become so scared of failure in the test arena.

    Matthew Smith: Has someone replaced Shane Watson with a village cricketer from the crowd? He only just managed to get to the stumps then.

  181. 0125: 
    CLOSE!- Eng 53-0
    Michael Carberry gets away with a loose shot

    I feel sore just watching Watson trying to bowl. He lumbers in with all the mobility of a mattress, dribbling the ball outside Carberry's off stump. Carberry, the shuffling wall of Hampshire, is not interested, but then gets drawn into a loose drive. Edged, just short of second slip. That would have been a horrible way to go and being cautious for so long. Watson, disappointed at the best of times, has hands on his blond hair. Maybe only one to go before lunch?

    Text 81111

    Ant, Wadebridge: Cook is up there with the best ever run scorers and will smash all run records for England. KP had been awesome for England but is not appreciated by the media.

    Tony, Telford: The problem with comparing Sir G and Cook/Pietersen is that the latter pair play on covered pitches, using modern bats, protective equipment and shorter boundaries. We all know that Sir G played with a stick of rhubarb, on uncovered pitches, in his mother's pinny for protection and much longer boundaries.

  183. 0121: 
    Eng 53-0 (Cook 40, Carberry 5)

    Cook is getting plenty of joy (luck?) through third man. A chop off the cue end races past second slip for four and leaves Siddle shaking his head in the middle of the glinting white pitch. The boundary brings up the 50 partnership, of which Carberry has contributed five. Dig in.

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

    "Carberry will have to learn that at this level it's so important while you're out there that you're busy, to send a message to the bowlers that you're looking to score."

  185. 0118: 
    Eng 49-0 (lead by 100)
    Michael Carberry

    Well, Watson has decided he can roll his arm over. One of the great trudges back to the bowling mark in world cricket is followed by a run-up that looks like it won't make it to the crease, and the usually economical Watson is well off-colour. So off-colour, in fact, that even Michael Carberry can't resist pouncing on a half-tracker. Four off the back foot ends a 52-minute, 37-ball spell on one and takes England's lead to 100.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Graham Palmer: Great achievement by Cook, such a good player when on the offensive. Keep it going Alastair.

    James Bamford: No rush everyone, Carberry is just chilling out while Cook makes up for the 40 odd runs we gave away this morning!

    James Hawkes: What's the record for the most one-sided 50 opening partnership?

  187. 0112: 
    Eng 44-0 (Cook 35, Carberry 1)

    England's good start could be of greater concern for Australia if miserable miser Shane Watson can't have a trundle. He's going through the most laboured stretching routine at first slip, first with the aid of Brad Haddin, then on the ground. He makes my 88-year-old grandad look nimble. Decent seamer, my grandad. Only comes in off a short run nowadays.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Michael Wallace: Cook has to be known as one of England's great batsmen. Those stats speak for themselves.

    Jack Grummit: This could be a vital day not only for our batsmen, but for English cricket as a whole. We need this boost desperately.

    redcatandnipper: I like Carberry. Seems like a toughish wicket to get, runs are coming at four an over so no need for him to push it.

  189. 0109: 
    Eng 44-0 (lead by 95)
    Fans at the MCG

    After more than 160,000 spectators over the first two days, the MCG has filled up nicely once more. I think I'd prefer those shaded seats high in the third tier, rather than being slow-roasted at pitch level. Harris does enough to find Cook's edge on two occasions, but the England skip picks up two and a boundary to third man. The lead is 95, more than it was overnight.

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

    "There have been more what I'd call pure strokes today than I've seen on the first two days, I just wonder if the pitch is getting a little bit quicker and easier to bat on. Harris is looking the one bowler that could break this partnership, dangling the carrot outside off-stump with just enough movement."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  191. 0104: 
    Eng 38-0 (Carberry 1 off 31 balls)

    Cook's sprint has overshadowed Carberry's wait in the blocks. The Hampshire man has been pretty shotless so far. Now, I'm not suggesting that he's doing a bad job, I actually think he's doing just fine, but getting stuck was a contributing factor to Nick Compton losing his place. The two men have similar Test records too. Having said that, no one will remember Carberry's start if he gets a ton.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Keith Flett: Cook passes 8,000 Test runs. Now only 113 short of Boycott's total. Expect increase of 'in my day' comments from the master.

