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

  1. 2258 Commentary  

    Evening, everyone. I hope you've managed to dodge the snow, hail, sleet and other crazy weather that's been hitting the UK - and that you're curled up somewhere warm to follow the third day of the Boxing Day Ashes Test from Melbourne.

    You really can't afford not to stay up with us tonight - as there's the chance (however slim) that if you slip away into the arms of Morpheus, the Ashes could be\u00a0retained by the time your alarm clock goes off tomorrow morning...

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

    On Twitter: "Ricky Ponting interview coming up on Test Match Special at 2300. Should not be missed. Gives his side of the story."

  3. 2305 Commentary  

    If you didn't hear about the flashpoint of yesterday, Australia captain Ricky Ponting rather lost the plot when he had a prolonged\u00a0row with umpire Aleem Dar following an unsuccessful review decision. Punter was fined 40% of his match fee by the ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle, who ruled that "Ricky's actions as captain of his country were unacceptable."

    You can listen to Ponting's side of the story at the moment on Test Match Special...

  4. 2310 Commentary  

    You can make your own mind up about Ponting's fine - while also reading our columnists' views on the matter. Jonathan Agnew feels the Aussie skipper's reaction was "entirely inexcusable", while our man Tom Fordyce has spoken to ex-Australia captain (and TMS summariser) Ian Chappell, who felt Ponting should have been suspended. Meanwhile, Justin Langer admits that Australia's big guns will "need to produce something magnificent" if they are to stay in the series. You can also listen to a full review of yesterday's play on the TMS podcast.

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

    "Ricky Ponting's an easy target at the moment as his side's struggling and he's not scoring any runs. But I think Peter Siddle should not have been anywhere near that conversation."

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

    On Twitter: "Your daily MCG weather update: Little cloud and forecast good. Weather not coming to Australians' rescue."

  7. 2315 Commentary  

    Here's a taster of Ponting's interview with ABC radio, which has just been heard on TMS:

    "I understand I overstepped the mark. I realise it didn\u2019t look good but the umpires vouched for me. I didn\u2019t show any malice or aggression, it's just the discussions went on longer than they should have done. I accepted the 40% fine straight away. I guess that one flaw in the system is that replays are shown on the big screen, we could see an obvious Hotspot mark and I wanted to clarify how the third umpire got to making the decision he made. But I got caught in the heat of the moment and it went on too long."

  8. SMS  

    From Sam and Martha, Witney: "Introducing my six-day-old daughter to cricket. What a fine Test to do it; great play, English dominance, a lesson in how to behave. All in all a great life lesson for her."

  9. Commentary  

    From Chris, Birmingham, TMS inbox: "Surprise surprise, Ponting still thinks his opinion was right even though clear evidence shows ball was nowhere near Hotspot, seems he's been forced to apologise but still too stubborn to hold hands fully up."

  10. 2324 Commentary  

    The field is clearing as we're just over five minutes away from the resumption. To summarise the match situation, England will resume on 444-5, 346 ahead of Australia, with Jonathan Trott unbeaten on 141 and Matt Prior on 75, they've added 158 for the sixth wicket so far.

  11. Commentary  

    From Shaun, Hong Kong, TMS inbox: "Third son born on Christmas Day, 10 wickets on Boxing Day, a Trott ton yesterday, here's hoping the run continues today."

  12. SMS  

    From Jackie in Kent: "If Prior goes on to make a ton, will Ricky and his boys remember to congratulate him after failing to applaud his fifty?"

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

    "Even if England lose their last five wickets for 30, the real meat and potatoes today will be when Australia bat."

  14. 2334 Commentary Eng 444-5  

    Ryan Harris, who bowled with spirit and aggression but went wicketless yesterday, to bowl the first over of the day - and the 137th of the innings. He sends down a tidy maiden over to Matt Prior.\u00a0Plenty of empty seats at the MCG today...

  15. SMS  

    From Dafydd, in Carmarthen but wishing he was at the 'G': "Looking forward to today's play: TMS in the background; text commentary and witty banter from you. Now another fine England performance and that will make for a good job. Let's get 100 quick runs and then declare to give them an awkward 10 minutes or so before lunch."

    I may struggle to give you "witty", but I hope I can give you a good flavour of proceedings...

  16. 2339 Commentary Eng 447-5  

    Peter Siddle to bowl the second over of the day - he was unquestionably Australia's best bowler yesterday, and if anything was a little under-bowled.\u00a0He draws a rare edge from Jonathan Trott, but it falls just short of Shane Watson at first slip, rather summing up the luck Australia have had in this Test. Trott pushes a three into the covers - the vast expanse of the MCG means we've had plenty of threes in this Test.

  17. Commentary  

    From Adrian the Bolton exile, TMS inbox: "I am marooned in a hotel in New Jersey, the Governor has declared a State of Emergency, blizzard outside, freezing high winds. I have cold Chinese food,no beer and my car is only rear wheel drive... but I'm not Australian so it's a great day!"

    My sympathies to anyone caught in the latest cold snap on the US east coast... now you know how we've had it for the last few weeks!

  18. 2343 Commentary Eng 447-5  

    Trott aims a fierce square drive at Harris, but is denied by a sprawling stop from Mike Hussey at gully - some very tidy fielding by Mr Cricket. Maiden over.

  19. SMS  

    From Matt in Slapton: "Surely South Africa have made a massive mistake in not utilising Jonathan Trott, he is a quality player!"

  20. 2348 Commentary Eng 452-5  

    A flashing cover drive brings Prior three to bring up England's 450. Mitchell Johnson has a quick word with umpire Tony Hill at square leg, but it all looks quite jokey between them. Trott moves onto 146 with a well-paced two.

  21. Commentary  

    From Joe in a wet and windy Winchester, TMS inbox: "As much as I love to see us doing the Aussies over especially in their own back yard, does anyone else not think fining Punter 40% of his match fee is a little harsh? You wouldn't see a Premier League footballer fined that for dissent towards a ref! Fair play for Punter accepting the fine and moving on. Now for a double ton from Trott to push England towards victory!"

    But don't cricket (and indeed rugby) pride themselves on having better standards of player behaviour and respect to officials\u00a0than football?

  22. 2351 Commentary Eng 459-5  

    After starting with two maidens, Harris's economy\u00a0is finally breached when Prior guides a four through the vacant third man area. For those of you e-mailing in urging England to declare early, I don't think that's part of their game plan, but Prior looks in good touch today as he pushes another three through the covers.

  23. WICKET Prior c Ponting b Siddle 85 (Eng 459-6)  

    It's all over for Prior, 15 short of his century as he drives the first ball of Siddle's new over straight into the hands of mid-on. A rare moment for Ponting - who's not fielding in the slips in this game because of his fractured finger - to celebrate - and Siddle now has four wickets as well as two catches, so he's been involved with all the wickets.

