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Australia v England - 4th Test day one as it happened

  1. 2250 Commentary  

    Evening, everyone - and a Merry Christmas to you all from us at BBC Sport. If you're waiting with nervous excitement for news from Australia, or you've just put the kids to bed and are settling down with a glass of sherry, let us be your guide to what will hopefully be a rip-roaring Boxing Day Test from the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. We're about 40 minutes away from the start of play, and will bring you news of the toss as we get it...

  2. BBC Sport's James Pearce
    Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  

    On Twitter: "Barmy Army doing themselves proud. Everywhere I look outside MCG there are England fans arriving."

  3. 2255 Commentary  

    No confirmed team news yet, but BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew has tweeted that it looks like England may go for Tim Bresnan instead of Steven Finn in the seam bowling department.

  4. BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew  

    On Twitter: "Bres for Finn confirmed. Think Aussies unchanged."

  5. 2300 Commentary TOSS NEWS  

    England win the toss and field first. Tim Bresnan replaces Steven Finn as captain Andrew Strauss feels the pitch will favour "swing bowling rather than hit-the-deck bowling". Aussie captain Ricky Ponting admits he wasn't completely sure what he'd have done - he's fit to play despite the finger injury he suffered in Perth.

  6. 2304 Commentary  

    Don't forget that as ever, there's plenty to read in the build-up to the Test. Jonathan Agnew's column discusses the issue of sledging which has made plenty of headlines since the Perth Test, Justin Langer explains how special a Boxing Day Test at the MCG is to Australians, while Test Match Special producer Adam Mountford has blogged about what you can hear on TMS during this Test. And our man Tom Fordyce has tried to answer the question: how do you dismiss Mike Hussey?

  7. BBC Test Match Special's Ian Chappell
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Ian Chappell  

    "They always say in Melbourne that if you don't like the weather, you just need to wait half-an-hour and you'll get something different."

  8. BBC Test Match Special's Michael Vaughan
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Michael Vaughan  

    "I'm amazed Australia haven't picked a spinner. From what I've seen of the pitch, it will definitely spin on days four and five."

  9. BBC Test Match Special's Ian Chappell
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Ian Chappell  

    "I think Ricky's lost a bit of confidence in spin bowling, which is worrying because we're going to need a spinner at Sydney."

  10. 2311 Commentary  

    Where are my manners? Here are the confirmed teams:

    Australia: PJ Hughes, SR Watson, RT Ponting (capt), MJ Clarke, MEK Hussey, BJ Haddin (wk), SPD Smith, MG Johnson, RJ Harris, PM Siddle, BW Hilfenhaus.

    England: AJ Strauss (capt), AN Cook, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, PD Collingwood, IR Bell, MJ Prior (wk), TT Bresnan, GP Swann, JM Anderson, CT Tremlett.

    Umpires are Aleem Dar and Tony Hill.

  11. Commentary  

    From Nadeem, TMS inbox: "Evening all, turkey is in the fridge for Boxing Day sandwiches, come on England, this Test to retain the Ashes."

  12. 2320 Commentary  

    Time for the pre-game ceremony. The traditional Aboriginal welcome we've had at each of the Tests so far\u00a0is followed by the anthems - "God Save The Queen" is superbly belted out by a bearded baritone, while "Advance Australia Fair" is sung somewhat less convincingly by a clean-shaven chap who looks like he could be Alastair Cook's younger brother.

  13. Twitter  

    From gdalbroi:\u00a0"Wife and son gone to beach for holidays. Working in the sweating heat. Cricket and leftovers only positive."

  14. BBC Test Match Special's Ian Chappell
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Ian Chappell  

    "You've got to be careful at the MCG as the noise gets so loud that sometimes you can't hear your batting partner call for a run, so you have to make do with hand signals - while you've also got to be alert in the field if you can't hear the captain."

  15. BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew  

    "A bonus tonight - from the start of play, we're going to be on BBC Radio 5 live overnight, as well as 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 Long Wave and online."

  16. Commentary  

    From Mark (normally Knutsford, currently Southern Lanzarote), TMS inbox: "Good evening Mark. My wife has just read me the riot act about staying up all night following the cricket online and being knackered all day tomorrow. What she doesn\u2019t seem to appreciate is that as we are travelling tomorrow (back from sunny, warm Lanzarote) I can sleep on the plane while she looks after the kids. Don\u2019t see the issue personally. Looking forward to the game whatever!"

  17. 2328 THE SUN IS OUT  

    I was at the MCG four years ago to watch England get turned over in three days -\u00a0and I can promise you that people are not exaggerating when they talk of the incredible atmosphere when there are 90,000 or so\u00a0fans inside the ground. But as Aggers mentioned on TMS, our sympathies to those whose journeys from the UK to Australia may have been delayed by the cold weather. Hope you made it - and enjoy the sunshine! Players walking out.

  18. BBC Test Match Special's Stuart Broad
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Stuart Broad  

    On Twitter: "In the previous three Tests the starts have been incredible. Backing it again, get yourself sat down..."

    Having been at Perth as a TMS contributor, Stuart is back in England now for rehab

  19. BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Pougatch
    Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Pougatch  

    On Twitter: "Big call from Strauss to put the Aussies in again after doing so at the Waca and losing. Real faith shown in his bowlers."

  20. 2334 DROPPED CATCH Aus 0-0  

    James Anderson, declared fit despite a side strain, takes the new ball to Shane Watson - and finds the edge with the fifth ball of the day... and it just about carries to Paul Collingwood at third slip, diving forward. A very difficult chance, but still a chance...

  21. 2339 Commentary Aus 10-0  

    Chris Tremlett to share the new ball - and Australia are off the mark when Phillip Hughes cuts one that just about reaches the point boundary for four.\u00a0"Too wide and too short," chunters Geoff Boycott on TMS, who wanted Yorkshire's Ajmal Shahzad picked. Hughes helps himself to a two off his legs, and drives a half-volley through the covers\u00a0for his second four of the over.\u00a0"Rubbish over. If he bowls like that, they'll be 100-0 at lunch. Absolute tripe," mutters Boycs.

  22. Commentary  

    From Vicky, London, TMS inbox: "I think the Ashes/Christmas excitement has become too much Mark. I've gone for a quick lie down so following via live text. Madness."

    As it's still Christmas Day (just) and we're about to go through the night, I wouldn't like to speculate how many of you are following this from a horizontal position...

  23. 2343 DROPPED CATCH Aus 15-0  

    Another chance is put down... Watson flashes hard, Kevin Pietersen is dealt a painful blow as he gets both hands to it at gully. They run two, and KP is still wringing his fingers. Watson cover-drives and they run three - the MCG is quite vast, and not the quickest of outfields.

  24. BBC Test Match Special's Geoff Boycott
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Geoff Boycott  

    "I can't see any way how England can win this Test from what I've seen so far. A draw would do. If you were an opener, you'd be queueing up to bat on this compared to Perth."

  25. WICKET Watson c Pietersen b Tremlett 5 (Aus 15-1)  

    Having been dropped twice on nought, Shane Watson looks slightly surprised as he fends at a lifter from Tremlett and is caught at gully!

  26. 2350 Commentary Aus 15-1  

    The excitement of that wicket has clearly got to my match-report colleague Oliver Brett, who stumbles towards me and drops some Turkish Delight at my feet. "That's the first time in 12 innings that Shane Watson has been dismissed below 20," notes TMS scorer Andrew. The new batsman is Ricky Ponting, who's the first Aussie batsman I can remember in this series to don a sleeveless sweater - he plays out the over.

  27. 2353 Commentary Aus 16-1  

    Some prodigious swing from Jimmy A (bowling from the Southern End), who slants one in to Hughes's pads and the left-hander digs it out with a combination of bat and pad. Hughes doesn't look comfortable against the short ball, but manages to glove a single down to fine leg. Steven Finn, omitted for this Test, looks on from the England reserves' bench alongside a sunglasses-clad Monty Panesar who is stroking his beard. Just that single from the over.

  28. Commentary  

    From Ian, TMS inbox: "Still lots of Christmas to go here in Michigan. Nice present from Tremlett; plenty of time for another. C'mon England!"

