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Australia v England - 4th Test
Melbourne: 26-30 December, 2006

Test Match Special podcast | Blog



FOURTH TEST, MELBOURNE, DAY THREE: AUSTRALIA 419 bt ENGLAND 159 & 161 by an innings and 99 runs

By Paresh Soni

Stuart Clark bowled superbly to take three wickets
Clark's metronomic accuracy proved too good for England's batsmen

Australia bundled England out for 161 to win by an innings and 99 runs inside three days in the fourth Ashes Test.

The Aussies were dismissed for 419 in the morning, with Sajid Mahmood taking 4-100, but ran through the tourists.

Brett Lee took four wickets, Stuart Clark three and Shane Warne - in his final Test on his home ground - two.

The result puts Australia 4-0 up and needing a win in Sydney next week to clinch the first Ashes whitewash since England lost 5-0 to them in 1920/21.

That looks a distinct possibility based on the domination the Aussies enjoyed at the MCG.

There aren't too many cartwheels being done at the moment but we're not disheartened

Andrew Flintoff

England briefly rallied in the morning, with Andrew Symonds adding only two to his overnight 154 before getting a thick edge behind trying to play an expansive drive off Steve Harmison.

Mahmood then had Clark and Glenn McGrath caught close in and Chris Read finished with six catches after the Lancastrian had suffered at the hands of Warne, who made an entertaining 54-ball 40.

606 DEBATE: Your reaction to the result

From then on, however, it was once again a tale of the visitors being exposed by accurate bowling on a pitch that had become easier to bat on.

McGrath consistently seamed the ball away just outside off-stump in a probing opening spell and should have had Alastair Cook lbw after the youngster passed 1,000 runs in his first calendar year of Test cricket.

Kevin Pietersen trudges off after being bowled by Stuart Clark
Pietersen was among the failures as England slumped again

The veteran paceman rapped him on the pad with a straight delivery that held its line but umpire Rudi Koertzen somehow ruled in his favour.

Fellow metronome Clark accounted for him soon after lunch anyway when a lazy drive led to an inside edge into middle-stump and McGrath then nipped one back into Ian Bell to win only the second lbw verdict of the match.

Clark was asking plenty of tough questions with a combination of swing and movement off the pitch.

Even Kevin Pietersen, moved up the order to four, had no answer to a beauty which jagged back in and went through a big gate.

Paul Collingwood and Andrew Strauss (31) drove loosely at Lee either side of tea, while Andrew Flintoff was undone by one that Clark angled in and was adjudged leg-before.

From then on it was a question of how long the tail could defy Warne.

The great leg-spinner rolled back the years to unfurl a series of vicious leg-breaks, googlies and the once-deadly flipper.

In this Test match, we showed our class in tough situations

Shane Warne

Mahmood and Harmison were lbw after being bamboozled by the flipper and slider, while Chris Read's bat was beaten at will during his 77-ball 26.

Monty Panesar cheered the sizeable English contingent in the crowd by delightful flicking Lee off his pads for four and driving Warne past mid-on for another boundary.

That joy was short-lived and he fended a vicious Lee delivery to Michael Clarke at fourth slip.

With shadows enveloping the outfield in the evening, Lee cleaned up Matthew Hoggard to wrap things up and end England's misery.



SEE ALSO
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28 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
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Australia build massive advantage
27 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Warne landmark as England crumble
26 Dec 06 |  The Ashes


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