  24. Commentary  

    From Edmund Bridges, TMS inbox: "TMS can indeed cause bizarre dreams. I was toiling away late last night on some poetry of Catullus with TMS in the background. I awoke at 4.30am, head on desk, after a delightful dream including a chorus of Latin poets dancing to the National Anthem, all of whom were wielding cricket bats, each of which had the face of Ricky Ponting engraved on the back!"

  25. 2357 Commentary Eng 463-6  

    Tim Bresnan has been waiting to come in since yesterday afternoon - and even made it onto the field when Prior was caught behind off a no-ball just before tea yesterday. He's off the mark with a pleasant on-drive which brings them a comfortable three. Trott sneaks up to 147 with a single - a good score in snooker, but an equally good score in an Ashes Test.

  26. 0001 OUCH! Eng 464-6  

    Single from Trott, but after delivering four balls of his over, Harris pulls up in pain halfway through his run-up. It looks like he's gone in the fetlock - he removes his boot as the Aussie physio runs on.

  27. 0003 Commentary Eng 465-6  

    Harris limps off the field, Michael Clarke to complete his over with his part-time left-arm spin. Bresnan helps himself to a single.

  28. Commentary  

    From Steve, Birmingham, TMS inbox: "On the subject of TMS having an undue influence on dreams if one goes to bed with the radio on, I had a similar experience. I had the privilege of being asked by Andrew Strauss to field in the slips\u00a0and took a catch with the next delivery. Although the whole incident took place in a church, and the bowler - a work colleague\u00a0- had to ask the vicar to stand a few paces back from the pulpit to give him a bit of room in his delivery stride."

  29. 0008 Commentary Eng 465-6  

    Bresnan shows good defensive technique against Siddle, and survives an lbw shout when he tries to force the Victorian to leg.

  30. 0012 Commentary Eng 465-6  

    While Geoff Boycott on TMS continues his concerted campaign to get Adil Rashid into the England Test team, Ben Hilfenhaus replaces the crocked Harris. Some decent line and length from "Gentle Ben", and there's a collector's item as he gets Trott swishing and missing. Maiden over.

  31. SMS  

    From Brian Durand, Liverpool: "As Harris was on the deck just then, he asked the physio 'Can you tell what it is yet?'"

  32. WICKET Bresnan c Haddin b Siddle 4 (Eng 465-7)  

    Siddle secures his second five-wicket haul of the series as Big Tim gets a faint edge to the keeper. No prizes for guessing which "corridor" Boycs is referring to on TMS... get those Boycott Bingo cards ready!

  33. 0018 Commentary Eng 466-7  

    Graeme Swann is the new batsman, he normally likes to have a bit of a dart in these circumstances. He keeps the strike with a leg bye - Siddle has 5-70 from 31 overs, and takes the applause from his home Victorian crowd.

  34. 0022 Commentary Eng 466-7  

    Hilfenhaus pings in a bouncer at Swann, who occasionally gives the impression that when fast short-pitched bowling is concerned, he "doesn't like it up him" (as Corporal Jones would say). When Hilfy pitches it up, Swann plays and misses - it's another maiden over.

  35. 0027 Commentary Eng 473-7 - TROTT 150  

    Local hero Siddle takes a rest after taking 2-12 in five overs this morning. Left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson to take up the attack - there's one slip and two gullys in for Trott, who clips him through mid-wicket and they run three - that's 150 for the Warwickshire man, who receives some warm applause from the England fans. Swann shovels a four down to fine leg - Johnson bowled some absolute tripe at times yesterday, as the old nursery rhyme goes "when he's good, he's very very good - but when he's bad, he's horrid."

  36. Commentary  

    From Tom in Melbourne, TMS inbox: "Mark, If you feel any other English batsmen 'look in good touch today' (see 2351) please keep those thoughts to yourself."

  37. 0031 DRINKS BREAK Eng 473-7  

    "My short game's better than ever at the moment," purrs golf fan Geoff Boycott on TMS as Hilfenhaus keeps it tight against Trott. Another maiden for big Ben, and time for that large drinks bottle/cart to chug onto the arena\u00a0for the first time today.

  38. SMS  

    From Mike (and baby Ben) stuck in a chair in Barnsley: "My 12-day-old boy is finally asleep in my arms, please keep me going as I daren't get up to switch TMS on..."

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

    "It looks like Harris will be ruled out of the Sydney Test with this ankle injury, which is a huge blow for Australia as he's been one of their most consistent bowlers."

  40. 0034 Commentary  

    And for those of you discombobulated by these overnight Tests (it's now Tuesday in the UK) and urging England to declare\u00a0- remember, this is still only day three of this Test and the weather is fine, so it's not like they've got any time pressure.

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

    "There was a country and western song here by Slim Dusty in the 70s called 'A Pub with No Beer' - it rather sums up the Australia team's chances here."

  42. 0039 Commentary Eng 483-7  

    Swann slaps Johnson for four through the covers, the left-armer responds by bowling round the wicket in Wasim Akram mode, but Swann powerfully cover-drives and they scamper three. Trott flicks a three off his legs, Johnson has now leaked 120 runs in 27 overs.

  43. 0042 Commentary Eng 489-7  

    Trott check-drives Hilfenhaus past mid-off and the ball rockets away for four. Suddenly England are scoring runs at will as the Warwickshire man knocks a two through mid-wicket.

  44. Commentary  

    From Matt, Bristol, TMS inbox: "Re: 2357 -\u00a0If Trott continues the way he is Australia will be needing snookers by lunch."

  45. 0047 Commentary Eng 499-7  

    While Ian Chappell on TMS reminisces about his grandfather Vic Richardson (who played in the 1932/33 Bodyline series - the Adelaide Oval gates are named after him), Swann - "a poor man's Virender Sehwag", according to my match-report colleague Pranav Soneji - slogs Johnson over mid-on for three.\u00a0 Trott helps himself to ones and twos, and Swann clubs a shorter delivery over square leg for four. England are now 401 ahead - and if Johnson keeps bowling like this, they'll be 500 ahead by lunch.

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

    On Twitter: "Harris has a left ankle injury and will not bowl again in this innings. Will be checked out my medical staff but must be doubt for series.\u00a0During the lunch interval on TMS we are going to be looking back at England's last Test win at the MCG in 1998/99 with hero Dean Headley."

  47. 0051 Commentary Eng 499-7  

    In contrast to Johnson, Hilfenhaus keeps it tight against Trott, sending down his 13th maiden of the innings.

