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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 02:56 GMT
Australia v England ODI as it happened
ONE-DAY SERIES, MELBOURNE:
Australia 246-2 beat England 242-8 by eight wickets

England are still without a victory on their tour of Australia after their modest total of 242-8 is overhauled by the hosts with eight wickets and 4.4 overs to spare.

LATEST ACTION (All times GMT)

By Sam Lyon

46th over: 246-2
And that's it! Clarke drives Lewis' second ball of the over straight down the ground for four and Australia wrap up a consumate eight-wicket victory. It rarely looked in doubt after England were restricted to a modest total and century stands between Gilchrist and Hayden and Ponting and Clarke provided the platform for an easy win. News of a broken rib to Kevin Pietersen merely compounded England's misery and it's hard to see where the tourists go from here. Not a good day.

45th over: 242-2
Collingwood ensures Australia won't seal victory off his bowling in this over, restricting them to four runs. It draws the hosts level and Clarke will have the chance to strike the winning run in the next over.

"Another embarrassment in the cricket - and it's doubly hard on us ex-pats living in Australia! I'm going to get a kicking at work from my colleagues now! Still, as long as the beers keep flowing, the England fans out here will keep our voice - would be nice if we had something to cheer before too long though!"
Emma McCann in Sydney

44th over: 238-2
Batsman scores 50
A single brings Clarke up a 68-ball 50, his 20th in one-dayers, and he salutes a relatively disinterested crowd. The rest of the Australia squad are giggling at something on the boundary rope - one hopes it isn't England's efforts in this match - before Ponting takes the hosts to within five runs of victory.

43rd over: 234-2
A brief break in Australia's cake-walk of a victory charge as a gentleman decides to streak across the pitch. Except he's wearing shorts - much like England's efforts today, it was a little half-hearted to say the least. And apparently it will cost him $6,000 for the privilege, according to the MCG scoreboard. Collingwood is not impressed, though he takes time out to do a few kick ups after the next delivery, and he then induces a false hook from Clarke that falls just short of Lewis in the deep behind square. Nothing has gone right for England today really.

42nd over: 230-2
A vociferous lbw appeal from Lewis as Ponting pads up to a slower delivery. It is turned down immediately by Simon Taufel, quite correctly. Four runs come from the over and Clarke is now just three runs short of a deserved half-century. Ponting looks as indomitable as ever and this can only bode poorly for England's hopes in the recent of the series.

41st over: 226-2
Colly's wobbles are brought on by Vaughan, with plenty of slower deliveries and off-spinners employed. Ponting fails to get the last four away and Australia seem intent on prolonging the agony at the MCG.

"We were always going to struggle in one-day cricket - we have not been any good at it for years. But there's still hope for 2007 in the Test arena I think. I expect them to beat both the West Indies and India so that's some consolation I hope."
Angus Fraser on Test Match Special

40th over: 223-2
Jon Lewis bowls another tidy over - four runs from it - and Australia miss out on the bonus point after failing to beat England within 40 overs.

39th over: 219-2
Anderson, in contrast to Dalrymple, has taken plenty of tap today and Ponting continues the punishment, launching him over the infield on the drive for another boundary. For all of you who took me up on my 'sportsman's' bet, I would imagine you're about to win - unless Australia get 24 in the next over. Fortunately, only half a dozen or so did so - you crazy optimists you - but I shall of course shake you all by the hand when next we meet!

38th over: 212-2
Dalrymple - who looks set to emerge as England's best bowler from this match - is tidy enough again and almost removes Michael Clarke with his last delivery, but the Aussie's drive falls just short of Jon Lewis at mid-on. That's Dalrymple's last over and he finishes with figures of 1-38 from his quota.

37th over: 204-2
The Anderson-Ponting verbals continue. You can't help feeling that Anderson's out of his depth here. Having said that, he keeps Ponting runless for five balls, before 'Punter' runs three from the final delivery. Meanwhile, the ball is changed - though it's unclear at who's request. Still, it gives England fans a terrific excuse - they lost because of the ball surely?!

36th over: 201-2
Pietersen is back from the hospital and on the balcony to witness the final death throws of the match. He looks comfortable enough to me - patch him up and send him out there! Even with a broken rib he's got to do better than the current lot? Seven runs from Dalrymple's over brings the 200 up for the hosts.

35th over: 194-2
Ricky Ponting, not content with merely annihilating England with his batting, is keen to score some points with vocals to Jimmy Anderson. He scores six from the seamer's over but, more than that, is well and truely under Anderson's skin about something or another. Now that's just mean in my book. English pride themselves on being restrained in victory as well as defeat and so should Australia. Just ask Paul Collingwood. Open-air bus tour anyone?

34th over: 188-2
Dalrymple concedes just one run in another tidy over, but I can't help feeling that Paul Telford may just have hit the nail on the head with his following email:

"Do you think the English team are aware that no-one back home is watching any more?"

Answers on a postcard please. Well, email or text, but you know what I mean.

33rd over: 187-2
Batsman scores 50
Although the crowd are getting restless due to the lack of competitiveness in the game, Ponting brings a light smattering of applause by bringing up his 56th one-day international. It's quickly back to dancing, singing, paper cup-throwing and general mischievousness though as Australia pinch six from another Panesar over.

