Ashes: Jonathan Trott century stretches England lead
Fourth Ashes Test: Australia 98 v England 444-5 (stumps, day two) Venue: Melbourne Dates: 26-30 December Start time: 2330 GMT each day Coverage: Live on Test Match Special on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW & online; TMS highlights online (UK only) and day's review on the
live text on BBC Sport website; live on Sky Sports 1; highlights on ITV4 Match scorecard
Trott is the third highest run scorer in Test cricket for 2010
By Pranav Soneji
Jonathan Trott scored his fifth Test hundred as England took total control of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne.
Trott remained unbeaten on 141 as the tourists finished on 444-5, a lead of 346 as Australia endured another frustrating day in the field.
After resuming on 157-0, England were restricted to 286-5 before Trott and Matt Prior (75 not out) took control.
The day was marred by controversy when Ricky Ponting remonstrated with the umpires following a review decision.
The Australia captain was later fined 40% of his playing fee by match referee Ranjan Madugalle.
The incident stemmed from Kevin Pietersen being given not out by umpire Aleem Dar following a vociferous caught behind appeal off Ryan Harris.
Urged on by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, Ponting asked for a referral - only for third umpire Marais Erasmus to uphold Dar's original decision when replays and Hotspot indicated the ball had not made contact with Pietersen's bat.
But Ponting refused to accept the decision, continuing his protestations to umpire Dar and his square leg colleague Tony Hill, much to the chagrin of most in the 67,149 crowd at the MCG.
The incident was the low point of another frustrating day for an Australia team desperate to make at least partial amends for their feeble display in being dismissed for 98 on day one.
The ICC would later punish Ponting for his protest
The day had though begun optimistically for the hosts as Peter Siddle, bowling with real pace and purpose, found the perfect line outside off stump to snare an edge off Alastair Cook to first slip in the day's fifth over.
The Essex opener fell 18 runs short of what would have been his third hundred of the series and he was soon followed by captain Andrew Strauss.
The left-hander was surprised by a delivery which spit sharply off the surface from a length, gleaning a thick leading edge towards gully, where Mike Hussey took an excellent one-handed catch at full stretch to leave England at 170-2.
Alongside Trott, new-man Pietersen initially played cautiously as Australia tested the third-wicket pair in a hostile spell of fast bowling, although Pietersen opened his shoulders when Steven Smith was introduced, hitting two boundaries from the leg-spinner's first over as England reached 226-2 at lunch.
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell on Ponting's conduct
Pietersen in particular looked in excellent touch, unfurling a number of consummate straight drives down the ground as Australia counted down the overs until the new ball was available.
But, soon after Ponting's referral histrionics, Pietersen perished after notching his 21st Test half century when he was adjudged lbw shuffling across his crease to Siddle, who collected his third wicket with his third delivery of the afternoon session with England at 262-3.
And momentum shifted a little further towards Australia when Mitchell Johnson utilised the short ball to effect as he snared Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell for single-figure scores with almost identical dismissals.
Both batsmen fell for the bouncer sucker-punch, top-edging poorly controlled pulls to fine leg where Siddle took two good catches to leave England at 286-5.
Prior was given a reprieve on five after a Johnson no-ball
The dismissal heaped yet more pressure on the under-fire Collingwood, who fell for his 10th single-figure Test score in 12 innings, a statistic which England's selectors may find hard to ignore when picking the side for next week's Sydney Test.
Despite losing two partners in quick succession, Trott remained defiant although a full-length dive just about saved him from a run-out just before accumulating his sixth Test half century from 118 deliveries.
However, the afternoon session was engulfed in yet more drama when Prior was recalled after edging Johnson to Brad Haddin on five, umpire Dar utilising a television replay to belatedly rule the bowler had overstepped the popping crease.
While Prior constantly flirted with fortune, Trott remained indefatigable in defence, working the ball to leg with quiet efficiency off his middle stump while showing excellent judgement to leave anything potentially hazardous outside off.
He was momentarily floored when he required attention after an inside edge cannoned into his knee, but he eschewed the offer of a runner and brought up his third Ashes century in only five matches.
The 29-year-old is only behind Indian duo Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar in list of the leading Test run scorers of 2010 and he was in no mood to give his wicket away as Australia's bowlers wilted in the late-evening sunshine as the sixth-wicket pair put on 158 runs.
After riding his luck early on in his innings, Prior moved to within 25 runs of his fourth Test century and first against Australia with a series of scything drives and lusty blows off leg-spinner Smith as England put themselves in the ideal position to retain the Ashes for the first time in 24 years.
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