  29. 2357 Commentary Aus 18-1  

    A beauty from Tremlett that has Hughes fishing at thin air, before the left-hander nudges another single off his legs. Punter, still yet to get off the mark, calls Hughes for a quick single, both batsmen hesitate, Cook scrambles around\u00a0from short leg to shy at the stumps...\u00a0and just misses the target. Hughes would have been out by a country mile -\u00a0but Punter has a single to his name.

  30. Commentary  

    From Freddy Cumber, Oxfordshire: "Mark! Can it get much better? I'm in an armchair by the fire, dog asleep at my feet, glass of red wine in one hand, mince pie in the other, with Scarface on the telly...and now an early wicket! Will this Test be a late Christmas present?! I think so."

  31. Commentary  

    From John, TMS inbox: "Following along from Sorrento, Italy. I'm an Aussie and hope we wipe the floor with you Poms, but it says something about at least the quality of BBC Sport that I still prefer to read some of these comments than get updates from Australia! Keep it up lads."

  32. 0002 Commentary Aus 19-1  

    Umpire Tony Hill holds up play while some spectators are moved away from the sightscreen behind the bowler's arm, before Ponting pushes a single off his legs. Hughes plays and misses at Anderson - plenty in it for the bowlers at this stage, seemingly vindicating Strauss's decision to field first. And a happy Boxing Day to those of you in the UK...

  33. 0007 APPEAL - NOT OUT Aus 19-1  

    There's a bit of a breeze at the MCG - as both umpires, who began the game in shirt sleeves, have summoned their big white coats. Tremlett and wicketkeeper Prior appeal for lbw against Punter, but Hotspot shows there was a bit of bat on that - good decision Mr Dar. Neither batsman looks particularly comfortable at the moment - and a maiden over from Tremlett is applauded. (I watched his dad bowl plenty of those in my youth...)

  34. SMS  

    From Adam in Cambridge: "Big day for Bresnan, got a good feeling about this match. Plus the missus has just dropped off to sleep! RESULT!"

  35. 0011 Commentary Aus 21-1  

    CMJ on TMS piques our interest by alluding to a possible announcement later today involving Shane Warne. "A positive one," notes the MCC president - as Warney's private life has made plenty of headlines recently. Summariser Vic Marks wonders whether it could involve a statue... Hughes pokes a single through the covers, Ponting tries to clip one off his legs and they run a leg bye.

  36. Commentary  

    From Josh, TMS inbox: "Here in New Zealand, it's halfway through Boxing Day. Woken this morning by future mother-in-law screaming at family, and now packing in anticipation of my 30-hour trip back to London, aiming to arrive just in time for my nightshift. Monstrous hangover not helping. If you can't be a good example, be a terrible warning..."

  37. 0015 Commentary Aus 26-1  

    Tremlett strays with a no-ball which disappears down the leg side for four. But then Ponting nearly plays on as he tries to force the lanky Surrey seamer to leg and the ball rebounds off his left arm and towards the stumps, just missing them... Another slightly half-hearted shout for lbw, but England decide against a review.

  38. BBC Test Match Special's Jim Maxwell
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jim Maxwell  

    "When you're deciding whether to call for a review, don't ask the wicketkeeper. If wicketkeepers were umpires, we'd have one-day Tests."

  39. UMPIRE REVIEW  

    Hughes is in all sorts of trouble against Anderson, fending one off which nearly hits the stumps - then there's an appeal for a catch down the leg side and England do ask for a review this time...

  40. NOT OUT  

    Hotspot appears to show the ball brushing Hughes on the hip - and third umpire Marais Erasmus agrees, so Hughes carries on and England have lost a review. (Substitute the words "gratuitously wasted" for "lost" if you prefer).

  41. BBC Test Match Special's Vic Marks
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Vic Marks  

    "If you're the batsman here, you could be mischievous by pretending to look guilty, and tricking the fielding side into asking for a review."

  42. 0020 Commentary Aus 26-1  

    Anderson completes a maiden over to Hughes - the "Burnley Express" has excellent figures of 6-2-8-0.

  43. SMS  

    From Tony Cocozza, London: "My girlfriend was so excited about the book on Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals I bought her for Xmas that she decided to read me a page while I was listening to Test Match commentary. She read for a good\u00a010 minutes and I didn't listen to a word she said. Should I explain that Test cricket is actually more important to me than how to make a souffle?"

    Other cookery books are, of course, available...

  44. 0024 Commentary Aus 26-1  

    Tremlett is off after taking 1-17 from five overs, and it's Tim Bresnan's first chance to bowl in an Ashes Test. There's a catcher at short mid-wicket for Punter, and Big Tim keeps it tight, opening up with a maiden.

    Meanwhile, Vic Marks reveals on TMS that he attended a Christmas party for the press yesterday and was given a wig as a present. "Not as refined as Doug Bollinger's," he notes.

  45. BBC Sport's Oliver Brett
    Contributor BBC Sport's Oliver Brett  

    On Twitter: "Hughes is a weird batsman. He only wants the ball miles outside off, otherwise he can't fashion a proper shot. Will probably get a ton now."

  46. 0028 Commentary Aus 37-1  

    As if to prove Oliver Brett\u00a0right (see below), Hughes is given room outside off stump by Anderson, and crashes him through cover point for three. Punter then finally plays a convincing shot as he rocks back and powerfully pulls for four. The crowd go wild as the Aussie skipper repeats the shot to another shorter delivery, with the same result.

  47. WICKET Hughes c Pietersen b Bresnan 16 (Aus 37-2)  

    Bresnan tempts Hughes with one outside off stump, the left-hander drives and is caught at gully as KP picks up his second catch of the day!

  48. BBC Test Match Special's Vic Marks
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Vic Marks  

    "I think if you put a side in, you should really get three wickets by lunch, minimum. Also, Jim Maxwell told me we won't quite break the attendance record today unless the members come out in force."

  49. 0035 Commentary Aus 37-2  

    The sun is out again, and shining on England as vice-captain Michael Clarke joins his skipper at the crease. Both in sleeveless sweaters.\u00a0TMS summariser Justin Langer is revelling in the MCG Boxing Day atmosphere, describing it as his "Field of Dreams". Now there's a good film, even if you're not into baseball as much as I am... Bresnan is still right on the money, and completes a wicket maiden - he's yet to concede a run.

  50. BBC Sport's James Pearce
    Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  

    On Twitter: "BIG wicket. First time today that God Save the Queen is being sung loudly in the stands."

  51. WICKET Ponting c Swann b Tremlett 10 (Aus 37-3)  

    Tremlett back in the attack, and immediately he has Punter caught at second slip! Well taken with both hands by Graeme Swann diving to his left.

  52. BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew  

    "Tremlett is getting some steepling bounce outside off stump, and once again England are giving their bowlers some great support in the slip cordon - after an insipid first couple of overs, they're firmly on top."

  53. UMPIRE REVIEW  

    The new batsman is Mike Hussey, who's been the proverbial immovable object so far in this series. (If you haven't read it, I can recommend Tom Fordyce's\u00a0blog asking\u00a0how you go about dismissing "Mr Cricket"). Tremlett hits the left-hander on the pad, and Strauss calls for a review...

  54. NOT OUT  

    Aggers on TMS is worried that there haven't been many "not out" lbw decisions overturned via the Decision Review System (DRS) this series - but this has hit him on the flap of the back pad. However, Virtual Eye shows the ball going over the stumps - and England have thrown away both their reviews after barely more than an hour's play.

  55. 0043 Commentary Aus 37-3  

    That was a wicket maiden for Tremlett, by the way. He has figures of 6-3-17-2.

  56. SMS  

    From Ed, Essex: "Let's face it cricket fans, the best present at Christmas comes right at the end of the day and is most certainly the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. An all nighter is on the cards; keep up the top quality updates lads!"

  57. BBC Test Match Special's Justin Langer
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Justin Langer  

    "I always found Tim\u00a0Bresnan\u00a0difficult to bat against in county cricket as he's got a heavy bouncer and he can swing the ball."

  58. 0047 Commentary Aus 39-3  

    Bresnan's immaculate bowling figures receive their first blemish when Clarke pushes a slightly risky single but both men make their ground. Bres then raps Hussey on the pad, Mr Dar shakes his head and England may live to regret using up their reviews so early. Hussey is off the mark with a single.