    Jack of all trades: Tendulkar faced legendary world class bowlers in the 1990s, Cook has faced a lot of riff raff bowlers from the Twenty20 era.

    Kit Marsden: Although it isn't as pointless as in F1, we must still treat cross-era cricket comparisons with caution! With more games these days, raw stats alone are unfairly weighted towards modern players. Averages are better indicators.

  193. 0100: 
    Eng 34-0 (85 ahead)

    The Lyon experiment is over, Ryan Harris is recalled to the attack. Ooohhh, careful skipper, don't go hanging the fishing rod outside off stump. A couple off Cook's pads nudges England's lead closer to 100, nearer to erasing the morning pain. We have half an hour to go until lunch.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Ben Turner98: When Cook plays positively he looks very dangerous. ever since getting the captaincy why has he been playing so negatively?

    Alex Duniec: This is a massive innings for Carberry. He's got in well, but needs to prove he can score heavy.

    Patrick Brennan: Ryan Harris just bowled a half-volley. Someone call Hell, check whether it's frozen over.

  195. 0056: 
    Eng 32-0 (lead by 83)

    When we are so familiar with a player, aware of his strengths and weaknesses, it sometimes becomes difficult to find his place in history. I grew up being told by my uncle that no one could touch Geoffrey Boycott in terms of all-time England batsmen, but both Cook and Kevin Pietersen have comparable Test records to Sir G. Are they appreciated in their own time? Where do they rank with the all-time greats? Cook is also younger to 8,000 than the likes of Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith. Does he compare to them?

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

    "Cook is certainly setting a positive example. He hasn't got big runs in this series, he's had two rather dour half centuries battling to save England from further disgrace but this time he has come out in a very positive frame of mind and played some lovely shots."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  197. 0052: 
    Eng 32-0 (Cook 27, Carberry 1)

    Cook, by the way, is the sixth England batsman to 8,000 and also the fastest in terms of Tests played, beating the record set by Kevin Pietersen earlier in the series. He celebrates by back-cutting then gloriously driving Lyon for boundaries. I haven't seen the skip in this sort of touch for a while.

  198. 0050: 
    Alastair Cook

    As my man Ed Smith alludes, local boy Peter Siddle is on, afforded an extra large cheer by the 'G. After beating Cook with a rozzer, the England skip is able to tuck off his hips for three on the leg side. Those runs are Cook's, 7,999th, 8,000th and 8,001st in Test cricket. At 29 years and three days, he is the youngest man to reach 8,000 in Test history, taking the record off Sachin Tendulkar. It's a big deal to take a record off Sachin.

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

    "It could be a Peter Siddle day because it is the kind of attritional wicket that suits his metronomic bowling."

  200. 0044: 
    Eng 21-0 (Cook 16, Carberry 1)

    Australia blink first, calling Nathan Lyon into the attack after only four overs. Not a bad move to get the offie on against two lefties, but is it a waste of the new ball? Carberry, earring and chewing gum in the Viv Richards-style, is watchful, in very un-Viv-style.

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

    "This is quickly beginning to atone for that last-wicket partnership, we're in that wonderful phase of a cricket match where every boundary becomes very precious."

  202. 0041: 
    Eng 20-0 (lead by 71)

    For most of this series, Mitchell Johnson has been the stuff of England nightmares. Mitch 2.0 is a moustachioed menace, a terroriser of batsmen, a purveyor of pace and pain. But, every so often, maybe once a session, Mitch 06 reappears like a software glitch. Now is one of those occasions, a 93mph delivery so wide down Carberry's leg-side that Brad Haddin doesn't bother to dive. Four byes, lucky not to be wides.