32nd over: 181-2
Dalrymple is back on and he restricts Ponting to just three from a relatively uneventful over. The Mexican wave continues and even the MCG members are having a go at the old stand-up-sit-down dance.

31st over: 178-2
With events on the pitch merely a formality it would seem, the crowd entertain themselves with a Mexican wave. Panesar continues to wheel away, but Ponting is in sublime form and accumulates eight runs from the over including another straight boundary. Australia need to surpass England's total inside 40 overs to gain a bonus point. I'll have a £1 with anyone that they do it. Well, maybe not a whole pound. How about a penny? Actually, a sportsman's bet yes?!

30th over: 170-2
As if news of Pietersen's injury has spilled onto the pitch, England's heads visibly drop as Lewis allows a Ponting drive to go through his hands and to the boundary for four. Seven runs in total from an over again warmly greeted by the 78,625 crowd and Australia are cantering towards victory.

"The £500 I had on England to win a match in this series is just money down the drain following the news about 'KP'."
Geoff Lawson on Test Match Special

29th over: 163-2
A single from Panesar's over but attention turns from the field to the local hospital as an awful day for England goes from bad to disastrous with the news that Kevin Pietersen has a fractured rib and has been ruled out of the series.

A recuperation period of three to five weeks is estimated. England's hopes of getting anything out of this triangular series have now virtually been ended midway through the first match surely.

28th over: 162-2
Flintoff is back in the attack and so nearly makes a breakthrough, Clarke inside-edging inches wide of his own off-stump and it runs away for four. A couple of singles and two off the last ball make it eight from the over and England's hopes are dwindling by the second.

"It's time for them all to go - first squad or not. Pietersen's a good player, but not as good as the rest of this bunch of jokers is making him look. Fletcher is way beyond his sell-by date, whose only aim in life seems to be keeping Chris Read out of any England squad.

Keep Flintoff, Pietersen, Strauss and Collingwood. The rest must go on the scrapheap and start again with a young, keen bunch of players who have some pride in playing for their country - this lot don't deserve the honour and I'd rather forfeit than be humiliated like this."
Stuart

"It's good thing England batted first. Otherwise Australia would have massed up another record total!"
Kidner Kumaran

27th over: 154-2
Michael Clarke, perhaps a little tired with all that scampering about, resorts to form and slog-sweeps a short Panesar delivery all along the ground for four. It really is all too easy at the moment.

26th over: 148-2
Singles are the order of the day again for Australia with the field pushed back. It's all a little too easy as they score four from the over without incident.

"The way Panesar is bowling you can see he has a big future in this form of the game. Every over's neatly constructed and he's mixing it up well. I've been impressed by him."
Geoff Lawson on Test Match Special

25th over: 144-2
Just one over for Collingwood and Panesar's return almost brings the end for Clarke, who edges just short of first slip second ball. Ponting paddles round his legs for a couple though and Australia need less than 100 runs for victory.

24th over: 140-2
With Ponting looking in ominously good touch, the last thing England wanted to see was Clarke pick up the baton. Unfortunately for them he swats Dalrymple's first ball for four and a couple more make it six from the over. A bit of fun at the end of the over, though - Dalrymple throws down the stumps with Ponting seemingly comfortably home at the non-striker's end. However, England appeal and Paul Collingwood MBE, among others, is convinced Ponting's bat was in the air. It wasn't and he's safe. Should make the sledging a little more interesting in the next few overs though!

23rd over: 134-2
Could that something extraordinary be the bowling of Paul Collingwood? Erm, no. Ponting paddles his first ball for four and then plays a beautiful drive through the offside for four more. A total of 10 runs come from the over and Australia's stranglehold on the game tightens.

22nd over: 124-2
Despite England's wickets, you can't help but get the feeling that the inevitable is only being delayed at the moment. Dalrymple and Panesar have shored things up nicely - the last over going for just three - but Australia are so far ahead of the rate, something extraordinary has to happen to force England back into the match.

21st over: 121-2
A single to Michael Clarke breaks the shackles and Ponting then launches Panesar down the ground for a delightful four. The Aussie captain follows up with a glance off his hips for two and the hosts accumulate eight valuable runs.

20th over: 113-2
It's two maidens in a row for England, Dalrymple tying Ponting down at one end. A shot of the crowd shows a huge homemade banner calling for the recall of one Darren Gough to the international side. He'd lead the Aussies a merry dance surely?

Plenty of responses to my question about England's best one-day side. Here are a few of your comments:

"What happened to Michael Yardy? He had a great start in ODI and looked the part."
Matt Haddow

"If "catching without dropping", "hitting stick things with ball", "not hitting ball to catching person" and "not letting ball hit stick things" were made crimes in Oz, perhaps the ECB could persuade the Australian Parliament to deport these criminals masquerading as their National Team to, err, England perhaps?"
Neil Stevenson

"If Anderson, Nixon and Dalrymple are our first choice, me and the boys from the office must be next in line for a call up!"
Kieron Thomas

"When you look at the players who England select for the ODIs, it seems bizarre. The team is full of bits and pieces cricketers who don¿t really add a great deal with the ball or the bat."
Shreyas Chandra

19th over: 113-2
Panesar completes a wicket maiden with a series of quicker deliveries and England have calmed the scoring rate. For now.

