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Ashes: Justin Langer column

Fourth Ashes Test: Australia v England
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground Dates: 26-30 December Start time: 2330 GMT (25-29 December)
Coverage: Live on Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 LW, 5 live sports extra and online; TMS highlights online (UK only) and day's review on the TMS podcast; text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobiles; live on Sky Sports 1

Jonathan Trott on his knees after narrowly making it back to his crease at the MCG
Trott also survived a run-out decision that was referred to the third umpire

By Justin Langer
Australia batting/leadership coach

Fourth Test, day two

In the movie 'Any Given Sunday', Al Pacino, in his inspirational speech says, "you find out life's this game of inches, so is football."

The more I am involved in the game of cricket the more I come to believe that this crazy game is not a game of inches but rather a game of centimetres, even millimetres.

After yesterday's shocker, Australia needed to fight back with all their spirit and skill this morning.

To their credit they did this for most of the day, until an unusual incident halted the arm wrestle that had produced a tough struggle of excellent tough Test cricket.

On five runs Matt Prior edged a Mitchell Johnson thunderbolt to Brad Haddin.

As the England wicketkeeper was walking off the ground, Aleem Dar, on gut instinct, decided to check with the third umpire to see if Mitchell had overstepped the front line.

Proving his instinct was correct the replay showed Johnson was a centimetre over the line and Prior was given a reprieve.

And, what a reprieve it was.

From that moment the game returned to England's control as Prior and Jonathon Trott set about dominating the final session of play.

Trott continued his great form this series. Scoring a century at the field of dreams, the MCG, in a Boxing Day Test is an awesome achievement and a memory that will stay with him for life.

Prior rode his luck but in the last half an hour really took it to Australia. He has been impressive this summer and his attitude and energy has had a big impact on his team.

While Australia fought hard for most of the day, the last session could prove to be as significant as the entire first day.

With three days to go, Australia will keep fighting, but the big guns of Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey and Shane Watson, will need to produce something magnificent if they are to stay in this Ashes series.

From Melbourne,


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see also
Trott keen to press home advantage
27 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Trott ton stretches England lead
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Jonathan Agnew column
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Monday's Ashes gossip column
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Fourth Ashes Test day two in photos
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Justin Langer column
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England dominate woeful Aussies
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England in Australia 2010-11
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Live cricket on the BBC
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