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

    "I think Australia have bowled Cook into a little bit of form by searching for wickets instead of doing what they have done all series which is bowl just outside off-stump."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  204. 0037: 
    Eng 16-0 (lead by 67)

    Let's not induce mockers, but this might be the best that Cook has looked all series. Harris, the rhino, serves up two two long, juicy half-volleys and the England skip is drinking them up, leaning on off drives. One through the covers, another straight of mid off, both for four. England on the way to wiping out that farcical morning.

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

    "There are things I like about Carberry but there's lots to work on, I don't think he will be in the side for long if he doesn't adapt."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  206. 0033: 
    Eng 10-0 (lead by 61)
    Michael Carberry

    Alastair Cook looks up for this. Even though Johnson is already up above 92mph, the England skip is pulling for a couple then riding a well-directed bumper. Carberry, crouching low to get his ham-like biceps closer to the ground, looks more assured. The MCG crowd is in to this, buzzing as Johnson stalks in, applauding every delivery. The morning was fun (or irritating, depending on who you support), but this is business.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Harry Hopwood: Yes we have a 1st innings lead, but feel this morning means momentum is now with Australia. Big response needed with the bat.

    Dan: Irritating morning or not, we've got a first innings lead; and, in relative terms, a big one. I'll take that.

    Paul: If Cook had tried to get Haddin out instead he would have had him in the first over!

  208. 0028: 
    Eng 7-0 (lead by 58)

    Swing for Harris into this pair of lefties. Cook looks comfortable in clipping off his toes, but Carberry is tentative in getting a leading edge then getting nowhere near an expansive drive. Erm, it's the first over, maybe leave those shots in the locker for a bit? Encouragement for both sides in the first over. Here comes Mitchell...

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

    "I see it as England's to lose. Anywhere close to 300 batting last is very difficult."

  210. 0024: 

    Here they come, the purposeful Cook striding ahead of the more languid Carberry. They reach the lighter green of the square underneath a cloudless blue sky. When you imagine a sun-kissed day in Australia, today would come pretty close.

    Ryan Harris has the ball, Cook will be on strike. Moving day in this Test is about to get under way.

  211. 0022: 

    So there's just over an hour to go until lunch, a big mini-session for the England top order.

    Openers Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry both got starts in the first innings before throwing it away. One of them going big would go a long way towards England winning this match.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Bradley Adams: So in 47 balls we bowled 47 non-hitting stump balls, resulting in conceding 40 runs and taking 1 wicket. Great tactics England.

    Greg: Why do England bowlers lose their brains when 9 wickets are down. Line and length go out of the window!

    Michelle Garland: Lots blaming Cook for poor captaincy but did the yorker never enter into the minds of anyone else on the team?

  213. 0019: 

    But, bad morning or no bad morning, England still have a lead of 51. They have the opportunity, on a decent pitch, to set a target that is beyond Australia.

    There are, though, a couple of problems. One is that Australia have gained a little momentum from the morning's antics. The second is that Mitchell Johnson is about to get a new ball on a quickening deck.

    Brad Haddin

    Haddin has now passed 380 runs in the series, eclipsing Alec Stewart's Ashes record for a wicketkeeper set in 1993.

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

    "50 is still a good lead for England but it's a lot more manageable for Australia than 91."

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Liam Quinn: This session shows all of the weaknesses in Cook's captaincy. Delusional fans thought he was invincible before this series.

    David Reynolds: No firepower. Number 11 should not be able to hit our frontline bowlers over long off.

    Matthew Ball: Whatever happened to the yorker? Is Darren Gough available?

  217. 0017: 
    Aus 204 all out

    England are getting a lot of stick for their bowling and field-placings this morning. Does anyone think they got it right?

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

    "That was fantastic by Australia but I don't like the fields Cook sets, all spread out. The bowler feels flat, you lose your impetus and stop being on top, in no time at all you've lost control of the game."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  219. 0013: 
    WICKET- Haddin c Bairstow b Anderson 65 (Aus 204 all out)
    Brad Haddin

    Mercifully, it's over. Just when frustration at England's inability to pitch the ball in the right half is reaching its peak, Brad Haddin gets in a pull-shot tangle, top-edging James Anderson to the mits of Jonny Bairstow via the batsman's lid. It's been Australia's morning so far, but they are all out for 204. England's lead has been cut to 51.