Wicket
19th over: WICKET Australia 113-2 (Hayden 28)
Hold on, do England have a sniff here?! Monty Panesar adds a wicket to his recent control. He sees Hayden advancing down the wicket, drags down his delivery and the opener edges behind for another catch to Nixon behind the stumps. Vaughan's twin spin attack is doing the trick at the moment!

18th over: 113-1
Australia are happy to swap big shots for quick singles and dabs and taps at the moment, but the scoring rate remains extremely high. Ponting and Hayden are accumulating happily enough and a tame Dalrymple over goes for eight.

17th over: 105-1
Panesar follows Dalrymple's breakthrough over with a tight one of his own. Three runs come off the bat as England look to regain some measure of control. But, with the required rate currently at 4.2 runs an over, Australia can more than afford a quiet period.

Wicket
16th over: WICKET Australia 101-1 (Gilchrist 60)
The breakthrough for England! And it's the unlikely figure of Jamie Dalrymple that removes dangerman Gilchrist, the opener providing the thinnest of edges to Paul Nixon to fall for 60. Of course, I describe 'Gilly' as a dangerman but he is followed to the crease by Ricky Ponting. And after that there's Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Cameron White... Still, who knows what England's spin duo can pull off!

"I can not believe that this is the best that we have to offer in international one day cricket. I will always be a proud Englishman, but this is truly pitiful. Why do we as supporters come back time after time for more punishment?"
Martin Prentki

"I think we have to lose the over-inflated hopes we have for England. The stats don't lie, we are only better than Scotland and Canada in terms of the onde-dayers we have won in recent times. Maybe we should not be allowed onto the same field as Australia."
Steve Porter

15th over: 101-0
Even the great hope of English cricket - Monty Panesar - can not stop the rot. Five restrictive deliveries are punctuated by a straight four from Gilchrist and the 100 is up for Australia.

14th over: 97-0
And the landmarks keep coming for Gilchrist - he drives Lewis through cover for a four that brings up his 1002nd one-day international run against England. With the Baggy Greens currently racing along at seven an over, it could all be over rather quickly at the MCG.

13th over: 91-0
Batsman scores 50
Monty Panesar is brought on as England desperately look for a wicket - or at least for someone to curb the scoring rate - but the spinner can not stop Gilchrist bringing up his 50 from 50 balls. It's the wicket-keeper's 47th half century in one-day internationals and six runs from the over keep Australia on track for what, at the moment, looks likely to be an effortless victory.

12th over: 85-0
This is so one-sided it's crazy at the moment. Hayden caresses Flintoff for a four behind square leg and Gilchrist responds by bludgeoning the all-rounder 10 rows back for a six. The huge hit is pouched - one handed - by a gentleman on a mobile phone much to the delight of the MCG crowd. Someone check his nationality, he could come in handy if he's English. Another boundary comes as the pair mix massive hits with intelligent cuts and pulls and the tourists are well and truely on the rack.

"James Anderson is simply not good enough for international cricket, he must be not only dropped from the team but removed from the squad. The same goes for Mahmood."
Neil Denny

11th over: 72-0
Talk in the office is whether this really can be England's first-choice team? Anderson? Nixon? Dalrymple? Are these really World Cup-standard cricketers? Let us know your thoughts on TMS@bbc.co.uk.

Gilchrist and Hayden are doing their best to single-handedly smash Anderson out of the reckoning with two booming shots - one straight down the ground for four and the other hooked to the square leg boundary - and 11 runs come from the over in total.

10th over: 61-0
Flintoff is brought back into the attack. Let's hope his radar is back on track after his woeful start. Fortunately it is and Australia are restricted to a couple of singles. But, as the over passes without incident, Gilchrist and Hayden can afford to share a laugh and a joke amid a relaxed partisan crowd.

9th over: 59-0
Jimmy Anderson, looking in vain for some swing, falls into the trap of over-pitching and Gilchrist picks him off for yet more runs before bashing another boundary over the infield. That score takes them to 58 - a score that England took until the 15th over to rack up. Michael Vaughan, quite rightly, looks concerned.

8th over: 51-0
Australia bring up their 50 in the eighth over, with Hayden still utterly overshadowed by Gilchrist in the scoring stakes. Lewis is bowling some ok stuff, but the home openers are so comfortable you get the impression they could be batting lying down at the moment.

"Nixon is totally out out his depth - let's hope that this mistake is a single cap 'wonder'. BUT what else should we expect from a useless coach. Big Dunc should be dunked, then sacked ASAP.

Lets have a fresh start before the World Cup, When we've lost every single match on this tour then surely Fletcher can not remain at the helm. The man is a joke."
Jonathan Mahon

7th over: 44-0
Comedy fielding featuring, you guessed it, Monty Panesar brings the locals to their feet. Jamie Dalrymple attempts to relay to the spinner as Gilchrist runs three, but Panesar drops it and then has to relay-throw via Andrew Strauss anyway. You have to love him though!