  48. 0057 Commentary Eng 503-7  

    Swann hooks Johnson for a single to long leg to bring up England's 500. Trott keeps plugging away with a two and a single. The lead is 405, and we've got just over half-an-hour until lunch.

  49. 0100 Commentary Eng 504-7  

    Trott top-edges Hilfenhaus, the ball spoons into the air... and it lands safely between the bowler and two other fielders. The luckless Hilfenhaus has only picked up one wicket (at Perth) since the third ball of the series when he removed Cap'n Strauss at the Gabba. Trott dabs a single while CMJ on TMS hails summariser Michael Vaughan's "scarlet cardigan". "Scarlet? It's red," retorts MPV.

  50. 0104 Commentary Eng 506-7  

    The wayward Johnson has (rightly) been removed from the attack but\u00a0the sun is still shining brightly (both literally, and metaphorically for England) as Trott and Swann help themselves to a couple of singles against the recalled Siddle.

    And if you missed Ricky Ponting's interview from earlier when he explained his actions yesterday, you can read his reaction on the BBC Sport website.

  51. WICKET Swann c Haddin b Hilfenhaus 22 (Eng 508-8)  

    Swann swats a two through mid-wicket, but Hilfenhaus finally gets his man when Swann tries to hook a bouncer and is caught by the leaping wicketkeeper Haddin. England lead by 410.

  52. 0110 Commentary Eng 509-8  

    Chris Tremlett is the new batsman, he inside-edges his first ball to fine leg for a single as he tries to jam his bat down on a yorker.

  53. Commentary  

    From Matt, Bristol, TMS inbox: "In relation to dreams I also once had the honour of representing England against our colonial cousins - in the car park of Morrison\u2019s. Interesting to note that the Aussie captain was Ian Hislop. Was this a Mrs Doubtfire moment (there is a striking resemblance between him and the current whingeing captain) or something for the Aussie selectors to consider?"

  54. 0114 Commentary Eng 512-8  

    TMS scorer Andrew reports that Trott has 1,325 Test runs this calendar year, only bettered by Indian greats Tendulkar and Sehwag... Siddle will have to alter his length to the lanky Tremlett, who steers a three to third man.

  55. SMS  

    From Amesh: "Whatever happened to Shaun Tait? The fastest bowler in the world if I'm not mistaken."

    He's retired from Test cricket to concentrate on limited-overs games, and especially Twenty20 where he can charge in and bowl at 100mph while knowing he only has to bowl four overs a day which should lessen his chances of getting injured. He can also earn untold riches from the IPL for being a T20 specialist\u00a0rather than flogging himself round the world playing Test cricket.

  56. WICKET Tremlett b Hilfenhaus 4 (Eng 512-9)  

    Tremlett is clean bowled by a reverse-swinging delivery from Hilfenhaus. A shame for Chris, but England will take heart if the ball's reverse-swinging...

  57. 0120 Commentary Eng 513-9  

    So, will Trott run out of partners? Last man James Anderson arrives at the crease with just over 10 minutes until lunch, and plays out four balls before getting off the mark with a single.

  58. WICKET Anderson b Siddle 1 (Eng 513 all out)  

    Siddle bowls Anderson to finish with 6-75. He takes the applause from his home crowd, while there's also a generous ovation for Jonathan Trott who is left unbeaten on 168.

  59. 0123 INTERVAL LUNCH  

    So, with two days and two sessions remaining, Australia need to score 415 to make England bat again. And lunch is being taken immediately as the wicket fell within 10 minutes of the scheduled interval.

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

    "The Aussies are doomed, Aggers!"

    (TMS scorer Andrew adds that this is England's second highest first-innings lead of all time, second only to the Oval Test of 1938 when Len Hutton scored 364 and England made 903-7 declared, for a first-innings lead of 702).

  61. 0127 Commentary  

    Right, while you're basking in the afterglow of that first-innings lead of 415, you can listen to TMS who will be looking back at England's last Test win at the MCG from 1998/99, with that game's hero Dean Headley.

    We're going to take a short break on the live text while I hunt down a sandwich... so please feel free to hold off on the emails during the interval!

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

    On Twitter: "Pictures of the Five Live and team at Melbourne now available on the TMS flickr site."

  63. Commentary  

    From Peter in Exeter, TMS inbox: "During the 86-87 Ashes series, I fell asleep listening to the first Test on TMS. During the night I dreamt that everyone in my family - my wife, seven-year-old son, five-year-old daughter and the cat - all suddenly sprouted Merv Hughes style moustaches. When I asked them what they thought they were doing, they all pulled bananas out of their pockets (including the cat, who was wearing cricket whites) and started to eat. I remain scarred."

  64. Commentary  

    From Richard Mallett, TMS inbox: "What's the second name of TMS scorer Andrew? I listened all night last night, and much praise was heaped on him (quite rightly) but I never heard his surname. Anybody who spends his evenings poring over past cricket records has to be a hero in my book."

    His name's Andrew Samson and you can see a picture of him here on TMS's Flickr photostream.

  65. 0156 Commentary  

    Apologies to any of you who have suffered any problems with our stats in the last couple of days. Ceefax is playing up at the moment and is being worked on, while we've also temporarily removed the run-by-run pop-up option as we've repeatedly tried but failed to get it working properly.

    And at the risk of repeating myself from previous text commentaries, I'm afraid that the TMS audio commentary is only available within the UK for "away" games because of rights restrictions - we're only allowed to broadcast England's "home" games worldwide. (If for some reason you're outside the UK and able to listen to TMS, consider yourself lucky!)

  66. 0201 Commentary  

    England have taken the field - can they wrap up the Ashes today?

  67. SMS  

    From Ian, Herts: "Punter does have an uncanny resemblance\u00a0to Ian Hislop [see 0114]. Hey Punter, 'Have I Got News for You', you're getting spanked!"

  68. 0206 Commentary Aus 6-0  

    Shane Watson gets Australia going by pushing James Anderson for a single, while Phillip Hughes is off the mark with a characteristic cut for four. Anything short outside off stump is meat and drink to the left-hander, who keeps the strike with a single off the last ball.

  69. Commentary  

    From Dave from Singapore at the MCG, TMS inbox: "Just saw Justin Langer warming up Steve Smith in the nets, Smith took one hard on the knee and is in a spot of bother."

  70. 0210 Commentary Aus 18-0  

    Chris Tremlett takes the second over, Hughes works a single off his legs. Then, Tim Bresnan at mid-on allows Watson an on-driven four as the ball hits a divot and bounces past his attempted long barrier. Big Tim then redeems himself with a diving stop on the boundary\u00a0as Watson hammers one back past the bowler and they run three. Another cut from Hughes, that's four more and this is Groundhog Day - Australia got off to a flier in the first few overs in the first innings. But it didn't last...