  59. 0050 Commentary Aus 43-3  

    Tremlett keeps it tight against Hussey, but "Mr Cricket" waits for the right ball to hit and lets loose an immaculate cover drive for four. "That's the shot of a man with a lot of runs in this series," notes JL on TMS.

    And\u00a0to answer a question from\u00a0Nirav in London on the e-mails, my baseball allegiance is with the Houston Astros, who are usually as inconsistent and frustrating as most of the other sports teams I follow...

  60. SMS  

    From Anthony in Twickenham: "Two wasted reviews show Strauss isn't as calm as he appears."

  61. BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at The MCG
    Contributor BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at The MCG  

    On Twitter: "No-one back home going to bed yet, no? Had to pinch myself when Punter went - Father Christmas delivers on my letter once again."

  62. 0056 Commentary Aus 46-3  

    Clarke and Hussey are starting to settle down with ones and twos against Bresnan. Michael Vaughan on TMS thinks it's important that England bowl Australia out today.

  63. 0059 Commentary Aus 49-3  

    Clarke nurdles a leg bye down to fine leg, Hussey flicks a well-run two off his toes. "Don't tell me this is a normal MCG pitch," notes Michael Vaughan on TMS. "But that's what I would do - I'd prepare a pitch to favour the seamers."

  64. Twitter  

    From sarahjanehan: "Santa baby, stick a Hussey wicket under the tree, for me..."

  65. 0103 Commentary Aus 53-3  

    Clarke cuts at Bresnan ioff the last ball of another\u00a0tight over\u00a0and it sails past the slips for four to push the home side past 50.

  66. Commentary  

    From Joel in Monaco, TMS inbox: "Marky Baby - I'm lying in bed in a studio flat in Monte Carlo, my room mate is snoring like a runaway train. Can anyone suggest a place round here that will be showing the Test? The local Irish bar is shut for 'No\u00ebl', so I may have to go a little further a field. A place with no dress code is ideal if I can be picky, as I've got no intention of changing back out of my Only Fools And Horses pyjamas."

  67. Commentary  

    From Dave Brownett, TMS inbox: "In the Great Southern Stand watching a fine spell of England bowling... Bresnan doing well outside off stump."

  68. 0107 Commentary Aus 53-3  

    Tremlett slants one in at Hussey that swings a mile AFTER passing the batsman - CMJ and MPV on TMS want a short leg brought in. Hussey shoulders arms as Tremlett curves one over the top of the stumps - after (admittedly) a ropey first over, he's bowled very well again this morning, having been arguably England's best player in the Perth defeat. Hussey plays and misses at the last ball, that's Tremlett's fourth maiden over.

  69. SMS  

    From Craig from Rochdale: "Committed to staying up until Hussey's back in the hutch. Could be a long night!"

  70. 0111 Commentary Aus 57-3  

    Clarke powerfully on-drives Bresnan down the ground for four - "shot of the day" according to Michael Vaughan. Graeme Swann is limbering up in the slips, he may well have a twirl before lunch.

  71. Commentary  

    From Ian Bell, TMS inbox: "Do you think there is a whole team of namesakes tuning in from around the world?"

  72. 0114 Commentary Aus 58-3  

    Swann does indeed enter the attack - bowling round the wicket to the left-handed Hussey, with a tight ring of fielders. Oh, how England fans would go wild if Swann could play his "wicket in first over of spell" joker card at this stage... Just a single from the last ball of the over.

  73. Commentary  

    From Tristan, TMS inbox: "A suggestion for Joel [0107], try the 'Priory' pub in Beausoleil - one street down from avenue de la Republique, only a short walk from the shady tax haven of Monaco."

  74. 0118 Commentary Aus 58-3  

    Hussey is watchful against Big Tim, seeing off a maiden over. Meanwhile, Pakistan are having some fun in a Twenty20 international against New Zealand in Auckland - Shahid Afridi is opening the batting and having a bit of a dart, as you might expect.

  75. Commentary  

    From Tony in a very snowy Maastricht and not the Great Southern Stand, TMS inbox: "I\u00a0lie here next to my sleeping wife talking to my unborn child about Mr Cricket!? Maybe I should go back downstairs to the\u00a0telly. Wickets were falling when I was managing to stay awake and watch. Keep up the top job!"

  76. 0121 Commentary Aus 58-3  

    Clarke drives at Swann, trying to take the spinner on, but can't penetrate the infield. Maiden over - Aussies trying to get through to lunch without losing any more wickets.

  77. WICKET Hussey c Prior b Anderson 8 (Aus 58-4)  

    Anderson returns in place of Bresnan, he somehow induces an edge from Hussey, a grateful Prior takes the catch and the England fielders\u00a0all go absolutely barmy!

  78. Commentary  

    From John from Leeds, TMS inbox: "We had a baby a few days ago. I have told the missus I will take care of the night feeds for the next five days. I also told her there was no need to thank me!"

  79. RAIN STOPS PLAY Aus 58-4  

    Steve Smith is the new batsman, nearly nicks his first ball to the keeper! A sudden rain shower then prompts the players to flee to the pavilion - with only five minutes remaining in the session, they may well take lunch immediately, but it's come too late to save Mr Cricket...

  80. SMS  

    From Marianne, Yorkshire: "After the Queen's promotion of sport in her Crimbo speech, I wonder if she's keeping tabs on England's progress via TMS on One's mobile..."

    Well, she is also Queen of Australia, as the Barmy Army remind their Antipodean counterparts several times each day!

  81. 0129 INTERVAL LUNCH - Aus 58-4  

    Yep, we're taking an early lunch. Jim Maxwell on TMS is optimistic that it'll only be a brief shower and we should be resuming on time.

  82. BBC Sport's James Pearce
    Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  

    On Twitter: "MCG say attendance currently around 80,000. That top stand will need to fill after lunch if record to be broken."

  83. 0135 Commentary  

    Right - the TMS crew will be hearing from several ex-players, including former England batsman Mark Butcher, about the history of Ashes Tests at the MCG during the interval. Do keep the radio on - and don't forget that for one night only, you can follow TMS on BBC Radio 5 live as well as in the usual places. We're going to take a quick break - but we'll be back for the resumption.

  84. BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew  

    "The umpires have been out and had a look, the light isn't brilliant but the cover is\u00a0being carefully removed and\u00a0I think we're going to resume shortly."

  85. Commentary  

    From Mark Butcher, Bristol, TMS inbox: "Dear Mr Bell [0111], I am willing to play for our new team, however I insist on batting at number\u00a0three and I'm singing the dressing room music."

  86. 0201 RAIN STOPS PLAY  

    Uh-oh. Covers going back on.

  87. 0203 Commentary  

    I guess the Melbourne locals would point out that Crowded House didn't call their famous single "Four Seasons In One Day" for nothing. The weather there is very changeable - I can remember how chilly it was on the first morning at the MCG four years ago. (We'd had hail on the previous day,\u00a0Christmas Day. Hail! In mid-summer!)

    Meanwhile, over on BBC1, Kevin Kline is about to get run over by a steamroller in the climax to "A Fish Called Wanda", watched by John Cleese... who is also simultaneously on ITV in "Clockwise"...

  88. Commentary  

    From David Hughes, TMS inbox: "Re: Mr Bell [0111] and Mr Butcher [0201] -\u00a0I'm now in NYC, don't bowl spin but would open as long as you paid my airfare?!"

  89. Commentary  

    From Jonathan Westlake, Kent, TMS inbox: "Great listening to Butcher on TMS... I'm sitting in my mother-in-law's lounge, turkey sandwich in hand, having fond memories of my time on the MCG turf in 1998 when hundreds of England fans poured onto the pitch after Dean Headley steamed in to take\u00a0six wickets to help win the foutth Test after the Aussie's needed only 174 and were 130-3. It kept the series alive after being destroyed in the previous\u00a0three Tests (saved by rain in Brisbane)... Shame they couldn't quite pull off the comeback in Sydney despite Gough's hat-trick! Come on England!"