6th over: 41-0
Gilchrist is clearly in the mood to get Australia off to a flier and he drives Lewis over the infield for four twice in succession. He always gives you hope of a chance though and another attempted boundary shot flies high in the air, but short of Monty Panesar in the deep. That won't curb his onslaught I'm sure but, while Australia might win this match, he'll still wake up with big ears in the morning - so there.

5th over: 32-0
Vaughan is pulling no punches on his return to one-day captaincy and Flintoff is hauled off after just two overs - which cost 18 runs. James Anderson is on, and Gilchrist responds by pulling his third delivery for four in front of square. With no hint of swing despite the fact that the lights are on, these are worrying times for England. At the end of the over, Flintoff hits the stumps with Hayden grabbing a quick single, but the burly opener is home comfortably.

4th over: 24-0
Instead of practising awkward stretching manouevres, perhaps Nixon should put more time into his keeping. Nerves are obviously playing a part but he fumbles another simple delivery from Lewis and Gilchrist pinches a run. Still, only two from the over.

"You get the feeling England already need a wicket just to arrest this terrible start and boost their spirits."
Tim Lane on Test Match Special

3rd over: 22-0
Well, no wides from Freddie - an improvement - but the scoring does not slow with Gilchrist quickly finding his touch. A glorious cover drive brings a boundary and he pouches a three more with another drive. Nixon responds by doing the splits behind the stumps. England might not win this match, but that display from the wicket-keeper suggests they would win a little gymnastic stretch-off - there's an inspiring thought.

2nd over: 15-0
Thankfully, Lewis is more accurate than Flintoff and Hayden grabs the first run off the bat - the 12th of the innings - with a nudge to the leg side. Gilchrist also grabs a single but then a tight over from Gloucestershire skipper Lewis is ruined by two more wides at the end of the over. As if Australia's batting line-up wasn't intimidating enough, England have already gifted them 13 runs - woeful.

1st over: 11-0
A shocking start from Flintoff, with echoes of Steve Harmison's opening over in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. The all-rounder concedes 11 runs off the first over - all of which come from wides. Gilchrist needed only to play at three deliveries, though Flintoff had him in trouble with one that rose sharply. Just the start England didn't need.

0730: The Australian openers, Matty Hayden and Adam Gilchrist, are out and Flintoff - sporting bright white suncream on his nose, presumably to protect against the floodlights! - will open the bowling. Sajid Mahmood is fielding in place of Pietersen, who is still at the hospital.

"Well, 242-8 - it could be worse. It's something to defend but a lot will depend on whether England's bowlers can match Australia's in terms of accuracy. They have it in them, but Australia's batsmen will fancy their chances heavily of opening this triangular tournament with a victory."
Simon Mann on Test Match Special

Text the BBC Sport website and the TMS team on 84040 (from the UK only)

Email the BBC Sport website and the TMS team on TMS@bbc.co.uk

50th over: 242-8
Flintoff clips Bracken away for a lovely lobbed four and scampers a few more to take England up to something like a total. The former England skipper finishes on 47 not out from 38 balls, though Clark could have pouched him off the final ball of the innings. It shouldn't be enough to win the game from Australia's point of view, especially with England's attack looking less than threatening. But at least the tourists have not embarrassed themselves. Yet, anyway.

Wicket
50th over: WICKET England 232-8 (Lewis 9)
Ponting plucks a stunner out of the air to end Lewis' run-a-ball innings. However, Flintoff and Lewis were able to cross so Freddie will be on strike. Monty Panesar emerges to a hero's welcome.

News also in that Pietersen has been ferried to hospital for a scan on his rib injury - fingers crossed all round that it's nothing serious otherwise England may as well go home now.

49th over: 230-7
McGrath continues and the wily seamer knows all the tricks of the trade to restrict the scoring. A mix of yorkers and deliveries into the body restrict England to five singles and a double off the fifth ball of the over and Australia will take that, you feel. What's more, Lewis will be on strike for the first ball of the final over. A meeting in the middle results - Flintoff either suggesting a single or that Lewis smashes the hell out of it. Let's hope it's the latter.

48th over: 223-7
Flintoff won't be lying down without a fight and the all-rounder is keen to farm the strike. He pulls Clark away for a splendid four and then helps himself to a few more with calculated slogs. Lewis pinches the strike at the end of the over with a single but a decent over for England otherwise.

47th over: 213-7
Clearly, it is up to Flintoff now. The Lancastrian has been starved of the strike in recent overs as he has been forced to watch wickets tumble around him. Still, he has 27 from 28 balls so if he can start finding the boundary again, England might yet post a decent score.

Wicket
47th over: WICKET England 211-7 (Dalrymple 2)
Dalrymple goes cheaply as Johnson strikes again. No more than a polite enquiry from bowler and keeper as Gilchrist takes the catch from an attempted Dalrymple hook, but Ian Howell obliges by raising his finger. Dalrymple is stunned and the South African does not help convince as he walks towards Simon Taufel at square leg shrugging his shoulders.

46th over: 211-6
Full and straight is the order of the day for Australia's bowlers and they're deadly accurate as always. Flintoff looks in good touch but can only eke away a single with Jamie Dalrymple hogging the strike. Four off the over and that won't be enough to take England up to a competitive total.