    (And to answer Oliver Kane on the emails, I procured a sausage sandwich from the TV Centre foyer during the interval.)

  71. Twitter  

    From OptaJim: "Only\u00a0two players in Ashes history average above 100 in Tests, Australian Albert Trott and England's Jonathan Trott. Spooky."

  72. 0214 Commentary Aus 20-0  

    Watson and Hughes push the singles, Anderson taking a while to find the unplayable line and length he found in the first innings.

  73. 0217 Commentary Aus 20-0  

    Simon Hughes on TMS fears Tremlett is overpitching slightly - anything wide outside off stump is slashed at by Hughes, who swings and misses as the Surrey seamer completes a maiden over.

    And if you're just joining us, I won't mention it every over - but Australia need to score 415 to make England bat again (ie scoring 415 would level the scores and leave England needing to score one run to win).

  74. 0221 Commentary Aus 24-0  

    Not much swing so far, but Hilfenhaus got it to reverse earlier so England should be patient. Watson cover-drives at Anderson and they manage an all-run four to one of those mammoth boundaries.

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

    "I would think it would be very difficult to bowl Australia out here. If I was an Australian supporter and they didn't make 450 on this pitch, I'd be very disappointed."

  76. 0226 Commentary Aus 30-0  

    Boycs on TMS is concerned about Tremlett's lack of line and length as Hughes nudges a single and another powerful Watson cover drive brings the right-hander three more. Hughes tries to force Tremlett to leg, Prior appeals for a catch down the leg side, the bowler doesn't look convinced... but England decide against a review. And it's the right decision - it just flicked his shirt as it went through. Hughes steers a two through the covers.

  77. Commentary  

    From Stephen Holcroft, TMS inbox: "Ponting needs to stand up and be counted. Absolute disgrace of a batting performance. Hilfenhaus was equally dire in his bowling figures and needs to be dropped. A miracle is required. Come on the Aussies!"

  78. 0230 Commentary Aus 39-0  

    Watson rocks back and cuts Anderson for four through backward point, and the runs continue to flow as he hammers a three through the covers, and Hughes helps himself to a two past mid-on.

  79. SMS  

    From Chris T, Notts: "At a friend's house with no\u00a0TV coverage of the cricket. It was a choice of watching 'What Women Want' or looking at a blue screen reading your commentary on the screen of a mobile. Guess what won?"

    Not Mel Gibson's best work, I'll agree...

  80. 0235 Commentary Aus 43-0  

    Watson works Tremlett for\u00a0a two and a single, and Geoff Boycott on TMS intones "Nothing's happening! Change the bowling!". Hughes tickles a single past Ali Cook at leg slip, and Australia are racing along here like it's the Melbourne Grand Prix rather than the Melbourne Test...

  81. 0239 Commentary Aus 49-0  

    Despite their huge lead, England only have two slips in now as Hughes helps himself to more off-side fodder, cracking Anderson through cover point for three. Watson clips a single to fine leg, Hughes guides a two off his legs and England are leaking runs alarmingly here, although they still lead by 366.

  82. Commentary  

    From Graham, Bangkok, TMS inbox: "Please tell me my nightmare that the Aussies score 600 then bowl us out for 80 is irrational."

  83. 0243 Commentary Aus 52-0  

    England make a bowling change - but it's not Big Tim yet, it's Graeme Swann from the Northern End - he should have plenty of rough patches\u00a0to aim at when left-hander\u00a0Hughes is on strike. But it's Watson for now, he reaches out to dab a two to third man (bringing up the fifty stand), before guiding a single to leg.

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

    On Twitter: "Rapid-fire start from Aussies. No panicking Mr Mainwaring - plenty of time and sunshine left in the air."

  85. 0248 Commentary Aus 52-0  

    It's a double change as Tim Bresnan replaces Anderson, but Vic Marks on TMS is bemused by the field he's been given - one slip, one gully, a short mid-on (in that position where he's expertly placed to pick the non-striker's pocket) and a short mid-wicket. But pressure nearly leads to a wicket as Watson plays and misses at\u00a0the last ball, which rears past his outside edge.

    Meanwhile, TMS scorer Andrew Samson has noticed his equivalent in the Channel 9 commentary box receiving a massage...

  86. Commentary  

    From Liam, Nuneaton, TMS inbox: "Woefuly negative fields set by Strauss, we are still leading by 360 runs! What situation would have to arise before he would consider setting an attacking field? 600 ahead? 900 ahead? Disappointing."

  87. WICKET Hughes run out (Trott/Prior) 23 (Aus 53-1)  

    Single from Hughes - then Watson pushes the ball into the covers, Hughes fatally hesitates as they go through for a quick single,\u00a0Trott slings the ball to Prior who demolishes the stumps, it goes upstairs to the third ump and he's gone!

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

    "I don't blame Hughes there although he hesitated fractionally, I blame Watson - it was a bad call. Watson will be kicking himself."

  89. 0253 Commentary Aus 53-1  

    A mixed reaction to Ricky Ponting's arrival at the crease - plenty of boos (I'm sure the events of yesterday are still in people's minds) which are then drowned out by some applause. After all, it could be his last Test innings at the MCG... The Aussie skipper defends his first three balls.

  90. 0256 Commentary Aus 53-1  

    Bresnan keeps it tight against Watson, who may be chastened after running his partner out, and completes a maiden over.

  91. SMS  

    From Ed: "Was Hughes worried about getting his whites dirty by diving? Don't think he'll need them again for quite a long time."

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

    "Trott's comfortably the least agile fielder in this England side, but that's the second astonishing run-out he's pulled off in this series."

  93. 0301 Commentary Aus 54-1  

    Anderson's back on, and Aggers thinks he's already trying for reverse swing from the way he's running in. Ponting, in a sleeveless sweater, lets a wide go by outside off stump, but is still yet to open his account.

  94. Commentary  

    From Ex-pat Dan in Hamilton, NZ, TMS inbox: "Ponting to be given out for a duck, caught behind after a referral would be nice."

  95. Commentary  

    From Ian, TMS inbox: "There are very few times that it is acceptable to be run out in Test cricket. Day three whilst 360-odd behind is not one of them."

  96. 0305 Commentary Aus 58-1  

    Great hilarity for Aggers and Vic on TMS as after some delicate negotiations, TMS scorer Andrew Samson is now receiving a massage himself [see 0248] - appropriately for a cricket enthusiast like Andrew, the masseuse in question (who had previously attended to the Channel 9 scorer) is called Grace.

    Back on the pitch, Watson blasts Bresnan for a four through the covers.