  90. 0212 Commentary  

    If you've just joined us and are wondering why Simon Hughes is asking ex-England players Derek Pringle (vinyl fan with over 5,000 records) and Mark Butcher (CD and download fan) on TMS about their record collections, it's because we're in a rain delay at the MCG. The shower started just before lunch, which was taken slightly early - but we'll keep you posted on the weather.

  91. Commentary  

    From Big Joe, Moseley, TMS inbox: "Now then, I've polished off the port with fellow 'night-watchman' the 'Buffet Slayer', thinking it'd be safe to end Christmas Day at lunch (in many ways), but apparently it's time to crack open the Sparkling. Can I be reassured that this bubbling performance continues as I don't want it to go flat?"

    Is the Buffet Slayer a member of the undead? If so, they could star in a TV show called "Vampire the Buffet Slayer". I'll get my coat.

  92. SMS  

    From Nick, Brent: "I'm a cop on night duty in London. Can you ask the umpires to let me know when the weather will be clear so that\u00a0I know how long\u00a0I have to deal with the next job? You wouldn't believe how many people are fighting tonight. Peace on earth?"

  93. Commentary  

    From Ted, Teignmouth, TMS inbox: "For all those slating Bresnan's inclusion, just look at the pressure he built up prior to Hussey's dismissal. Finn is a fine wicket-taker, but he offered a lot of opportunities to the Aussies to break free from pressure built up by Anderson. Come on England!"

  94. Commentary  

    From Alan, Isle of Man, TMS inbox: "Re 0203 - Crowded House are from NZ - let's hope they're the only incorrectly placed Finn of the day."

  95. 0223 RAIN STOPS PLAY  

    A little reminder that there's a rain delay at the MCG with Australia reeling at 58-4 - so let me bring you up to date with what else is happening in the world of cricket.

    In Auckland, Pakistan are 112-8 with a couple of overs left in their Twenty20 international against New Zealand where Tim Southee has taken 5-18 in four overs - while starting later this morning at 0800 GMT is the second Test between South Africa and India in Durban, with the home side 1-0 up in the three-Test series.

  96. BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at The MCG
    Contributor BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at The MCG  

    On Twitter: "Battering it down with rain. Floodlights on. I thought we were in Australia. Feeling a little Cardiff."

  97. BBC Test Match Special's Vic Marks
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Vic Marks  

    "With the reviews, I think you've got to save them for the mistake, rather than just use them as a punt."

  98. BBC Test Match Special's Simon Hughes
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Simon Hughes  

    "My\u00a0father [the actor Peter Hughes] was in two Oscar-winning films - 'A Passage To India' and 'Hope and Glory'. They managed to get cricket into 'Hope and Glory', which is about the Second World War, through the eyes of a child - he showed them how to bowl leg-breaks."

  99. 0236 Commentary  

    Covers coming off. The crowd cheer.

  100. 0238 Commentary SHANE WARNE STATUE UPDATE  

    If you were with us at 0011 when CMJ alluded to a possible Shane Warne-related announcement, here's a press release from the Melbourne Cricket Club.

    They're going to expand the number of statues around the MCG, with a minimum of one per year for the next five years. And the first statue in the new series, due to be unveiled in late 2011,\u00a0will be... S.K. Warne.

  101. BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew  

    On Twitter: "Not seen much of Sir Geoff since he wrote off England's prospects after 12 minutes of play."

  102. 0241 Commentary  

    Play is\u00a0going to restart at 1355 local time (0255 GMT).

  103. SMS  

    From Steve, an Aussie in Sheffield: "Re: Alan, Isle of Man [0223] on Crowded House. Only Neil Finn is a Kiwi, Paul Hester and Nick Seymour are from Victoria. Shame the Aussies are struggling to play as well as Crowded House."

  104. BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew  

    On Twitter: "Can add on an hour tonight, plus the half hour for the overs, so 0800 GMT finish."

  105. 0249 Commentary  

    Floodlights are on, but we should be under way in about five minutes.

  106. BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew  

    "Our listeners may think we're watching in luxury here - but while it's a great view from our commentary box, we have to be contortionists not to pull all the wires out every time we move."

  107. 0256 Commentary Aus 63-4  

    James Anderson has three slips in for Steve Smith as he resumes the over he began about an hour and a half ago. The blond youngster is off the mark with a cover drive for three. Clarke on-drives and they run two as the lumbering Tim Bresnan gives chase.

  108. Commentary  

    From Richard, TMS inbox: "Just finished Christmas dinner here in the Cayman Islands and while the rest of the family are watching some film that I have never heard of, I am following the cricket on TMS but I cant help but wonder if anyone knows of a sports bar open in Grand Cayman that I could sneak off to under the pretence of going for an after-dinner walk."

  109. 0301 Commentary Aus 66-4  

    Bresnan returns to the attack in place of Swann, Smith helps himself to another three through the covers, and 12th man Steven Finn brings out some long-sleeved sweaters (or rather these modern tops they wear in place of sweaters) for various players. Jonathan Trott takes up the long-sleeved option.

  110. Commentary  

    From James, Chalfont St Peter: "I'm glad Strauss put them in. We should have done\u00a0four years ago on that bitterly cold Boxing Day (I was there and had to borrow clothes from friends). Once we were out I remember Aussies were 85-5 at one point but a couple of bad\u00a0lbw decisions let them get away. The result could have been so much different, so I hope we don't rue using up our reviews."

    Indeed - Australia were 84-5 before Matthew Hayden (who I remember being very lucky to be reprieved by Rudi Koertzen when Hoggard looked to have him lbw twice on the first evening) and Andrew Symonds put on 279 for the sixth wicket.

  111. 0305 Commentary Aus 66-4  

    Smith shoulders arms to Anderson, who rolls his eyes in frustration as the ball passes millimetres over the stumps. Maiden over - and a groundstaff member runs on to lay down some sawdust on the popping crease at Bresnan's end.

  112. BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew  

    "I was watching a warm-up match in Cairns once when the game had to be stopped while the groundsman drove out in his 'ute' to a nearby sawmill so that he could pick up some sawdust to put on the pitch."

  113. SMS  

    From David Paxton, Notting Hill: "Re: 0238 - Great and well deserved honour for Warne. Next time he commentates at the MCG he will join Arsene Wenger in that elite breed that get to pass a statue of themselves as they go to work."

  114. 0309 Commentary Aus 66-4  

    Bresnan bowls a fuller length to Smith, but keeps him tied up and completes a maiden over.

  115. Commentary  

    From Russell in Grand Cayman, TMS inbox: "Richard in Grand Cayman [0301]\u00a0- you could try Triple Crown or Fiddie Murphys on West Bay Road but hold the horses as broadcaster frustratingly is showing NZ v Pakistan Twenty20 instead right now due to 'technical difficulties' with Ashes coverage."

  116. WICKET Smith c Prior b Anderson 6 (Aus 66-5)  

    Smith, who always looks likely to lose his wicket at any time, survives an lbw appeal from Jimmy but then perishes when he pushes forward and gets a thick edge to the keeper.

  117. 0315 Commentary Aus 71-5  

    While cricket fans around the world shake their heads at the fact that Smith is seen as\u00a0a Test\u00a0number six by the Aussie selectors, Vic Marks on TMS sounds a note of caution as Brad Haddin strides to the crease, remembering how Australia's tail was allowed to 'wag' so freely at Perth. Haddin edges his first ball for four between the slips and gully, before adding a single. Never mind the debate over where Ian Bell should bat - Hussey and Haddin have shown all series that they could/should be batting higher.

  118. Twitter  

    From jitters: "Steve Smith is embarrassing to watch. Really does not deserve to be playing for Australia in front of so many other talented batsmen."

  119. 0318 Commentary Aus 71-5  

    After all that build-up I gave him last over, Haddin has a very ungainly swish at the economical Bresnan, wbo sends down his fifth maiden for figures of 10-5-16-1. Excellent work by the Yorkshire seamer.

  120. SMS  

    From C. Quigley: "Clarke is under pressure. Question marks surround his name on the team sheet, just as much as Ponting's. Rediscovering the form he has shown on Brian Lara Cricket today, could be useful. Though on the game, he is referred to as 'M.Clock' and time is certainly ticking away Mr Clarke."

  121. 0321 Commentary Aus 72-5  

    Anderson still getting a bit of swing as Clarke nudges\u00a0a single off his pads.

