Eng­land dom­i­nate woe­ful Aussies

The Pak Banker - - I Nternational -

MEL­BOURNE: Eng­land put them­selves in a re­mark­ably dom­i­nant po­si­tion af­ter day one of the fourth Ashes Test hav­ing bowled out Aus­tralia for just 98 in Mel­bourne.

Chris Trem­lett and James An­der­son swung the ball beau­ti­fully to take four wick­ets each af­ter cap­tain An­drew Strauss had won an im­por­tant toss. Aus­tralia showed poor tech­nique to con­trib­ute to their demise. And they were made to pay when Strauss and Alastair Cook pushed Eng­land along to a very healthy 157-0 in re­ply.

Hav­ing lost by 267 runs on a much faster wicket in Perth to re­lin­quish their 1-0 se­ries lead, Eng­land's flaw­less per­for­mance on Boxing Day with bat and ball de­fied logic.

They have al­ready put Aus­tralia, who recorded their low­est all-out to­tal in an Ashes Test at the MCG, in a sit­u­a­tion where de­feat is a prob­a­bil­ity.

In Aus­tralia's mit­i­ga­tion was the fact that cool, cloudy con­di­tions up un­til tea had turned the early ex­changes into some­thing more akin to a May Test match in Eng­land, with bowlers able to ex­tract swing and seam move­ment.

With pro­pi­tious tim­ing for the tourists, the clouds melted away as Strauss - who ended the day on 64 - and Cook (80) strode to the crease. And bar­ring one or two early de­liv­er­ies from Ben Hil­fen­haus the ball did not swing for the Aus­tralians. Aus­tralia en­tered this crit­i­cal match with only three bats­men in any sort of form. Mike Hussey had made an ex­tra­or­di­nary 517 in the first three Tests, while Shane Wat­son and Brad Haddin had also pro­duced some key per­for­mances.

This time, how­ever, with Eng­land's three seam­ers lo­cat­ing a search­ing length from the off - and find­ing swing con­sis­tently, those three all failed. Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting were due runs, but man­aged only 20 and 10 re­spec­tively, while Phillip Hughes and Steve Smith do not ap­pear to pos­sess the nec­es­sary tech­niques for swing-friendly con­di­tions. Such was the onesid­ed­ness of the early ex­changes, that Eng­land could af­ford to drop Wat­son twice be­fore he had scored - Paul Colling­wood at third slip and Kevin Pietersen in the gully were the cul­prits.

An­der­son was the un­lucky bowler on those two oc­ca­sions, but it was Trem­lett who supplied the first wicket, Wat­son get­ting a nasty one that bounced up to an un­com­fort­able height - and glov­ing to Pietersen. De­spite his dou­ble let-off, Wat­son had made only five. There was an­other catch for Pietersen in gully when Hughes, crav­ing any­thing wide out­side off, flashed at one that he should have left to give Bres­nan a wicket with his sev­enth ball in an Ashes con­test. -Ap

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