  97. 0308 Commentary Aus 60-1  

    Anderson still looking for reverse swing against Punter, who shoulders arms as the ball whistles past outside off stump. The beleagured Aussie captain is off the mark as he punches a two through cover point.

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

    "When watching Andrew getting his massage, I've never seen so big a queue for people wanting to commentate..."

  99. 0312 DRINKS BREAK Aus 60-1  

    Bresnan is still probing outside Watson's off stump (as a Yorkshireman he's probably happy to bowl in Geoffrey's corridor of uncertainty).\u00a0A maiden over, and it's time for another drinks break.

  100. SMS  

    From Woody: "I keep thinking about the 'If' poem by\u00a0Rudyard Kipling when I see Ricky Ponting bat, it really is a make or break innings for his career."

  101. 0320 APPEAL - NOT OUT Aus 60-1  

    Big, big shout for lbw against Ponting, big appeal from Anderson, umpire Tony Hill shakes his head and England decide against a review. It hit the pad above the knee-roll, but there was no inside edge. Virtual Eye thinks it was "Umpire's Call" over whether the ball was hitting the stumps - ie it was very close - so a review would have been fruitless. But in the curious way the DRS works, if Hill had given him out, a review from the batsman would have been equally fruitless... Then there's another big appeal off the last ball, but again England keep their two reviews up their sleeve as it was sailing over the stumps.

  102. 0323 Commentary Aus 60-1  

    Great fielding off his own bowling by Bresnan, who gets down quickly to stop a straight drive from Watson that looked like it was going for four. Maiden over.

    And an email from Cricket Australia reveals that Ryan Harris suffered a stress fracture of his left ankle while bowling. He\u00a0is likely to need surgery and will consult a specialist in the next 24 hours - although a decision on whether he will bat in this innings will be made "in due course".

  103. Commentary  

    From Pete Mond, TMS inbox: "We should get Ponting out now, he has 12345 runs in Test cricket, we get him out for a king pair in Sydney and he retires on a perfect number."

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

    "Bowl straight and place your field straight is not a bad plan at the MCG as the game goes on."

  105. 0328 Commentary Aus 62-1  

    Ponting still watchful as Anderson continues his just-outside-off-stump line, just a two added to the score from a slightly fortunate inside edge.

  106. 0330 Commentary Aus 63-1  

    Someone in a plane high above the MCG appears to be writing "Marry me" in the sky. Not sure if the message is intended for any of the players (or ex-players). Bresnan raps Watson on the pad but it hit him well outside the line. A single takes Watto to 34.

  107. 0335 Commentary Aus 71-1  

    Watson flashes at Anderson and his fierce cut shot brings the blond opener four. Another aggressive pull in the direction of cow corner earns him three, and Ponting adds a single.

    And according to John Lee and Mark Simmerson on the e-mails, 12345 is not a "perfect number" - although 6, 28, 496 and 8128 are. (And so's 33,550,336, which is the approximate number of emails we've received so far in this series).

  108. Commentary  

    From David, TMS inbox: "Good captaincy from Strauss bringing Swanny on for\u00a0two overs - changed the dynamic totally! Bresnan has heaped the pressure on with a tight line and it's now reversing!"

  109. 0339 Commentary Aus 71-1  

    The "Marry me" sky-writing plane [see 0330] now appears to have written "Marry me Kerry"\u00a0while Bresnan continues his impressively economical spell. There's an appeal as Ponting shoulders arms and is hit on the pad... but England appear to have learned their lessons after wasting their two reviews early in the first innings. Maiden over.

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

    On Twitter: "In case anyone's feeling a little twitchy, just had a look at weather forecast for next 2.5 days in Melbourne. Officially 0% chance of rain."

  111. 0344 APPEAL - NOT OUT Aus 71-1  

    Tremlett returns to the attack in place of Anderson, while TMS summariser Michael Vaughan (who suffered more than his fair share of injuries in his playing career) sympathises with the crocked Ryan Harris. Another big lbw shout as Tremlett thuds one into Watson's pads... yet again, England are right to eschew a review as Virtual Eye suggests it would be "umpire's call" on height. Maiden over\u00a0from Tremmers.

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

    On Twitter: "England learning, being a lot more savvy with their referrals. That decision would have stayed with the umpire - not out against Watson."

  113. 0349 Commentary Aus 74-1  

    The Barmy Army strike up a brief chorus of "Swann Will Tear You Apart" (to the tune of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart") as England's off-spinner returns to the attack in place of the impressive Bresnan, who takes a break with figures of 7-5-5-0. Ponting rotates the strike with a leg bye, while Watson's running between the wickets is questioned again as he steers a two and sets off for a third which was never there, before being sent back.

  114. 0354 APPEAL - NOT OUT Aus 79-1  

    With just over 20 minutes until tea (due at 0410 GMT), Jim Maxwell on TMS wonders whether Simon Katich could return to the Australia side for Sydney, as Ponting angles Tremlett for four past gully. A shorter delivery is pulled, safely, to deep backward square leg for a single. There's a big cheer as Watson looks like he's edged behind to Prior... but he's not sure whether it carried. The umps consult the third ump... and it clearly hit the ground before bouncing up into Prior's gloves.

  115. SMS  

    From Matt in Matlock: "How many blokes in the crowd are going to seize that opportunity and claim they're behind the message in the sky?"

  116. 0358 Commentary Aus 81-1  

    Can England keep the pressure on, after all these appeals? Swann tosses it up to Ponting, who nudges a single off his legs, and Watson, who pokes a quick single to Bresnan at mid-off.

  117. Commentary  

    From Richard Law, TMS inbox: "Just read the Wikipedia definition of a perfect number and now have a perfect headache. On holiday in a snow bound American East Coast apartment trying to explain to my American in-laws why overtime is not an option and that a draw after\u00a0five days is a great result."

  118. 0402 Commentary Aus 90-1  

    More terrific bowling from Tremlett, he finds the edge again... and Watson nicks it agonisingly wide of Graeme Swann at second slip and through for four. Michael Vaughan on TMS wonders whether the keeper and slips are standing too far back - something I always think of as "Tim Ambrose Syndrome". Another edge from Watson, this time it takes an ugly bounce off the ground and it strikes Swann a painful blow on his right hand. Uh-oh. They run one. But when a third slip is brought in, Tremlett strays with his line and Ponting clips it through fine leg for four. "I don't know what Tremlett's had for lunch," comments Aggers as Ponting has do to well to defend the last two deliveries.

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

    On Twitter: "Former Australian wicketkeeper turned forthright commentator Ian Healy joining us at tea on TMS. On air at 0410."

  120. 0405 Commentary Aus 90-1  

    Swann's hand seems OK as Watson blocks him out with tea approaching. Maiden over.