Wicket
45th over: WICKET England 207-6 (Nixon 0)
Johnson compounds the loss of Pietersen by snaring Nixon lbw fourth ball with a fine yorker. Replays suggest the ball was hitting leg stump halfway up so a good decision from umpire Ian Howell. Surely England can't contrive to throw another decent position away can they?

"Remember Beckham in the world cup- vomiting on the pitch followed by tears from the bench? Is that what KP is up to after his little boo-boo and dismissal - some gentle sobbing from the balcony?"
chuck

"A great innings from Pietersen. Intelligent at the start and then explosive towards the end. It's just a shame for England that it's over."
Simon Mann on Test Match Special

Wicket
44th over: WICKET England 206-5 (Pietersen 82)
Disaster! Pietersen, clearly feeling the effects of that blow still, smashes Clark for four but goes for one big shot too many and holes out to Andrew Symonds on the boundary next ball. A fine innings from the big man, but the onus is on Flintoff and debutant Paul Nixon now to get England up past 250.

43rd over: 201-4
With Pietersen still getting his breath after McGrath's strike, Flintoff takes up the baton and pulls Johnson away for a four on the leg side. Eight come from the over and England bring up their 200 - the fourth 50 coming from 44 balls and they're upping the pace nicely. A target of 270-odd would be good for England, though they need 10 an over from here on in.

42nd over: 193-4
To say there's a bit of banter being aimed in the direction of Pietersen might be a bit of an understatement. Ponting, Clarke and Symonds are all in his ear, and I don't suppose they're asking after the well-being of his missus Jessica. You know the one - was in a pop band or something. Named after Roger Rabbit's wife. Anyway, Flintoff cracks a lovely four down the ground and 11 come from a productive over.

41st over: 182-4
Although Pietersen is struggling at the non-striker's end, Flintoff has more pressing worries - like dealing with the return of Mitchell Johnson to the attack. He grabs a single from the second ball and, unsurprisingly, Johnson pings in a short ball first up against Pietersen. He doesn't look altogether comfortable, wincing after every shot. I may have to review my opinion of him as a brute of a man. Watching him blow and cringe every two seconds doesn't scream 'hardman' to me.

"I'm telling you right now, that won't have tickled Pietersen. He's obviously in pain and you wonder what impact that might have on his batting."
Geoff Lawson on Test Match Special

40th over: 179-4
The engine room has clicked into gear as Pietersen and Flintoff show a host of attacking intent against McGrath. Both players come down the wicket against all but one delivery, though the veteran only leaks four runs from the over thanks to some fine fielding from the hosts. And, from the final delivery, McGrath slams one into Pietersen's ribs and the number two batsman in the one-day rankings is in all sorts of problems on his knees in his crease. A fantastic contest between the pair might just hot up next over.

39th over: 175-4
Ponting resists the urge to turn to pace from both ends and Clarke continues. Pietersen takes a couple of singles, and Flintoff gets off the mark with a flick off his hip. The all-rounder then finds the middle of his bat for the first time, slog-sweeping for four. Time for a Pietersen-Flintoff 10-over rally?

38th over: 168-4
A superb comeback over from McGrath, not only snaring Collingwood second ball, but also causing new batsman Andrew Flintoff all sorts of problems with a bouncer, a yorker and two from a good length. The former skipper survives but not without a few huge scares.

Wicket
38th over: WICKET England 168-4 (Collingwood 43)
White's dally was a brief one and McGrath comes back on. There are 13 overs left - which, in theory, could all be filled by the pacemen. And it might work out that way as the veteran snares Collingwood in the deep, England's number five departing for 43 from 71 balls. It was a risky shot, but given his luck so far today, maybe you can't blame him for having a go. Except that it got him out, so I guess you can. Not that I'm fickle of course.

37th over: 166-3
Still, where White is failing, Clarke is succeeding and he concedes just three runs despite England's attacking intent. An uncharacteristic mis-field from Ponting ends the over.

36th over: 163-3
I'm not the only one who thinks Collingwood needs to up the scoring rate - Pietersen sends a message to his batting partner by smashing a White delivery straight into Colly's midriff. They share a joke, but 'KP' clearly has bigger things on his mind. And so it proves as he belts two sixes in succession down the ground to take 15 from the over and finally Australia captain Ricky Ponting has to think a bit. White has conceded 27 off three overs so Ponting might want to start with who to replace him with.

35th over: 148-3
Normal order resumes against Clarke with four more singles. He's getting far more respect than one might have expected here, and England may rue that when the likes of McGrath, Bracken and Clark return to the attack.

34th over: 144-3
Hallelujah!! Pietersen finally frees his arms and smashes White for a huge six straight down the ground to bring up his 50 from 63 deliveries. Three more singles make it a profitable over and England might just be upping the ante a bit here.

33rd over: 135-3
To be fair, Clarke is doing well to read England's occasional attacking intent and is varying his deliveries enough to cause them problems when they come down the wicket. Still, one such dally down the pitch pays off for Collingwood as he drives it over the infield for a four and suddenly a little bit of ingenuity brings the tourists eight runs from the over. More like it.