  122. Commentary  

    From Jez, TMS inbox: "Re Russell from Cayman [0309], that fault is Caribbean-wide (frustratingly same here in BVI). I am just about holding on, in the hope we go back to the real stuff after the knock about between the also rans finishes!"

  123. 0325 Commentary Aus 77-5  

    Bresnan tests Clarke with a bouncer, the Aussie vice-captain hooks it through square leg and they run two. Then Clarke drives, substitute fielder Eoin Morgan leaps through the air at backward point. It would have been the catch of the decade if he'd got it... but it sails agonisingly out of his reach. And the MCG\u00a0attendance at 1400 local time (0300 GMT) was... 82,982. So no record today.

  124. Commentary  

    From Ben Bussey, TMS inbox: "In a similar vein to Richard in Grand Cayman's question [0301], does anyone know of a bar in Washington DC that would show the cricket. It appears to be the one sport that one simply cannot get here on TV."

  125. WICKET Clarke c Prior b Anderson 20 (Aus 77-6)  

    Anderson keeps it tight against Clarke, there's another edge and Prior takes another catch! England really have their boot on Australia's jugular there - perfect conditions for the "Burnley Express" and he's running through them like an express train!

  126. 0332 Commentary Aus 77-6  

    The left-handed Mitchell Johnson is the new batsman, he sees off the rest of Anderson's over. The Lancs man has 3-30 from 12 overs.

  127. WICKET Haddin c Strauss b Bresnan 5 (Aus 77-7)  

    Another edge, another regulation catch, this time to Cap'n Strauss at first slip, and\u00a0Haddin's gone! Yes, you are reading this right - Australia are 77-7 !!!

  128. 0336 Commentary Aus 77-7  

    Ryan Harris is the new batsman, and judging by his scores of 0, 0, 3 and 1 in the series so far, he may be batting too high at number nine. He defends the last ball of the over.

  129. WICKET Johnson c Prior b Anderson 0 (Aus 77-8)  

    Another edge to the keeper, another wicket! Johnson gone for a duck, this is becoming a procession!

  130. BBC Sport's James Pearce
    Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  

    On Twitter: "Only attendance record in danger of being broken today is of how many Australians can squeeze through exit at one time."

  131. 0341 Commentary Aus 78-8  

    So, that's eight wickets down - four catches to the keeper, two to the slips and two to gully! Incredible scenes at the MCG. Peter Siddle is the new batsman, and he gets a big cheer from his home Victoria crowd as he pushes a single off his legs.

  132. BBC Test Match Special's Michael Vaughan
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Michael Vaughan  

    "The pitch has been a good one to bowl on, but you've still got to put the ball in the right areas and hold on to the chances. If I was Harris, Siddle or Hilfenhaus, I'd tee off because the only way Australia can get back into this match is if they can take some early wickets."

  133. 0346 Commentary Aus 82-8  

    Bresnan strays down the leg side and Siddle helps it on its way for four. Then he edges to second slip, Swann isn't sure if it carried, the umpires confer... and the video isn't conclusive. My instinct was that it just brushed the grass in front of his fingers - and there's enough doubt for the batsman to get the benefit of it.

  134. 0350 DRINKS BREAK Aus 86-8  

    Harris aims a meaty pull over mid-wicket, it flies off a top edge and over the slips for four. He then looks to guide one off his hips, it flicks off his backside and sails to the boundary for four... and very harshly, umpire Dar rules that Harris didn't play a shot, so he can't have any runs (or leg byes). Swann is off the field, presumably for finger repairs after that catch attempt in the last over, so Big Tim has a rare chance to stand at second slip in the lead-up to the drinks break.

  135. SMS  

    From Frankie, Birmingham: "Was just playing on-line Scrabble with an Aussie lady, who was distracted by following the Sydney-Hobart yacht race. She was worried by ominous stormy conditions in the race; I quipped that hopefully the yachts were more buoyant than Australia's top order. She quickly forfeited the game."

  136. Commentary  

    From Richard, Camberley, TMS inbox: "I gave up the ghost at 0223 with Aus on 58-4! Straight to sleep, horrid nightmare woke me at 0339 and the score is 78-8! Bet Punter wishes he can wake up right now!"

  137. BBC Test Match Special's Michael Vaughan
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Michael Vaughan  

    "What was really interesting during that drinks break was while three or four England players went off for toilet breaks, the rest of them were taking drinks, Ryan Harris was asking the umpire why he wasn't given four leg byes and Paul Collingwood was out there on the crease, visualising that he was batting - it's a big Test for him."

  138. 0357 Commentary Aus 89-8  

    Chris Tremlett replaces Bresnan, and Siddle drives the first ball through the covers for another well-run three. Harris, still annoyed at being denied those leg byes, sees off the rest of the over.

    And if you've stuck with us for the last five hours, well done - and if you're only just joining now, you've missed a great period of play!

  139. Commentary  

    From John Fishley, TMS inbox: "Apparently, there are around 90,000 people here at the MCG [82,982 in fact]. There's a rumour some of them are Aussie, but we've heard nothing to substantiate this so far..."

  140. 0401 Commentary Aus 92-8  

    More mature batsmanship from Peter Siddle, standing up to force Anderson for three off the back foot. I think we'll see a lot of threes on this ground...

  141. WICKET Siddle c Prior b Tremlett 11 (Aus 92-9)  

    Siddle plays and misses at Tremlett, then he edges to the keeper for Tremlett's third wicket. Nine out of nine wickets caught by the keeper and slips. "An absolute rout," says Aggers on TMS.

  142. BBC Test Match Special's Michael Vaughan
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Michael Vaughan  

    "Tremlett's been outstanding since coming back into the team - he bowled well at the Waca and took the key wickets of Watson and Ponting, as well as getting Siddle."

  143. 0407 Commentary Aus 92-9  

    "Gentle Ben" Hilfenhaus is Australia's last man, and easily could have gone first ball as he plays an air-shot cover-drive at Tremlett, who rattles off another wicket maiden.

  144. 0411 Commentary Aus 98-9  

    With the last pair together, will Harris have a swing against Anderson? An aggressive square cut brings him four, a careful nudge through square leg sees them come back for two. Aussies creeping towards three figures.

  145. WICKET Hilfenhaus c Prior b Tremlett 0 (Aus 98 all out)  

    Hilfenhaus is playing and missing at Tremlett again, there's some ironic applause when he finally makes contact with his bat and prods one out to mid-wicket - but the number 11 perishes as an edge presents Prior with his sixth catch of the innings. He's the fourth English keeper to do that in Australia.

  146. 0415 THAT'S A RECORD  

    And 98 all out is Australia's lowest Test score against England at the MCG.

    Tea being taken, by the way.

  147. BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Pougatch
    Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Pougatch  

    On Twitter: "I know that bottle was good on Christmas Day but I'm sure I'm totally compos mentis. Australia 98 all out."

  148. Commentary  

    From Paul in Massachusetts, TMS inbox: "Had the worst ever bottle of St Emillion with the turkey but this more than makes up for it."

  149. BBC Test Match Special's Geoff Boycott
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Geoff Boycott  

    "Jimmy Anderson, bowling on a pitch like this\u00a0that swings, is one of\u00a0the best in the world. What he doesn't have is extreme pace, so he's less good on pitches like Perth with bounce and pace."

  150. 0421 Commentary  

    If you're just joining us, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? If you've just woken up to check the score, I can assure you that you're not dreaming. Australia have been bowled out for 98 in 42.5 overs.

    Meanwhile, Aggers is going to speak to ex-Aussie spinner and ABC radio commentator Kerry O'Keeffe - who's usually very entertaining - on TMS during the tea interval. And Kerry thinks Australia are going to win...

  151. BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at The MCG
    Contributor BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at The MCG  

    "Remarkably quiet 70,000 Aussies in this vast concrete bowl - all the oohs and aahs coming from the 10,000 excited tourists from Blighty. Australia in exactly the same pickle as they were in Perth, but no Hussinator to drag them clear of the wreckage this time. Pitch quite June in England at the mo - might work well for Ryan Harris and Ben Hilfenhaus later on. Big times."

  152. Commentary  

    From Gerard Ross, in sunny Yorkshire: "Best night shift ever."