  121. Commentary  

    From Chris, Blackheath, London, TMS inbox: "Re: Matt in Matlock [0358].\u00a0And how many\u00a0girls named Kerry have taken the opportunity to surprise their boyfriends by saying 'Yes'?"

  122. 0409 INTERVAL TEA - Aus 95-1 - WATSON FIFTY  

    Tremlett resumes his duel with Ponting, who has dug in to score 15 from his first 50 balls. The Aussie skipper paddles a single to long leg, Watson pushes a quick single into the covers to reach his 15th Test half century (and fourth of the series). Punter straight-drives for three, and is that tea? Yes, it is, even though I make it only 0409 by my clock...

  123. 0411 Commentary  

    A slightly worrying stat from our man Tom Fordyce at the MCG on Twitter: no wicket has fallen after tea so far in this match. We've still got plenty of overs due in the final session - apparently there are 35 more to be bowled today.

  124. SMS  

    From Bilal from Manchester: \u00a0"Does anyone else think that the high fives and pats on the back when a fielder stops the ball is a bit to much? I'm all for a united team but they are there to field. No one thanks their bin men at 7am for doing their job, do they!"

  125. 0415 Commentary  

    If you've just woken up, Australia still trail England by 320 runs - and we're only just past the halfway mark of this Test. And keep an ear on TMS while Aggers speaks to former Aussie wicketkeeper Ian Healy...

  126. Commentary  

    From Chris, TMS inbox: "We are 320 runs ahead on day three? The lack of slip fielders and close catchers has me to believe we're just happy to watch Australia bat. It's so infuriating."

  127. Commentary  

    From Phil in Adelaide, TMS inbox: "The news over here is reporting that Ponting still believes he was right, and that KP nicked the ball. Is that not a continuation of dissent?"

    Either that, or Ponting is having a go at the "Defend the Indefensible" round from BBC Radio 5 live's "Fighting Talk" programme...

  128. 0428 THE SUN IS OUT  

    Still hot and sunny at the MCG as England take the field again for the final session. As Aggers notes on TMS, it's been Chris Tremlett who's been England's most likely wicket-taker in the last hour or so.

  129. 0432 Commentary Aus 95-1  

    Graeme Swann begins the final session with a maiden to Ricky Ponting\u00a0as Geoff Boycott informs Aggers that there's a sweepstake running in the BBC Radio 5 live box over how many runs the Aussie skipper scores.\u00a0Michael Vaughan has gone for 40-something, Boycs has 70 and someone else has 110.


    Still only two slips in as right-arm seamer Tim Bresnan returns for his second spell of the innings. Watson drives powerfully just past the bowler's left hand for four, but then he's hit on the pad while offering no shot, and umpire Tony Hill raises his finger! After a quick discussion, Watson calls for a review...

  131. WICKET Watson lbw b Bresnan 54 (Aus 99-2)  

    Watson was hit on the knee-roll, the impact (where it hit him) is "umpire's call" but Virtual Eye reckons it was hitting the wickets (just) - and he's out!

    "Well bowled, Yorkie!" is the reaction of a thrilled Geoff Boycott - and Australia have lost one of their reviews.

  132. 0441 Commentary Aus 99-2  

    Vice-captain Michael Clarke joins his skipper at the crease as Ponting is back on the defensive against Swann, who's not getting a huge amount of turn. Maiden over.

  133. SMS  

    From Hedgehog in Long Eaton, Derbyshire: "When are some people going to start recognising the fact that Strauss is doing a fantastic job as England captain ,and stop nit-picking at his field settings! CHECK OUT THE STATS!"

  134. 0446 Commentary Aus 101-2  

    Clarke nearly plays on to Bresnan, there's a half-hearted lbw appeal but the TMS crew think he got an inside edge onto the pad. The right-hander tries to force a straight ball to leg again, he's hit on the pad again but that one was too high. Clarke is off the mark with a two to long leg, that's 100 up for the hosts but they still trail by 314.

  135. 0450 APPEAL - NOT OUT Aus 102-2  

    Swann gives it a bit of air against Ponting, Prior scoops the ball up for a one-handed stumping and Umpire Hill at square leg makes the "TV" symbol, but Punter's back foot had slid back behind the popping crease. A loose delivery from Swann is guided behind square for a single by Ponting - then there's another chance of a stumping as Clarke comes out of his crease but Prior can't take the ball cleanly and the chance is gone.

  136. WICKET Ponting b Bresnan 20 (Aus 102-3)  

    The Barmy Army make themselves heard as Ponting is resolute in defence against Bresnan - but then he has his stumps splattered with the aid of an inside edge that knocks his middle stump back and England go wild! Big, big wicket.

  137. 0456 Commentary Aus 102-3  

    Mike Hussey is the new batsman, he's held England up for large parts of this series but isn't tempted to play at his first two deliveries. Big Tim gets a big cheer from the Barmies.

  138. 0459 Commentary Aus 104-3  

    With Australia still 313 behind, Clarke tries to use his feet to Swann but doesn't look in command. A tickle to third man brings him two.

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

    "Australia are under the cosh here, not only have they lost wickets but the runs have dried up."

  140. WICKET Hussey c Bell b Bresnan 0 (Aus 104-4)  

    Hussey shoulders arms to Bresnan, there's another lbw shout as he offers no stroke, but it was going over... Bresnan is on fire here, and it would be intriguing if England ended up retaining the Ashes thanks to him and Tremlett, who were considered by some observers to be the two most marginal selections for the Ashes touring squad. Then Mr Cricket departs for a duck when he pokes a catch straight to Bell at short cover! "The Australian innings is in tatters!" says Jim Maxwell on TMS.

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

    On Twitter: "I can now confirm to TMS listeners that I was the one who predicted 110 for Ponting in the BBC sweepstake [see 0432]. I knew it would do the trick."

  142. 0505 Commentary Aus 108-4  

    Steve Smith, who has looked a walking wicket for much of his time at the crease, crash-bang-wallops the last ball of Bresnan's over for a straight-driven four, slightly denting Big Tim's figures. He now has 3-15 from 11 overs - take a bow, Mr Pontefract.

  143. 0507 Commentary Aus 108-4  

    Clarke powers a straight drive just out of the reach of the diving Swann off his own bowling. The Notts offie is quickly through his over, which is a maiden.

  144. 0511 Commentary Aus 108-4  

    Tim "Goldenarm" Bresnan to Steve "Tintin" Smith, and Jim Maxwell on TMS is now exploring the prospect of this match finishing before the end of day three. (With Harris crocked, England may not need to take too many more wickets to legitimately claim the extra half-hour). A probing over from Bresnan is defended by Smith, and his figures are worth repeating - 12-7-15-3.