"Neither Bell nor Collingwood has the ability to play a commanding one-day innings. For the World Cup we must send for Loye and Shah."
Harry Baker, Farnham

32nd over: 127-3
Cameron White is on and Pietersen has caught the Collingwood bug - fencing away three deliveries before grabbing two off the last ball of the over. It would be nice if one of the batsman had a go at beating the rope off White or Clarke - it's hardly spinning and Pietersen in particular has the power. Eleven fours and no sixes so far is not destructive enough you fear.

31st over: 124-3
Clarke clearly has a dinner appointment to get to as he throws down six deliveries in quick succession again. Apart from dropping Pietersen off a bump ball, incidents are at a minimum as England nick two runs.

30th over: 122-3
Genuinely, someone ask Collingwood for the lottery numbers - he's survived yet another chance! A big heave towards the leg-side looks to be heading straight down Cameron White's throat on the boundary but the fielder loses the ball in the sun and it goes through his hands, bounces a yard inside the rope and goes for four. It's his first boundary off his 46th ball. Still, decent intent from Colly - clearly my influence stretches beyond just jinxing the England captain.

29th over: 116-3
Another problem with Clarke bowling, aside from the fact that England are trying to sweep every delivery and are happy with singles, is that he gets through an over so quickly that it gives me very little time to write these updates. Or keep an eye on the lovelies. Damn him and his left-arm dobbers.

"You can be critical of England right now because they need to do something to up the scoring rate. But credit to Australia's bowlers, they're giving nothing away at the moment."
Angus Fraser on Test Match Special

28th over: 111-3
Bracken's back on and England's scoring continues to crawl along. However, I have spotted a couple of lovelies in the crowd and that has cheered my spirits somewhat. Tanned beauties have that effect on me. And I guess I'm not alone in that. Anyway, Colly pinches a single off the last ball of the over if you were wondering.

27th over: 110-3
The most interesting thing going on at the moment is Pietersen receiving some eye-drops to contend with, I don't know, dust or something. Or maybe boredom. Anyway, Clarke races through another over and England pinch four singles. Like I said, dull.

26th over: 106-3
Forgive me, but this is just dull at the moment. When you're up at stupid o'clock to cover these games, you kind of hope for some semblance of entertainment, but right now there are merely echoes of old-style one-day tactics of keeping wickets in hand for a late-innings romp. One reason for that is that Collingwood seems intent on farming the strike - which is just frustrating if you're an England fan. Tactics, shmactics - someone throw the bat at it please!

25th over: 102-3
Michael Clarke comes on, surprisingly, ahead of Cameron White and his slow left-armers go for just two runs despite a distinct lack of turn at the MCG.

24th over: 100-3
Collingwood's scoring rate says it all at the moment - 10 from 23 deliveries. And he enjoys yet another slice of luck when he takes on Clark's throw from the deep, only for the bowler's run-out attempt - which would have accounted for his wicket - to miss the stumps. How many lives does Collingwood have in this innings? Still, England's hundred is up and you have to say, if wickets stay in tact, they could be on course for a defendable total here. Pure optimism from me, obviously, but why would I change the habit of a lifetime.

23rd over: 95-3
'KP' is letting the frustration get the better of him a bit here and he swings wildly at a couple from Clark without reward. Two singles from the over - but England need more than this. Debutant Nixon is doing his best to win the "Most Nervous Looking Man in the Ground" award as he is seen bouncing around a dour-looking England dressing room. Still, Monty Panesar looks like he could be on a Caribbean beach judging by his relaxed demeanour.

22nd over: 93-3
Collingwood really is riding his luck right now, as Johnson's grip on the number five batsman continues unabated. Twice the fast bowler beats the edge and then Collingwood top-edges an attempted pull but it goes safe. Unfortunately he takes a single off the last meaning he keeps the strike. All this talk of plans leads me to suggest this as what England's batting one should look like - if in doubt, give Pietersen the strike. It's not match-winning on it's own, I admit, but it might be a decent start.

"I have just been given a copy of Australia's plans for the one-day series:
1) Bowl line and length and some wicket-taking balls
2) Score lots of runs quickly with plenty of sixes
Hope this helps the England team."
George Walker

21st over: 89-3
Magnificent fielding by Ponting as he dives to his left to stop a certain boundary from Pietersen and the Aussie captain misses the stumps by inches on the turn as Collingwood survives another chance running to the keeper's end. He gets off strike at the first opportunity and Pietersen displays just why he is so highly-regarded in world cricket as he grabs another boundary straight down the ground. How England would love a 'KP' at both ends.

20th over: 81-3
'Guts' Fraser is right you know - England are really struggling to get these two away and Johnson serves up his second maiden of the innings. Something might have to give soon.

"They're bowling well these two - especially Mitchell Johnson. I've been very impressed."
Angus Fraser on Test Match Special

19th over: 81-3
Not content with having to deal with some fine Aussie bowling, England are also keen to test the hosts' fielding skills it would seem. A tricky two is taken by Pietersen which forces Collingwood to dive home to beat a Hayden throw from the deep - which would have got him out had it hit - and the pair run another quick two next delivery. Heaven forbid they should keep risks to the minimum!

18th over: 77-3
Collingwood survives a sharp first delivery and Pietersen takes three off Johnson's last delivery to negotiate another decent Johnson over. England's chances of posting a total could rely on the ability of this pair to recreate some of the magic they displayed in Adelaide during the second Test. I believe - who's with me?

