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

  1. 2257 Commentary  

    Hello, thought you might be here. On the menu today:\u00a0Kangaroo stew, slowly cooked to the point of disintegration over the past month, good ol' British beef, lovingly prepared over the past two years followed by a plate of sweet revenge, best served cold.\u00a0 Welcome to the fourth day of the fourth Test in Melbourne, we're on the cusp of something very special here.\u00a0

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

    On Twitter: "Not a cloud in the sky in Melbourne. The Ashes should be England's within the next few hours."

  3. 2305 Commentary  

    Things that haven't\u00a0really made that much sense over the past four weeks: 1. Peter Siddle's attempt to grow a mo'; 2. The selection of Xavier Doherty for the first two Tests; 3. Eating breakfast at 1700 GMT after an Ashes all-nighter; 4.\u00a0The\u00a0emergence\u00a0of\u00a0the "Sprinkler" as the dance move du jour across dancefloors of the UK; 5.\u00a0Snoods.\u00a0 I wouldn't change a thing. Ahhh, the\u00a0mellifluous tones of Jonathan Agnew\u00a0indicate that TMS is now live on air...

  4. Commentary  

    From Hantsfaninchichester, TMS inbox: "We had a game of 'Catch the Quality Street from the other side of the office' this afternoon to establish how long the last few wickets would take to fall. First two went down quickly to blinding catches but a couple of Toffee Deluxes and a Green Triangle went to ground before a Toffee Coin was pouched for the third. An omen, surely."

  5. 2311 Commentary  

    Mark in Kent asks whether England will be presented with\u00a0the urn after wrapping up victory (I am, like every single other person on this planet with the ability to rub three braincells together, assuming that England will win the fourth Test today). The answer is\u00a0an almost certain\u00a0no - those dark days from four years ago saw Australia parade the six-inch trophy in Sydney after the 5-0 drubbing, not Perth, and no doubt the same etiquette will be observed in Melbourne.

  6. Commentary  

    From Jeremy, Taff in Sydney, TMS inbox: "Looking forward to your brief commentary today from my happy spot in my office in Sydney, surrounded by a raft of Australians who apparently no longer have an interest in the cricket. Prediction all over within an hour! (Hopefully)"

  7. 2320 Commentary  

    Just under 10 minutes to go until play resumes when Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson take the field. To slightly paraphrase a certain mohican-haired fictional former marine, ahhh pity the duo, ahhh pity the duo. Seriously, what else can you do but swing willow at anything a horse's hair outside off stump? And with Ryan Harris "highly unlikely" to bat after being ruled out for eight weeks with a stress fracture of the left ankle, this really shouldn't take too long. Should it?

  8. Commentary  

    From Rob in Notts, TMS inbox: "When we have won this Test, would you make any changes in the team for the final test, or do you stick with a winning team?"

    Excellent chat Rob - anyone want to pile in? My guess is\u00a0England will play their best team - they will not take their foot off the windpipe. Just imagine: 3-1 down under. The OBEs are in the post...

  9. Commentary  

    From Matt, Bethnal Green, TMS inbox: "Pran, if they are trusting you with tonight's commentary it can only be because they expect it to be brief. Very brief. Buckle up and enjoy!"

  10. SMS  

    Reasons why retaining the Ashes makes everyone's life that little more bearable number 5443 from Katharine, Cambridge: "I've just split up with my boyfriend, really need cheering up so please England put a smile back on my face and retain the Ashes!"

  11. 2330 Commentary  

    The players are out and Tim Bresnan, England's hero from Tuesday, will bowl the first over of the fourth day to Mitchell Johnson.\u00a0 Strains of Jerusalem break out around a very sparsely populated MCG. Please do email in if you are Australian, in Melbourne with alternative arrangements for today...

  12. 2333 Commentary Aus 169-6  

    The burly Bres, as complicated as a one-piece jigsaw, cuts Mitchell Johnson in two with a beauty which jags alarmingly off the turf and flirts outrageously with the bails before thudding into the gloves of Matt Prior. The Yorkshireman follows that with two more beauties - one which clatters Johnson's thigh pad and the second skims past the outside the edge of the left-hander's bat. Absolutely sensational first over. A maiden too.

  13. 2336 WICKET Johnson bowled Tremlett 6 (Aus 172-7)  

    Brad Haddin is a sinewy character, with uncomplicated with a see-it-and-hit-it philosophy to batting, punching a lovely meaty straight drive past bowler Chris Tremlett towards the mid-on boundary, but Alastair Cook makes an excellent parry to cut the runs down to a single. But Mitchell Johnson's stay ends when he is cleaned up by a Chris Tremlett delivery. It's started...

  14. 2344 Commentary Aus 174-7  

    Cue huge cheers throughout the MCG, despite the swathes of empty seats, from England's vociferous supporters. Trumpeter Billy Cooper's rendition of Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody is greeted as if it was the national anthem. New man Peter Siddle is almost run out when Brad Haddin opts for a suicidal single off Bresnan, dropping the ball right into the path of Kevin Pietersen at gully, but the former England captain, with one stump to aim at, just misses his target with the Aussie number nine nowhere near his ground. More reverse hoop for Bresnan as a nervy Siddle\u00a0drive just evades the diving right hand of Ian Bell at short cover. Another ebullient over from Bresnan. Ruthless.