    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), 9-164 (Siddle 0), 10-204 (Haddin 65)

    Bowling figures: Anderson 20.2-4-67-4, Broad 20-6-45-3, Stokes 15-4-46-1, Bresnan 18-6-24-2, Panesar 9-2-18-0

    Full match scorecard

    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG

    "In the first tight Test of the series, these are critical runs being put on by the last wicket pair. Few things tickle a home crowd as much as some last-gasp bonus runs; not even Adam Gilchrist or Ian Healy scored as many runs in an Ashes series as Brad Haddin has now done in this one."

  221. 0010: 
    Aus 202-9 (53 behind)

    This is going about as badly as it could have done for England. Broad, well rested after that one over off, returns, and a wide one is sliced over the slips for four by Haddin. Is there a plan? Don't worry, we've got our best minds on the case. Broad, Anderson and Kevin Pietersen - three great minds - have a conflab. Those three wood things behind the batsman aren't for decoration, try bowling at them. Now Lyon goes over mid off for a couple. I don't think one delivery in that over would have hit the stumps.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Phil Smith: Bowl. At. The. Stumps.

    Ben Gibbins: Poor from England. Need to be polishing these 2 off with fuller balls and more aggressive fields.

    Charlie De Vas: Just because it's Test cricket, bowlers seem to ignore the yorker. He's a number 11, clean him up Jimmy!

  223. 0003: 
    NEW BALL- Aus 193-9 (62 behind)

    Right then, new ball taken, three slips and a short leg for Lyon. What's the thinking here then? Anderson has the new conker in his hand but he's banging it in halfway down. Is this some sort of strange payback for the Aussie tail? Five short balls - one brilliantly taken by new keeper Jonny Bairstow - then Lyon leans back to smite four over long on. A slight loss of plot for England.

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

    "The new ball should be taken but you always have the slight concern it might fly around the park a bit easier, but with the likes of Anderson and Broad you've got to take it against a number 11 surely?"

  225. 0000: 
    Aus 189-9 (66 behind)

    A late decision by Cook sees Ben Stokes replace Broad one over before the new ball is due. Is this just to give Broad a rest for the new nut? One over is neither hear nor there is it? It is made to look an even stranger call by the ease with which Stokes is played. A couple of singles, then Haddin flaying a trio of twos. That lead is being gnawed away, England are delighted to take the new ball.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Fahim Faisal: We need a finisher that can kill off the tail so badly!

    Ryan Knight: How difficult is it to have a 3rd man? Let's gift them runs shall we!

    Emu: Bowl full and straight at tailenders it's really not rocket science!

  227. 2353: 
    50 FOR BRAD HADDIN- Aus 181-9

    Is there anything more annoying than Brad Haddin's batting? Maybe Fearne Cotton? Time and again Haddin comes to the crease with Australia in a spot of bother and, in the blink of an eye, he counter-punches with fists faster than Floyd Mayweather. A single off Anderson takes him a 16th Test fifty - only David Warner has more runs in the series. Not bad for a bloke whose career looked over a year ago.

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

    "England have to look at this as positive that this pitch is fine, as long as you're positive. I felt yesterday at three down the Rogers-Smith partnership was the one that got the Aussies into a hole because they were so negative."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  229. 2349: 
    Aus 180-9 (75 behind)

    Broad to send down the 78th over of the innings, the new ball available after 80. Haddin has enough confidence in his number 11 to take a single off the first ball of the over and the whispy Lyon repays the faith with a slash over point for four. The stats say he's the best last man ever. Not sure if I agree. Didn't Daniel Vettori start his career at number 11? This pair have now added 16.