Wicket
18th over: WICKET England 73-3 (Bell 15)
A terrible, terrible shot from Bell brings his end. Clearly frustrated by his lack of fluency, he tries to manufacture a booming drive off Mitchell Johnson, only to spoon it to Michael Hussey at mid-off. Can England keep enough wickets in tact to post a score?

"'Sorry guys ...I think the Vaughan dismissal is my fault.'

Stood up to finally gloat to my Aussie work mates about the English team this summer and in particular Vaughan's 20 off McGrath and then I read the next passage of text!

Needless to say...I sat down promptly and wished that I was reading the 1987 Aussie tour commentary."
Welshboy (Perth, WA)

"It's not been a totally convincing performance from England, a few streaky edges around some booming shots from Vaughan and Pietersen, but they need one guy to really kick on and stick around to score a lot of runs. We know Pietersen is capable of it, but is there anyone else?"
Former Somerset captain Peter Roebuck on Test Match Special

17th over: 72-2
Bell finds runs again, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest he intended to run Clark's first ball past first slip for yet another four behind square. A single brings Pietersen back on strike, who sees the ball whizz past his outside edge before smashing the next straight back past Clark for a lovely four. A decent over for England and it's time for drinks.

16th over: 62-2
Unsurprisingly Australia take the third powerplay - Johnson and Clark really are on the button at the moment. Surprisingly, though, Ricky Ponting opts not to have a slip and he might wish he had done after watching Pietersen blaze a cut attempt off the edge and it goes past Gilchrist for a boundary.

15th over: 57-2
It is the big man on strike now and it brings the desired effect - three runs! A neat nudge for two round the corner brings a couple and then Pietersen takes a sharp single. He seems a little concerned with his gloves at the moment after he dropped his bat taking that two. Either way, Bell should be a little concerned with his scoring rate - 10 from 27 balls hardly has the Aussies quaking in their boots you fear.

14th over: 54-2
And in a double change paceman Mitchell Johnson takes over from Bracken - and he goes one better than Clark and bowls a maiden. The loss of Vaughan has allowed Australia to take something of a stranglehold here, while Ian Bell seems content to watch and leave most deliveries. Get 'KP' on strike man!

13th over: 54-2
Stuart Clark is on - the bugbear of the England side throughout the Test series - and he starts with five dot deliveries before Ian Bell nudges the last delivery for a single. Explosive stuff.

"Sally Gunnell isn't a bad bowler to be fair (we think he means Nathan Bracken here).... I never knew she was an Aussie though!"
Tom in Sydney

12th over: 53-2
Talking of not being textbook or without danger, Pietersen flashes a wild cut attempt down to third man off the edge. He then just avoids a sharp delivery which bounces more than he expected - the first sign of liveliness in the pitch - but his wicket is in tact come the end of another fine Bracken over.

11th over: 51-2
'KP' picks up the baton nicely, clearly responding to the big BBC build up, and drives through cover for a three. It's not textbook and it's not without danger, but frankly I prefer it to the dabbing and touch strokes of earlier in the innings.

10th over: 47-2
Hold on, scratch that, Kevin Pietersen strides to the crease with a steely look in his eye and it's a welcome sight. Call me a soppy old fool but, regardless of the fact that he was born in South Africa, he is the great hope of this England team. And he has a great tattoo of the three lions on his arm - that's good enough for me! Needless to say he almost edges the second ball behind, playing and missing at another fine Bracken delivery, but he didn't so, you know, bring it on!

"12... 26... 19... 4... 7... 53... 13... 28... 1... 6... 10... That's not the England scorecard, that's my Chinese takeaway order for tomorrow night!"
Matt, Birmingham

Wicket
10th over: WICKET England 47-2 (Vaughan 26)
Right, blame this one on me folks. Vaughan, just as he was looking to be approaching something like decent touch, edges Bracken to Hayden at first slip on the run as he looks for another trademark cover drive. Absolutely my fault - the commentator's curse strikes again - and you won't hear much more optimism from me I tell you.

9th over: 42-1
Vaughan is on the attack and McGrath has no answer. A cover drive, splendid pull and another drive through extra cover bring two fours and 20 runs from the over. Oh how England have missed that kind of confident approach. I wouldn't say Australia are on the rack just yet, but you never know!

8th over: 32-1
Michael Vaughan decides now is the time to attack. A beautiful off-drive on the run through the covers brings a boundary and three more runs ensures the opener farms the strike. A sign the skipper's confidence if improving by the minute?

7th over: 25-1
Michael Vaughan, determined to test his knee to the fullest, starts off for a risky run off McGrath before being sent back - leading to a wonderful pirouette in the middle from the captain and he gets home easily. He takes a single and then Ian Bell manages to survive a jaffer on his off-stump, missing the edge by a matter of millimetres.

6th over: 24-1
Ian Bell races to the crease and so nearly goes first ball - Adam Gilchrist spilling the ball diving to his right after the Warwickshire batsman edged a fine Bracken delivery. A rare error from the wicketkeeper and it brings four more runs for England - runs you already fear might be crucial for the visitors.