    A great way to sum up the incredible night/morning we've had, Gerard!

  153. 0435 Commentary  

    Australia are ready to resume - Ben Hilfenhaus to take the new cherry to Messrs Strauss and Cook. We've got a marathon session on here.

  154. 0439 Commentary Eng 1-0  

    Captain Andrew Strauss gets England off the mark by steering the last ball of Hilfenhaus's over for a single.

  155. 0443 Commentary Eng 1-0  

    Ryan Harris to share the new ball from the Members' End, and Strauss plays out a maiden\u00a0- but former skipper Ian Chappell, on TMS, isn't happy with Australia's team selection and their lack of a front-line spinner.

  156. BBC Sport's James Pearce
    Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  

    On Twitter: "Only Aussie winners from this are Melbourne tourist attractions. No way Barmy Army are going to be watching cricket for\u00a0five days."

    Four years ago, Australia won within three days, leaving us all some\u00a0extra sightseeing time\u00a0- I'd recommend a visit to watching the penguins coming ashore at twilight on Phillip Island, as seen in that Rolf Harris-narrated show on BBC1. (Other Melbourne\u00a0tourist attractions are available)

  157. 0445 Commentary Eng 4-0  

    Alastair Cook finally gets to face the bowling - he's off the mark with a single off his legs, while Strauss pulls a bouncer for two.

  158. 0450 Commentary Eng 12-0  

    Cook pushes Harris for two, and has a momentary brain-melt when he thinks seriously about a third that was never there, before Cap'n Strauss (rightly) sends him back. Ricky Ponting is already having to shuffle his field around as England pick up some easy ones and twos. Cook angles his bat to steer a four through third man, that's England's first boundary - he passes 500 runs for the series.

  159. Commentary  

    From Matt, TMS inbox: "For Ben Bussey [0325], seeking a bar showing cricket in Washington, DC -\u00a0Summer's in Courthouse always used to be a good bet. Decent diner food too."

  160. 0453 Commentary Eng 14-0  

    Strauss pokes Hilfenhaus for two through the covers - and it's noticeable that whenever "Punter" Ponting catches the ball as it's thrown around the field, he's only catching with his right hand. Mitchell Johnson is already going through a lengthy warm-up out in the deep, will we see him\u00a0bowling soon?

  161. SMS  

    From Tim Gorman, Morpeth: "Returned from Oz on Thursday not sure what to expect. Woke at 0400 and snuck downstairs and found Santa came 24 hours late. What a beautiful morning!"

  162. 0457 Commentary Eng 25-0  

    Australia do make that early bowling change as Harris is taken off after two overs and replaced by Johnson, who did such damage in Perth. Single from Cook, Strauss fences and misses at a short and wide ball but then picks up two to fine leg, and whacks a no-ball through the covers for three. The last ball is chopped through third man for four - that's 11 from Johnson's first over, he's looking more like Brisbane Johnson than Perth Johnson so far.

    Meanwhile, Chappelli on TMS isn't happy with Australia's slip cordon - he thinks first slip Shane Watson is too close to the keeper...

  163. 0502 Commentary Eng 30-0  

    Strauss fences at Harris (who's changed ends), he gets an edge but it pings just over Hussey at gully and that's four more for England. Punter sinks to his haunches in frustration. A single takes the visiting skipper to 16 - Cook has 13.

  164. BBC Test Match Special's Ian Chappell
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Ian Chappell  

    "I played in an Australia\u00a0team that got bowled out for 78 at Lord's in 1968, but the match was a draw. We were four down in the second innings, following on,\u00a0when it rained."

  165. 0506 Commentary Eng 31-0  

    Strauss gets a leading edge to Johnson but it falls safely out of the grasp of Mr Cricket at gully. Australia must think the luck's not with them today. A better over from the left-arm paceman, just one single from it.

  166. Commentary  

    From Mark, Jo, Darren, Faye and Rebecca currently in the WH Ponsford Stand at the MCG, TMS inbox:\u00a0"Waterboy extraordinare Finn has done more running today than the Aussie batsmen between the wickets."

  167. 0510 Commentary Aus 33-0  

    Cook's running between the wickets nearly gets him in trouble again when he looks for a non-existent second run. Strauss pushes a quick single to the one-handed Punter, who can't field cleanly while protecting his injured finger.

  168. Commentary  

    From Tom, TMS inbox: "Mark, what a day so far! Just taken a helicopter flight up to view the Himalayas in Kathmandu. Logged on and saw something even better -Australia all out for 98! Does it get any better than this? Oh yes, off to Oz tomorrow!"

  169. 0514 Commentary Eng 42-0  

    Cook works Johnson for a single, then Strauss gets another edge... and once more it falls safely as it shoots between second slip and gully for four. Might just have carried (albeit very low) to a third slip. Then there's an appalling delivery from Johnson, signalled as no-balls but sailing well wide down the leg side for four. A wild over, Australia desperately need a wicket.

  170. Commentary  

    From Ian in Sydney, TMS inbox: "Jimmy's dismissal of Hussey was magical- reminded me of Marco Tardelli in the 1982 World Cup Final. Pumping arms outstretched, head shaking with joy, let's hope for a 3-1 Ashes victory as a tribute."

  171. 0519 Commentary Eng 44-0  

    Cook, dubbed "the Chelmsford Chiseller" during the Perth Test, nudges Harris for two. He has 17, while Strauss - with 22 - is now the highest scorer in the match!

  172. Commentary  

    From Richard, Caracas, TMS inbox: "Greetings from Venezuela. Wish I could have the commentary in these baseball lands; I am really missing the superb commentary of the BBC team. This series is ebbing and flowing but fingers crossed, looks like the lads have it back under their wing now. Come on England. I even have the locals getting edgy."

  173. 0523 Commentary Eng 46-0  

    Ponting turns to local boy Peter Siddle - who's gone from hat-trick hero in Brisbane to fourth seamer in Perth and Melbourne. The Victorians in the crowd cheer him on as he charges in to Strauss, and immediately has the England captain playing and missing. A straight drive past the non-striker brings him two - and suddenly that swing and seam movement Anderson, Tremlett and Bresnan were getting earlier seems to have vanished.

  174. SMS  

    From Dave Monaghan, Glasgow: "For a Scot to watch this, who doesn't like cricket, I may be turning, I'm utterly impressed!"

  175. BBC Test Match Special's Vic Marks
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Vic Marks  

    "England would not have dared to dream that they could be in this situation when they set off this morning."

  176. 0527 Commentary Eng 46-0  

    Jim Maxwell reminds TMS listeners that if you're just waking up and tuning in, it's not a big hoax - Australia were bowled out for 98 earlier today. Really. Harris sends down a maiden to the watchful Alastair Cook.

  177. Commentary  

    From Howard Gold, TMS inbox: "Stuck with in-laws in Vancouver, can't escape the annual trawl through ancient family photo albums to watch the greatest Boxing Day Test ever! Worse still, my brother-in-law has just put on East 17! Looks like I'm going to have to settle for watching highlights with a past-it's-sell-by-date box of After Eights."

  178. 0532 Commentary Eng 52-0  

    Strauss steers Siddle for two through the covers, then a well-timed on-drive brings him four - that's the fifty stand, and incredibly England are already more than halfway towards Australia's score.

    Meanwhile, TMS scorer Andrew reveals that five teams have been bowled out for less than 100 in a Test, and gone on to win - but the last time was in 1907, and the first four were all in the 19th century.

  179. 0535 DRINKS BREAK Eng 52-0  

    Punter shuffles his pace quartet again as Hilfenhaus replaces Harris, while TMS summariser and Aussie batting coach Justin Langer admits "a worrying trend" when questioned about Australia's problems batting against the moving ball. Gentle Ben sends down a maiden to Cook - time for drinks in this marathon final session.

  180. Commentary  

    From Arthur Magoola, TMS inbox: "I've been following cricket the last decade and a half, and this is quite simply the worst (and most inconsistent) Australian team I've had the horror of watching. Abysmal!"

  181. 0542 Commentary Eng 52-0  

    Strauss ducks a bouncer from Siddle - the England captain is watchful as he sees off a maiden over. It's not as though he needs to be in any hurry...