    Nathan Lyon of Australia ducks a bouncer from Stuart Broad
    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "Carberry is one of those lovely, effortless movers in the field, not a great catcher as we've seen, but I bet he'd be good on the dance floor."

  231. 2343: 
    Aus 175-9 (80 behind)

    The pitch looks to have quickened up a touch, but there's still nothing to deter Lyon from getting forward. In fact, he's finding the middle with more regularity than Haddin. The bottom tier of the vast MCG looks pretty full, it's already so hot that patrons are fanning themselves with newspapers, hats and scorecards. Did I say Lyon was finding the middle? An edge goes to the vacant third-man area for four. Frustration for England.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Dan Umphray: With the way this series has gone, England to struggle against last man stand and we end up chasing a declared 568!

    George Martin: Late nights starting to take their toll but hopefully tonight will be worth it.

    Katharine Rosenstiel: Had completely forgotten about 'pogs' thanks to BBC cricket for the lovely trip back to the 90s.

  233. 2339: 
    Aus 169-9 (Haddin 47, Lyon 1)

    Sorry to labour the point, but I do love seeing the crispness of the whites donned by the players at the start of the day. Such a contrast to the battle-worn outfits of the previous night. Are they a new set, or is the kit man furiously washing overnight? Two slips, a short leg for Lyon, who we know is a very capable number 11. He demonstrates that with a textbook on-drive, which is well stopped by James Anderson, before pinching the strike.

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

    "I think that edge summed up the nature of the pitch, it went straight down. It's difficult for Haddin because you feel he'd like to club a few but it's not easy with the ball as soft as it is."

    Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

  235. 2335: 
    Aus 168-9 (87 behind)

    Men in and out for Haddin as James Anderson resumed in washing-machine-fresh shiny whites. One slip, an off-side catcher, but plenty half-way to the fence, giving one, but not two. Oooohhhh, lovely from Anderson, twice beating the edge. Aaahhh, a nick, but short of the diving Cook at slip and away for four.

    Alastair Cook

    Nathan Lyon's average of 23 when batting at number 11 is the highest in Tests for those who have played at least 20 innings.

  237. 2331: 
    Aus 164-9 (91 behind)

    Lyon gets some early chin music, but manages to survive the half-over sent to him. Now, will Haddin cut loose? What field will England set? Will they be happy to give him a single?

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Hugh in France: Hope = Haddin out after 10 mins/runs + Cook to come good. Fear = Haddin scoring century + Johnson inducing more poor shots.

    BenTurner98: We have to be down-to-ground about the situation, start talking about the batting when we manage to get that rascal Haddin out!

    James Gallagher: Chances of England having two good days in a row = zero

  239. 2330: 
    Aus 164-9

    Stuart Broad has the ball, three balls in an over remaining. Last man Nathan Lyon is on strike.

    Tom Fordyce, Chief sports writer at the MCG
    Australian fans

    Australians blowing their own trumpets. And euphoniums, to be fair.

  241. 2329: 

    So here come the umpires, followed by the players into the wonderful Melbourne sunshine. The lush green of the outfield glows in the bright Australian light, an image so familiar to those in another hemisphere wanting to be warmed in the cold winter.

  242. 2327: 

    I'm right in thinking a White Russian is vodka and milk, right?

    Text 81111

    Ben, Windsor: Drinking White Russians, warm up with the darts, now a first ball wicket please. It's Christmas after all.

    Simon Hughes, BBC Test Match Special

    "Haddin can mix his game. He has the power to hit over the top but can also work the ball around. That is one of the reasons he is having success."

    Listen to Test Match Special on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Steve Bigden: England to lead by 85 and set Aust 350..and win!!

    Thomas Stirk: Dream day: wicket 1st ball and Cook and Carberry still there at the close with a 250-300 run lead.

    Tom Dodson: Can't anyone else see Aus getting another 40, knocking us over for 200 & winning by 6 wkts?

  246. 2322: 

    In other news, Raymond van Barneveld has just been knocked out of the PDC World Championships by Mark Webster. Massive.