    And a couple of you on the emails have suggested Ponting should have reviewed his dismissal, despite being bowled, just in case it was a no-ball. You naughty, naughty people...

  145. 0513 Commentary Aus 108-4  

    Swann, as he often does, rubs his hand on the dust in the bowling crease as he tries to tempt Clarke into a false shot. That's three maidens on the trot for England.

  146. Commentary  

    From Jeremy Blank, TMS inbox: "When was the last time Australia were defeated by an innings twice in an Ashes series?"

  147. 0517 Commentary DROPPED CATCH - Aus 112-4  

    Bresnan bounces, Smith hooks, Tremlett dashes in from fine leg... and fumbles the chance as he dives forward, taking a blow to his hand as he does so. They run two. An agricultural heave across the line brings the youngster two more, and Tremlett has some attention from the physio on his injured hand at the end of the over.

  148. SMS  

    From Lewis, Altofts (about a mile away from Pontefract): "How proud am I to be able to say I was born in the same hospital as the possible Ashes winning bowler Tim Bresnan?!"

  149. 0520 DRINKS BREAK Aus 117-4  

    In fact, Tremlett is off the field temporarily, wincing with pain as Swann wheels away to Clarke, who steers a two past mid-off before opening the face to dab a three to third man. England take a well-earned drinks break - Australia still trail by 298.

  150. 0528 Commentary Aus 120-4  

    If you're just waking up... wipe the sleep out of your eyes, as England are tightening a noose around Australia's neck here, and are only\u00a0six wickets away from retaining the Ashes (or five, depending on whether the injured Ryan Harris bats). Tim Bresnan is bowling an excellent spell, he keeps a good line against Michael Clarke who eventually steers the last ball of his over for three.

  151. 0530 Commentary Aus 120-4  

    Clarke defends watchfully against Graeme Swann, who has dried up the scoring rate very well. That's another maiden over.

  152. SMS  

    From Whizzer, Hampton Court: "Re: Jeremy [0517] -\u00a0I think we won the last two Tests in 1985 by an innings. Goldilocks Gower scored thousands and Richard Ellison was unplayable."

    You recall correctly - England won by an innings at Edgbaston and The Oval in the fifth and sixth Tests.

  153. 0536 Commentary Aus 120-4  

    After taking 3-17 from his seven-over spell, Bresnan takes a rest as Chris Tremlett returns to the attack, seemingly fine after that treatment he had on his hand - and sends down a maiden to young Smith.

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

    On Twitter: "Not sure if Rolf [Harris] will bat. Needs an op on stress fracture in ankle. Probably only bat if really necessary."

  155. 0539 Commentary Aus 120-4  

    Swann rattles through a maiden over to Clarke. "I think the game is up for Australia - it's just a question of when they win, not if," comments Aggers on TMS, while summariser Michael Vaughan is already eyeing up a trip to the beach...

  156. Commentary  

    From EW, TMS inbox:\u00a0"I love cricket. Do you love it too?"

    Oh yes.

  157. 0542 Commentary Aus 122-4  

    Ponting and Hilfenhaus are staring at the ceiling in the Aussie dressing room as Tremlett begins a new over to Smith, who is hit on the body as he tries to defend his stumps. "I have a theory - I think Ricky is reaching the stage where he may want to hand the captaincy over, but I'm not sure he feels ultimately confident that Clarke would do the job well. I think if he felt there was someone suitable, he'd hand it over," notes MPV on TMS. Just two singles from the over, Australia are battling to stay in the game - and at least make sure they survive tonight.

  158. 0546 Commentary Aus 122-4  

    Swann to Clarke, uneventful maiden over. If you've heard talk of the "extra half-hour" tonight - that can be claimed if either side believes they can realistically finish the game on any day before the final day.

  159. 0549 Commentary Aus 125-4  

    Smith pulls a three through mid-wicket, Tremlett keeps it tight as Clarke is millimetres away from edging the last ball to the slips. 15 more overs scheduled after this one.

  160. SMS  

    From Mike in Sandbach: "Don't you think that England are a bit over hyped here? I believe we are seeing two fairly well matched teams separated by weather, first morning conditions, and the toss."

  161. 0552 Commentary Aus 128-4  

    Smith picks up another three against Swann, this pair have now added 24.

  162. 0557 Commentary Aus 134-4  

    More late movement from Tremlett nearly brings an edge as Smith fishes at thin air. "He's been outstanding since coming back into the side at the Waca," enthuses Michael Vaughan on TMS. Smith square-drives, they run two and good relay fielding by Colly and Bell prevents any thought of a third. A more fluent drive brings him four through the same region.

  163. Commentary  

    From Ian in France, TMS inbox: "When would it be really necessary for Rolf to bat? When Australia are on 620-9?"

  164. WICKET Clarke c Strauss b Swann 13 (Aus 134-5)  

    Swann has two slips and a helmeted short leg in place as he bowls round the wicket to Clarke... and he's pouched by Cap'n Strauss at second slip!

  165. 0602 Commentary Aus 134-5  

    Brad Haddin is the new batsman - I wonder whether one more wicket might tempt England to claim the extra half-hour. Haddin defends the last ball of the over.

  166. SMS  

    From Gavin, Newcastle: "Having got 25 not out against Bresnan (you had to retire when you got to 25) at Under-13 level. I would like to take some credit for this Ashes victory, as Tim would have had evolved a lot of mental toughness by having me constantly bash him into bushes. I think Tim would also point to that game as the turning point in his career. Send my medal in the post."

  167. 0606 Commentary Aus 138-5  

    Tremlett fizzes one past Smith's outstretched bat, but the youngster is trying to play positively and squeezes a four past gully's outstretched hand.

    And if you're just waking up, England are five (or possibly four) wickets away from retaining the Ashes, with 11 overs (plus possibly an extra half-hour) left in the day...

  168. 0610 DRINKS BREAK Aus 139-5  

    Swann continues his round-the-wicket line of attack to Haddin, as Monty Panesar jogs round the boundary (to the inevitable cheers from England fans) in order to give Tremlett a drink. The Aussie keeper is off the mark with an on-driven single. Last drinks break of the day?

  169. SMS  

    From Anonymous: "Just been woken by very excitable three-month-old son. He must have known something because the second we got up and turned the radio on, Clarke's wicket fell."

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

    On Twitter: "Chat from former Aussie opener Michael Slater on BBC 5 live that Ponting might not be skipper after Sydney Test. Not alone in that thought."

  171. 0617 Commentary Aus 144-5  

    Anderson replaces Tremlett, and Haddin gets a thick edge which brings him four through third man. A single takes him to six.