  182. SMS  

    From Jason, Watford: "Went in to my screaming two year old, awake at 0430 and thought I'd peruse the text since I was awake. He must be part Australian and I didn't realise."

  183. 0546 Commentary Eng 57-0  

    While Justin Langer recounts the nightmare morning he had (involving a failed alarm call and a poached egg which ended up on his lap - "sums up Australia's day"), Cook and Strauss continue to tickle ones and twos against Hilfenhaus. The cloud cover has gone completely now, it's blue sky and sunshine so the Aussie bowlers won't get any help in these conditions.

  184. BBC Test Match Special's Justin Langer
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Justin Langer  

    "The ball was nipping around this morning, but there's no excuse for an Australian team to be bowled out for 98."

  185. 0550 Commentary Eng 57-0  

    Siddle charges in to Cook and completes another maiden over as England show patience, but Australia are lacking inspiration here. Will they turn to Shane Watson as the fifth seamer - or even risk the leg-spin of Steve Smith?

  186. 0553 Commentary Eng 57-0  

    Strauss and Cook are letting anything go by that they don't have to play at, as the skipper plays out another maiden from Hilfenhaus\u00a0- JL on TMS hopes Australia can try to build up pressure to force a wicket.

  187. SMS  

    From Pete, Bristol: "Been watching the updates from a screen above my hospital bed.\u00a0I\u00a0had to have surgery on Christmas Day but this has more than made up for it. I'd grin if my jaw wasn't broken."

  188. 0558 APPEAL - NOT OUT Eng 58-0  

    Cook tries a fierce square drive at Siddle but a leap by Smith keeps the score on 57. Siddle raps Cook on the thigh pad and lets out a huge yell for lbw. Australia think about the DRS, but wicketkeeper Haddin indicates he thought it was missing for height. And they're right not to call for a review - Virtual Eye indicates it was going over. A single allows Cook to keep the strike.

  189. 0601 Commentary Eng 58-0  

    A very tidy maiden over from Hilfenhaus, as Cook had to play every ball but couldn't get him away. He has figures of 7-3-11-0 and has been Australia's most economical bowler.

  190. Commentary  

    From Brian in Siberia, TMS inbox: "Youv'e got to hand it to Straussy... what a call to put the Aussies in again after after getting hammered doing it in the previous Test!"

  191. 0605 Commentary Eng 58-0  

    Siddle to Strauss, maiden over, the scoring rate has slowed down virtually to a halt. But if you're an England fan who's just getting up, just look at the scorecard which will warm your heart...

  192. 0608 Commentary Eng 66-0  

    The boundary drought is ended as Cook on-drives Hilfenhaus for four, before bashing another boundary past backward point. England are now only 32 behind.

  193. SMS  

    From Chris (and daughter Daisy) in Melbourne near York (not Australia): "Awake with my five-week-old daughter who has just started smiling this morning. She must be laughing at the Aussies. That's daddy's girl."

  194. 0613 Commentary Eng 70-0  

    Australia hand England more free runs as Harris pops a horrid bouncer down the leg side which disappears for four byes. Strauss thinks about a pull shot but changes his mind - he has 34, Cook has 27 and I think I can hear the sound of plenty of Aussie cats being kicked.

  195. UMPIRE REVIEW  

    Finally the Aussies think they have a breakthrough... Cook is given out lbw to Hilfenhaus but immediately calls for a review.

  196. NOT OUT  

    That's very nearly (but not quite) a no-ball - but Hotspot reveals a big inside edge from Cook, and Umpire Hill is forced to overturn his own decision and make the "safe" signal.

  197. 0618 Commentary Eng 77-0  

    The reprieved Cook aims a bloodthirsty pull at Hilfenhaus, doesn't quite middle it but it flies safely off the edge and he picks up two. The "Chelmsford Chiseller" then blasts a straight-driven four, and the Barmy Army are Absolutely Loving It as he nudges a single to move level with Strauss on 34.

  198. SMS  

    From Leigh from Newcastle: "I'm glad I decided to stay up when my little brother cracked at lunch and went to bed. He's going to be gutted when he wakes up and sees the score on the\u00a0live text!"

  199. 0622 Commentary Eng 82-0  

    Cook, who has now overtaken Mike Hussey as the leading run-scorer in the series, works Harris for two off his legs, and Shane Watson is starting to warm up to bowl. Another fierce pull brings Cook a single, Strauss can't get hold of an attempted hook but a Haddin fumble brings England a bye - then a better-executed pull allows Cook to nick the strike again.

  200. 0627 Commentary Eng 86-0  

    Watson, who wasn't required to bowl at Perth, replaces Hilfenhaus - while Michael Vaughan and Jim Maxwell on TMS can't believe Mitchell Johnson has only bowled three overs, even though he was rather expensive. Cook really looks on song now, another pull shot brings his sixth four as he moves on to 42.

  201. BBC Test Match Special's Adam Mountford
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Adam Mountford  

    On Twitter: "Play likely to go through until 0750 GMT\u00a0this morning. Our Ashes highlights programme is scheduled for 0800 and then available all day on BBC 5 live sports extra."

  202. 0631 Commentary Eng 88-0  

    Strauss works Harris to fine leg for a single as Punter shuffles his field. A single takes the Chef to 43, and there are now large open spaces in the MCG crowd - I suspect many of the Aussies have been sneaking out...

  203. BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew  

    On Twitter: "This really has been a remarkable day. Afternoon sun has definitely helped England but Aus not bowled nearly so well."

  204. BBC Test Match Special's Geoff Boycott
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Geoff Boycott  

    "Johnson can generate a lot of extra pace and when he gets it right, he has that X-factor that can destroy a side. But on an English seamer's pitch like this, he's not a day in, day out bowler. Victoria always put the opposition in here as they know the Melbourne pitch will always get flatter and slower."

  205. 0635 DRINKS BREAK Eng 90-0  

    A single apiece for Cook'n'Strauss take England to within eight runs of their hosts - time for another drinks break.

  206. BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew  

    On Twitter: "Channel 9 showing desperation by showing Warne's hat-trick here from\u00a016 years ago... and the MCG is emptying fast! Official crowd 84,345 - not now!"

  207. 0641 Commentary Eng 98-0  

    Harris continues his short-pitched assault on Strauss, who steps back to force him through mid-wicket for three. Harris is rather telegraphing the fact that he's going to bowl short by bowling round the wicket and banging it in to Cook, who dismissively pulls him for four. A single brings the scores level, to the delight of the Barmy Army.

  208. Twitter  

    England's world number one golfer Lee Westwood: "Will somebody please pinch me! I must wake up soon! I knew I shouldn't have eaten all that cheese! 98 all out? Have there been any calls for a Shane Warne comeback yet? It's about that time!"

  209. 0645 Commentary Eng 103-0  

    Cook confidently square-cuts for a single which puts England into the lead, and his skipper prods a four past the diving mid-on to bring up the century stand - their 10th in Tests. He has 43, Cook is on 49.

  210. BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at The MCG
    Contributor BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at The MCG  

    On Twitter: "England take lead with all 10 wickets in hand. Hour's play to go, most Aussie fans streaming for exits. Waca the most distant of memories."

  211. 0651 Commentary COOK FIFTY - Eng 109-0  

    Johnson replaces Harris, but it's still England on song as Cook brings up his half century with a savage cut for four. Two more singles are added - and as I observed at 0457, he seems more like (runless, wicketless) Brisbane Johnson than the unplayable Johnson of Perth. Punter chews his nails with the look of a condemned man pondering what he'd like for his last meal befiore he goes to the gallows.

  212. 0654 Commentary Eng 109-0  

    Strauss, on 5,999 Test runs, plays out a maiden from Watson. Australia looking for inspiration from somewhere, anywhere. Apparently actor Hugh Jackman looked quite useful batting against Shane Warne in the nets in one of the intervals...

  213. 0659 Commentary Eng 112-0  

    Johnson still has two slips and a gully in for Cook, banging the ball in short and Cook pulls him for a single through mid-wicket. Cap'n Strauss then steers a two to become the 11th Englishman to 6,000 Test runs. He needs to overtake Graham Thorpe (6744) to make it into the top 10.