  247. 2321: 

    As you can see from the picture tweeted by Graham (below), it is absolutely glorious at the MCG, not a cloud in the sky. I'm hearing temperatures could touch 38 degrees.

    You know what that means? It's a batting day. When England come to strap the mum and dads on, they need to make Australia toil in the heat.


    From Ben in Leicester: My baby's bottle is due at 12. Will the first screams be of his hunger or my delight at that final wicket.

  249. 2317:  
    BBC Radio Test Match SpecialFOLLOW ON THE BBC

    Test Match Special is on air from the MCG, Aggers et al are currently discussing how England captains no longer skipper in county cricket.

    Listen on 5 live sports extra and Radio 4 longwave, online, on digital TVs and via the BBC Sport and BBC Radio apps.

    Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Graham Sidwell: Just arrived at the MCG for what will hopefully be a great day for England.

    The MCG
  251. 2314: 

    So what do you think? Can England build on yesterday and snuff out the whitewash, or will Australia come roaring back? Are you revelling in the nostalgia? Yes, yes, winning the Ashes time and again was fun, but isn't this too-little-too-late fightback what Ashes tours are all about? Text on 81111, tweet using the hashtag #bbccricket, or email

  252. 2312: 

    In his daily video blog, BBC Sport's cricket analyst Simon Hughes said the sticky MCG pitch caused problems for Australia's batsmen on day two of the fourth Ashes Test. Using Hawkeye analysis, Hughes showed how the pitch's 'blancmange bounce' meant Australia struggled to drive and work the ball into spaces.

  253. 2311: 

    Our man in Melbourne Tom Fordyce said England fans could at last delight in a day of dominance after their winter of discontent.

    "Not for many long winter nights have supporters back in the UK been able to emerge from their duvets with such a spring in their pyjamas," wrote Tom.

  254. 2310: 

    In his daily column, BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew lamented the fact that England had waited until the Ashes were gone to produce their very best cricket.

    "England know they are every bit as good as Australia, and that they should not be 3-0 down," wrote Agnew. "Having reduced Australia to 164-9 in reply to 255, England will feel a real mix of great pleasure at a good day's work and a sense that they should have played like this in the first three Tests."

  255. 2308: 
    James Anderson

    Anderson said England's second-day display showed their determination to salvage something from a horrible tour.

    "Days like that have been few and far between on this trip," said Anderson. "We're really hungry to get something out of this tour and we showed that."

    "I thought we fielded pretty well all day. We dived around a lot, we chased everything. I thought Alastair Cook set really good fields, we bowled to those fields and it was a really complete performance."

  256. 2306: 

    England's main men did the business on day two of the Boxing Day Test - James Anderson and Stuart Broad claimed three wickets each and were backed up by a supporting cast of Tim Bresnan, Ben Stokes and Monty Panesar.

    The only problem for England is the perennial pain in the backside Brad Haddin, who slept on 43 not out.

    He will resume with number 11 Nathan Lyon, looking to eat away at England's deficit as much as possible. England will want to complete the job, then bat long.

    Match scorecard
  257. 2304: 

    How has this happened? How have England, battered all around the Outback before Christmas, managed to turn the tables in Melbourne?

    Well, the conditions have helped. This pitch is slower, more English, than anything we have encountered in the series.

    That has suited England's attack, who were more miserly than Scrooge yesterday. Australia, ruthlessly patient with the bat for most of the series, were as generous as Father Christmas in the face of rare English pressure.

  258. 2302: 

    Yep, after second day on which 13 wickets fell, England are experiencing a feeling they haven't had since the glorious summer of, erm, 2013. They are in control of Australia.

    The Aussies begin day three on 164-9, 91 behind the tourists.

  259. 2300: 

    Welcome to Christmas, 1990s-style.

    Only Fools and Horses is on the telly, you're hungover from too many Hooch, you're stuffed full of Push Pops and you're bored of playing Pogs.

    Oh, and England are on top in a Test match down under when the Ashes are already gone.

    England players in fancy dress

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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

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