Ashes 2013-14: Kevin Pietersen reprieved - day one catch-up
The day in 50 words
Australia win toss and put England in before a record crowd.
Solid start then wickets tumble - Cook, Carberry, Root and Bell all unable to finish what they started.
Pietersen, dropped on seven and 41, digs in for unbeaten 67. But two late wickets cap Australia's day.
England are 226-6.
Pietersen had made only six from 44 balls when he hooked Ryan Harris to fine leg. Substitute fielder Nathan Coulter-Nile was perfectly placed to take the catch but he toppled over the rope as he did so and then made a dreadful mess of his attempt to throw the ball up, only succeeding in sending it into the crowd.
Pietersen was then dropped again on 41 by George Bailey at short mid-wicket when he miscued a front-footed pull off the outstanding Harris.
An eventful innings took another twist in the evening session when Pietersen required lengthy treatment from the England doctor after appearing to swallow a fly.
The Boxing Day Test in Melbourne is always one of the iconic sporting occasions, but this was even more special as no fewer than 91,092 flocked through the gates of the legendary four-tiered Melbourne Cricket Ground.
That eclipsed the previous record for a Test of 90,800 at the same venue in February 1961 for an Australia-West Indies match.
Stats of the day
- Kevin Pietersen overtook Geoffrey Boycott's aggregate of 8,114 runs to become England's fourth highest Test runscorer, behind Graham Gooch, Alec Stewart and David Gower
- Jonny Bairstow hit the 51st six of the series to equal the record for a Test series set in the 2005 Ashes
- On the first morning of the fourth Test, Michael Carberry became the first England batsman to reach 200 runs in the series
- Carberry was bowled without playing a shot for 38 - the sixth time in nine Test innings that he has been dismissed between 30 and 43
- Ian Bell passed 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year for the first time
What they said
England batsman Ian Bell: "A lot of guys got starts, so it's disappointing no-one got a big score. On that surface, we're probably too few runs for a few too many wickets. Hopefully, with Kev still there, maybe we'll get over 300.
"We have to find the right balance of putting pressure on the bowler. You can't just stand there and try to survive, but sometimes you can only hit what you get given.
"There are no arguments with the pitch. It felt a little bit English this morning, but as the sun came out it was fantastic to bat on."
Australia bowler Ryan Harris: "We probably didn't bowl as well as we could have done early and England batted ok.
"But we pulled it back pretty well, bowled lots of dots and we would take 226-6 after putting them in. To play in front of that kind of crowd was incredible. It got pretty noisy out there at times."
The expert view on Test Match Special
Former England spinner Vic Marks: "Pietersen doesn't really like batting like this, but he has shown there is a commitment there to battle it out in a style that is not his first love. Australia will be delighted by the way things turned out. Clarke was unsure which way to go, but the day proves that it sometimes doesn't always matter who wins the toss, it is who plays better on the day. It's Australia's day; England have battled but you feel 226-6 is not enough and they'll need something magical from Pietersen and stoically obdurate from Bresnan."
Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott: "I respect what Pietersen has done today. It put to rest all the nonsense he said about "this is the way I play". He can put his head down as well as anybody because he is that good a player. I love his batting, at times I despair, but don't let anybody criticise him today - he didn't do any daft things and he stayed there."
Chris Rogers delighted the Aussie supporters when he briefly sported a sombrero that had been thrown onto the outfield from the crowd before it blew off his head as he ran towards the ball.
Several beach balls also made their way over the fence towards the boundary ropes and were promptly destroyed by stewards. The penalty for encroaching over the fence is an incongruous $8,661 (£4,700).