  172. 0619 Commentary Aus 144-5  

    Still three close fielders as Swann looks to prise Haddin out of the equation. Another maiden for the Notts twirler - he has figures of 19-10-20-1.

  173. 0622 Commentary Aus 148-5  

    Vic Marks on TMS wonders whether Bresnan will have another trundle before close of play tonight, but for now it's still Anderson from the Northern End, as Smith carves a four through third man. He has 29.

  174. SMS  

    From Claire in Essex: "I\u00a0have been working night shifts all over Christmas but having the chance to listen to most of the cricket live has made it quite enjoyable. Come on England, you are making us all proud."

  175. 0625 Commentary Aus 150-5  

    Haddin defends fluently against Swann before pushing\u00a0a single past the bowler. A single from Smith brings up Australia's 150, to barely a glimmer of applause from the increasingly sparse MCG\u00a0crowd.\u00a0Six more overs scheduled after this, and England's use of a spinner (coupled with the lack of runs scored in recent overs) means we're unlikely to need the full "overtime" half-hour (0630-0700) in which to complete the alloted 90 overs. BUT if a wicket falls, the extra half-hour (which England could claim)\u00a0is a different kettle of fish entirely.

  176. 0630 Commentary Aus 154-5  

    Smith drives beautifully down the ground past Anderson for his fifth four. The "Burnley Express" is still wicketless in this innings, he has 0-53 from 13 overs. Australia are booking in for bed and breakfast.

  177. 0631 Commentary Aus 154-5  

    Haddin is still on the defensive against Swann - another rapid maiden over.

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

    "Andrew Strauss has worked Graeme Swann nicely in this innings - even though the ball's been reverse-swinging, he's not been tempted to put seamers on from both ends."

  179. WICKET Smith b Anderson 38 (Aus 158-6)  

    Short and wide from Anderson, and Smith punishes him with a flashing square cut for four. But the youngster drags the next ball onto his stumps! (A perfect commentator's curse from Michael Vaughan, who had just praised his batting).

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

    On Twitter: "Seen close up of crutches in Aus dressing room. Rolf's presumably. Can't see him batting."

  181. 0637 Commentary Aus 159-6  

    New batsman Mitchell Johnson is on a pair. He tries to nudge\u00a0a single off his thigh, but it's signalled as a leg bye so he's still on a pair. Michael Vaughan thnks England can finish this tonight, and Aggers thinks Harris won't bat.

    Don't forget, you'll be able to hear highlights of today's play on BBC 5 live sports extra and online (if you're in the UK) after the close tonight.

  182. 0641 Commentary Aus 160-6  

    There's a slip, short leg, silly point and short extra cover as Swann bowls to Johnson, who turns the ball just wide of Alastair Cook at short leg for a single. Meanwhile, umpire Aleem Dar has a word with Jonathan Trott who appears to be getting a bit over-excited about something.

    If you've just woken up and are bemused by these references to "Rolf", you may not be aware that Aussie bowler Ryan Harris has a stress fracture of his ankle and may not be able to bat. So Australia only have two more fit players left to bat.

  183. Commentary  

    From Ian in Dubai, TMS inbox: "It woulld be ridicuous for Harris to bat. The match is lost and all he risks doing is turning a nasty injury into a career-threatening injury."

  184. 0644 Commentary Aus 162-6  

    Johnson drives at Anderson... and it falls just short of mid-off. There's also a short mid-off in for the left-hander, who clips a two through mid-wicket.\u00a0Two more overs to come... unless they claim the extra half-hour. Today's attendance: 68,733.

  185. SMS  

    From Alex: "When Harris left the field\u00a0injured mid over, could any of the Australian players have completed the over?"

    Any of them except the guy who had bowled the previous over at the other end, Alex.

  186. 0649 Commentary Aus 166-6  

    Bresnan, England's talisman in this final session, replaces Swann for one last burst. Aggers reckons they'll claim the extra half-hour if they take one more wicket. Haddin hangs his bat out and pokes a four through third man. Last over - probably -\u00a0coming up.

  187. 0652 CLOSE OF PLAY Aus 169-6  

    Johnson drives at Anderson and that's nearly a caught-and-bowled chance as the ball hits the bowler on the boot. With nearly the entire team in catching positions, a cover drive brings him three. Haddin defends his stumps, and that's it for the day.

    England walk off the field, give the Barmy Army a hands-above-the-head clap, and I think it's not premature to say they've got one hand on the urn. Australia still trail by 246 runs, with six wickets down and an injured batsman unlikely (we think) to bat.

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

    "The adage my dad used to tell me was that form is temporary but class is permanent. England may have lost form at the Waca, but they've come back with a true professional performance - they look so much a better team than Australia, who look beaten and battered. After all the pain we've had down under, let's hope for one more week of joy in Sydney and a 3-1 series win."

  189. 0657 Commentary  

    As I mentioned, you'll shortly be able to listen to Aggers and Geoff Boycott review the day on BBC 5 live sports extra, followed by today's Ashes highlights. And the TMS podcast will be available later, along with the usual goodies - columns and blogs from Aggers, Justin Langer and Tom Fordyce.

  190. SMS  

    From Tim: "I thought the Aussies were made of sterner stuff. A stress fracture shouldn't be enough to stop 'Rolf' batting with a runner. I ran a marathon with stress fractures in both legs! The baggy greens of old would have crawled to the middle rather than succumb so meekly."

  191. Commentary  

    From Niranjan, TMS inbox: "If Ponting has to go I hope it\u2019s not Clarke as he has been playing so irresponsibly throughout the series. As the vice-captain he has to shoulder the blame equally. He seems to be playing without responsible when the need arises. Also what on earth is Smith doing in a Test batting at number six? He has no technique, wallops the ball and can\u2019t imagine playing a long innings nor taking a wicket. They dropped North for Smith! Says it all. From the start they got everything wrong."

  192. 0710 Commentary  

    OK, we couldn't quite do it in three days - but surely even the most pessimistic of you would concede that England are overwhelmingly likely to retain the Ashes by wrapping up an innings victory on day four. Play starts at 2330 GMT tonight - and Pranav Soneji will be the man in the live text chair to (hopefully) bring home the urn.

    Make sure you join him tonight - until then, check our "snow patrol" page before travelling if you're off to a Turkey Sandwich Day football match, keep warm and who knows, by this time tomorrow the Ashes may no longer be at stake!

Print Sponsor

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 close in on Ashes victory
28 Dec 10 |  England
Fourth Ashes Test in photos
28 Dec 10 |  England
Ponting regrets umpire argument
28 Dec 10 |  Australia
Ponting hit with fine after row
27 Dec 10 |  Australia
Jonathan Agnew column
27 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Justin Langer column
27 Dec 10 |  Cricket
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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