  214. BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Pougatch
    Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Pougatch  

    On Twitter: "Very surprised the Barmy Army haven't started singing, 'Is this your fire drill?' at the departing Australian fans. MCG emptying fast - actually emptying faster than every Englishman's wallet over here given the exchange rate."

  215. 0704 Commentary Eng 115-0  

    If you're an England\u00a0follower\u00a0just getting up after a night on the sauce, I invite you to look at the scorecard, pinch yourself and look at it again. Cook and Strauss plunder some singles from the bowling of Watson, who has 0-14 from five overs.

  216. 0709 Commentary Eng 124-0  

    Cook gets a thick edge along the ground past second slip for four, before Johnson bangs in a bouncer which Mr Dar deems to be an aerial wide. Another handsome cut shot from the Essex man brings them three runs, which they complete at a canter. A single takes Strauss to 48. And we think Tintin's going to have a bowl... young leg-spinner Steve Smith is warming up with intent.

  217. 0714 Commentary STRAUSS FIFTY - Eng 128-0  

    CMJ on TMS points out that the last time a fair-haired Australian leg-spinner bowled against England at Melbourne, he took his 700th Test wicket - a certain Mr A.J. Strauss. But I think it's safe to say Steve Smith is no Shane Warne - indeed, the blond quiff above his forehead reminds me of Belgium's second most famous detective (ie Tintin, not Hercule Poirot) rather than the maestro from St Kilda. Strauss and Cook look in little danger against the young leggie - and the England skipper reaches his 23rd Test fifty during the over.

  218. BBC Test Match Special's Vic Marks
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Vic Marks  

    "To be fair to Smith, in a Test you can't bowl leg breaks to two left-handed batsmen as good as these two without anyone saving the single on the leg side. It's just pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, and they take singles at will."

  219. 0719 Commentary Eng 135-0  

    Johnson is all over the place as Cook smacks him for a two and a single, and Strauss wafts a four over backward point's head. The tourists lead by 37.

  220. SMS  

    From Andrew, Gateshead: "Boxing Day Sale: 10 Australian wickets, now only 98 runs!"

  221. 0722 Commentary Eng 138-0  

    Smith finally has a man saving one at mid-wicket, but once more the England openers pick up some singles without too much trouble.

  222. 0726 Commentary Eng 138-0  

    Siddle, who bowled very economically first time around, replaces Johnson who's been leaking runs like a sieve. Accurate and straight, the Victorian sends down a maiden over to Cook - he now has figures of 7-4-9-0.

  223. 0729 Commentary Eng 147-0  

    Smith hops, skips and jumps through another over, but Cook helps himself to a loose delivery which he hammers through cow corner for four. A long-hop is then heaved over mid-wicket by the Chef - with the size of the MCG, it's only four, it would have been six at most grounds, and "lost ball" on some village grounds.

  224. SMS  

    From Anonymous: "Tintin [0714] is way more famous than Poirot but he is a journalist not a detective."

    He is indeed a journalist - but given that he also investigates crimes, solves them and pursues villains to bring them to justice, I would argue he also takes on the role of a detective!

  225. 0733 Commentary Eng 149-0  

    We're into the last portion of the day's play when most sides would normally have a night-watchman padded up in the pavilion - although we think\u00a0the match situation here\u00a0would be the perfect opportunity not to. Strauss and Cook nudge a single apiece off the tireless Siddle.

  226. BBC Test Match Special's Jim Maxwell
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jim Maxwell  

    "This is the most one-sided first day of a Test that I've ever seen - even including games with Bangladesh or Zimbabwe."

  227. 0737 Commentary Eng 151-0  

    Strauss brings up England's 150 by poking Smith for two through the vacant second slip area. The MCG looks less than a third full now.

  228. Commentary  

    From Jim, Newcastle under Lyme, TMS inbox: "For those watching the comments online it's good fun to have a browse around the Aussie tabloids. Particularly fun are the comments posted on the web sites. Some are actually calling for Hussey's head on this one innings, never mind Ponting's!"

  229. 0741 Commentary Eng 153-0  

    Strauss steers Siddle for two to fine leg, but the Victorian isn't giving up - only 12 runs conceded in nine overs.

  230. BBC Test Match Special's Michael Vaughan
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Michael Vaughan  

    "With England likely to have a substantial first-innings lead, some of the Australians could be playing for their careers in the second innings."

  231. 0743 Commentary Eng 156-0  

    Single from Cook, then Strauss pushes at Smith, and the ball doesn't quite carry to Michael Clarke at slip. That'll encourage the youngster. But a two takes the England skipper to 64, while Cook is on 80.

  232. SMS  

    From Anonymous: "I lived in Australia in the 80's and 90's. I worked for the Victoria police, the sergeant used to post me to the pitch in between sessions so I could stare at the grim scoreboard. Hope he's looking at it now!"

  233. Commentary  

    From Giles, Bath, TMS inbox: "Re: 0729 - I think you'll find Tintin was neither a journalist or a detective. Just very, very nosey."
    \u00a0

  234. 0748 Commentary Eng 157-0  

    Play can officially continue until 0751 GMT, so we're likely to get two more overs in. Siddle is still gun-barrel straight, only a no-ball advances the score. Last over coming up...

  235. 0750 CLOSE OF PLAY Eng 157-0  

    Steve Smith to bowl the last over of the day, and the watchful Cap'n Strauss is happy to play out the six deliveries in question. England lead by 59. What an extraordinary day.

  236. BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Jonathan Agnew  

    "People have been messaging me saying they can't believe what has happened, but in Andrew Strauss's wildest dreams, he couldn't have hoped it would turn out like this. The way the ground emptied by mid-afternoon just summed up the Australian public's reaction to what happened."

  237. Commentary  

    From Mark Stewart, TMS inbox: "Just got up and saw Eng 150-odd without loss at close of play. I assume we batted first and we lost a session and a bit to early rain?"

  238. 0759 Commentary  

    Thankfully, after that marathon final session, Aggers lets TMS listeners know that play will start at its scheduled time of 2330 GMT tonight. Keep listening to TMS on Sports Extra\u00a0- Aggers and Boycs will shortly be wrapping up the day's play as usual (and I wonder whether Geoffrey's "I can't see any way how England can win this Test" comment from 2343 may feature).

    You can then listen to the Ashes Highlights on BBC 5 live sports extra, where it will be available throughout the day - and then later, the TMS podcast will be available. Oliver Brett's match report will appear shortly - and later on, you'll be able to read Aggers' and Justin Langer's daily columns.

  239. SMS  

    From Tim in Cheltenham: "This is not fair. I wanted us to win the Ashes on my birthday (29th), but it looks like I'll have to bring the celebrations forward by a day..."

  240. 0811 Commentary  

    I'm still struggling to take in what I've witnessed today. Thanks for your company, especially all the emails from all around the world - sorry if we weren't able to use yours as we are sent shedloads and can only use a small selection. I'm off home for a much-needed lie down - but I'll be back tonight to guide you through day two.

    Until then, enjoy Boxing Day and please check before travelling if you're heading to a sports event - or take a look at our "snow patrol" page for matches already postponed.



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Live Scores - Australia v England

 

  • England beat Australia by an innings and 157 runs
  • Australia: 98 & 258 (85.4 overs)
  • England: 513 (159.1 overs)
  • Venue: Melbourne

Australia 2nd Innings

All out
Player outReason Bowledby Runs
Total all out 258
Watson lbw b Bresnan 54
Hughes run out (Trott) 23
Ponting b Bresnan 20
Clarke c Strauss b Swann 13
Hussey c Bell b Bresnan 0
Smith b Anderson 38
Haddin not out 55
Johnson b Tremlett 6
Siddle c Pietersen b Swann 40
Hilfenhaus c Prior b Bresnan 0
Harris did not bat 0
Extras 2w 1b 6lb 9


see also
England dominate woeful Aussies
26 Dec 10 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
26 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Justin Langer column
26 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Fourth Ashes Test in photos
26 Dec 10 |  England
Anderson hails 'unheard of' day
26 Dec 10 |  England
Clarke backs under-fire Ponting
26 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Ponting fit to play in Melbourne
25 Dec 10 |  Australia
England crash to heavy Ashes loss
19 Dec 10 |  England
England complete Adelaide triumph
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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