"I would have thought England would have just defaulted after winning the toss."
Rowan, Auckland, NZ

Wicket
6th over: WICKET England 20-1 (Strauss 12)
England's encouraging start comes to an end as Bracken draws the edge from Strauss, the opener trying to dab it down to third man, and Matty Hayden takes a fine diving catch to his right at first slip.

5th over: 20-0
Vaughan, playing in his first one-day international for 18 months, survives a couple of scares as McGrath beats him outside the off stump with his first two deliveries. A couple of singles keep the scoreboard ticking over on a slowish pitch, but neither England opener look likely to bludgeon the Aussie bowlers early on to take advantage of the fielding restrictions. Not that we expected them to of course, but still.

4th over: 18-0
Cameron White is a magnet to the ball at the moment. Three times Strauss looks to get Bracken away, and three times the Victorian denies the England opener a run. However, a lovely late cut brings the left-hander his first boundary of the day and the tourists' encouraging start continues.

3rd over: 14-0
McGrath, in the swansong of his career, is as accurate as ever early on, but Strauss looks to be finding his touch. A shovel onto the leg side brings two, before a neat flick through mid-wicket brings three runs.

"Here in chilly British Columbia with a hot cuppa, there's nothing like clicking refresh and enjoying the BBC humour as another wave of optimism makes it's way around the English world...COME ON ENGLAND!"
Mark, Vancouver BC

2nd over: 9-0
England, clearly keen to keep wickets intact early on, are being watchful early on. Still, an error from wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist and nudge from Strauss precede the first four of the innings - Vaughan flicking Nathan Bracken via a thick inside edge to fine leg. The England skipper ends the over by missing a walking drive - a first sign of aggression from the tourists.

1st over: 3-0
A right rollicking start from England's openers! A leg glance apiece for Strauss and Vaughan, either side of a McGrath wide, and over one is negotiated without too much incident.

0315: The teams are out, Australia in yet another kit change - this time sporting a baggy green effort - and McGrath will open the bowling for the hosts.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for the likes of Paul Nixon and Monty Panesar to cement their places in the England set up ahead of the World Cup and, who knows, we might be in for a surprise and see England really step up today."
Angus Fraser on Test Match Special.

"My first thought is that this wouldn't be a night of following England online if we didn't start off blindly optimistically, I know it's getting harder, believe me, after a month of being completely nocturnal I know... C'mon England!"Lee Morgan

0312: By the way, a warm welcome and hearty congratulations to those of you in the UK who have braved the early start time to lend your support from afar to the England team.

I would suggest that they need all the support that they can get, so let us know your thoughts...

Text the BBC Sport website and the TMS team on 84040 (from the UK only)

Email the BBC Sport website and the TMS team on TMS@bbc.co.uk

0310: A less-than positive omen is that Australia captain Ricky Ponting warmed up for this match by declaring he wants his side to rack up 400 or over against England during this series, just as his side did against South Africa last year.

Strauss could learn a thing or two from 'Punter' about positive thinking hey?

0305: Andrew Strauss has claimed England enter today's one-dayer "with a sense that we haven't got much to lose".

Now call me a sceptic, but it's not quite the Churchillian battle cry that one might have hoped for - is it me or is there a sense of resignation layered into everything any player other than skipper Michael Vaughan seems to say?

Still, Strauss added that England "might surprise a few people". What might constitute a surprise is anyone's guess. Lasting past the 20th over? One or two batsmen actually getting a score? One or two Australian batsmen not getting a score? Who knows...

Oops, sorry, positive thinking was the order of the day wasn't it.

Now, what about that toss huh?

0300: News of the toss comes through - and Michael Vaughan has won it for England! It's clearly an omen! Believe people! He's chosen to bat, a decision Ponting admits he would have made if he had won.

"I cant believe that Jimmy "Hit me for 6" Anderson hasn't been dropped. ahh well. Better start making plans to hide from all the expectant Aussies in the office. or just pray for rain!"
Ali

0250: The England team is in and my word it's a corker. Ahem, honest.

Following the capitulation against Australia in the Twenty20 international two days ago, England have rung the changes. Opener Andrew Strauss returns in place of Ed Joyce after a neck injury and, well, that's it.

That means James Anderson, bludgeoned by the Aussies in Sydney, keeps his place, while Monty Panesar and Paul Nixon - at the ripe old age of 36 - make their one day international debuts.

It appears that Liam Plunkett, who England were keen to get into the side for what would have been his first appearance on this tour, has fallen at the last after being struck on the ankle in the nets on Thursday.

Still, England can take solace from the fact that Brett Lee is missing. Just Glenn McGrath, Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Bracken and Andrew Symonds to contend with then. Hhmmm.


Australia: AC Gilchrist (w), ML Hayden, RT Ponting (c), MJ Clarke, MEK Hussey, A Symonds, CL White, NW Bracken, SR Clark, MG Johnson, GD McGrath.

England: AJ Strauss, MP Vaughan (c), IR Bell, KP Pietersen, A Flintoff, PD Collingwood, PA Nixon (w), JWM Dalrymple, J Lewis, JM Anderson, MS Panesar.

England won toss and decided to bat

Umpires: IL Howell and SJA Taufel

SEE ALSO
Pietersen suffers fractured rib
12 Jan 07 |  England


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