  15. Commentary  

    From Paul, South Glos, TMS inbox: "Most of the Aussie fans will be queueing at the local dentist in order to have their teeth voluntarily pulled out without anaesthetic - no doubt preferable to watching their boys getting a spanking at the hands of us whinging Poms. Happy Days!"

  16. Commentary  

    From Si, Notts, TMS inbox: "I'd definitely give Shazad a bowl at Sydney. Reckon he could really get in amongst the Aussie wickets, and it won't do any harm to remind them that we've got plenty of quality waiting in the wings."

  17. 2348 Commentary Aus 178-7  

    Siddle squirts four runs down fine as Chris Tremlett misdirects an attempted inswinging leg-stump yorker. Meanwhile, Michael Vaughan is insistent that Jonathan Agnew unleashes his interpretation of the "Sprinkler" on the middle of the verdant MCG turf following the conclusion of this match. Somewhat unsportingly, Aggers insists he is not privvy to the rights. Anyone familiar with the "Flymo"\u00a0move?

  18. Commentary  

    From Owen, Swansea, TMS inbox: "I believe the ex-marine to which you were referring was actually an ex member of the 101st Airborne (in the original '80s series) or a member of the US Army Rangers (in the 2010 film.) Either way - don't you just love it when a plan comes together..."

  19. 2353 Commentary Aus 181-7  

    Haddin gleans three with an unconvincing prod outside off stump to Bresnan while Siddle is bombarded by some seriously impressive fast bowling from the Yorkshireman. Control?\u00a0 Check. Bouncers?\u00a0 Check. Reverse swing?\u00a0 Nationality of Ivan Lendl.\u00a0Take a bow David Saker, England's bowling coach. And to think Ajmal Shahzad is waiting in the wings...\u00a0

  20. SMS  

    From Helen, Lincolnshire: "Welcome back Pran. I've missed your bizarre cricketing imagery, though I'm not sure 'Burly Bres' would appreciate being called a one piece jigsaw. Beware the quiet Yorkshireman. He is a lot bigger than you."\u00a0

  21. 2358 Commentary Aus 188-7  

    Apparently a large quantity of England fans are queuing up for a slice of the victory pie outside the ground - hurry up, we haven't got too long to go. Meanwhile, Brad Haddin unfurls a picture-perfect cover drive to a swinging Tremlett delivery that would be four on most grounds but only a three at the G. Here's a stat for you - only two English captains have put Australia in to bat and won the Test in Australia.

  22. 0003 Commentary Aus 196-7  

    Bresnan maintains his intensity with a couple of very sharp bouncers, one which Haddin just about evades but the Aussie wicketkeeper likes to score his runs at a decent lick, unleashing a cover drive and a leg-side glance for a couple of trebles. Trumpeter Billy Cooper is going through his repertoire of favourites, including a sped up Ring of Fire. No Miles Davis though.

  23. 0006 Commentary Eng 202-7  

    More runs for Haddin with another punchy straight drive for a couple before he is caught fishing outside off stump, although fortune is tickling his armpits as an outside edge whizzes past a vacant fourth slip for a boundary. Tremlett hits back with a beauty which curves beautifully away from the bat in the air as Haddin nicks a thin edge just short of the outstretched diving right mitt of Matt Prior.

  24. Commentary  

    From Asif Hussain, Harrow, TMS inbox: "Who else thinks Strauss should put KP on to send down approximately 46 wides so that the Aussies can suffer the greater ignominy of having extras as their top scorer?"

  25. SMS  

    From Anonymous: "Amazing performances from Tremlett and Bresnan to come in and perform like they have. I've heard nobody say 'if only Broad was playing'."

  26. BBC Sport's James Pearce
    Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  
  27. 0013 Commentary Aus 210-7  

    Siddle gets in on the boundary-scoring antics with an aerial thump over mid-off before adopting similar tactics with a chop over gully down to deep point off Tremlett, who\u00a0wears the expression of a man who\u00a0can't\u00a0quite work out whether he locked the back door before flying out to Australia. \u00a0Meanwhile, Sid El moves to 14 from 25 deliveries.\u00a0 Decent fight from this eight-wicket duo.\u00a0 Well played I say.

  28. 0015 Commentary Aus 214-7  

    Stand-and-deliver cricket from Haddin, lofting James Anderson's third delivery of the morning back over his head for a lusty boundary, the fourth of his innings. However, Anderson's riposte is impressive - a very sharp bouncer which Haddin does well to evade.

  29. 0017 Commentary Aus 218-7  

    Joy Division has never sounded so good at 0015 on a Wednesday morning as the Barmy Army get stuck into their rendition of "Swann will tear you apart" as the off-spinner is tossed the 76-over old Kookaburra for his first over of the morning. However, the Siddler is in defiant mood - not quite sure it's in the party-pooping stakes just yet - as he scythes Swann over point for an all-run four.

  30. Commentary  

    From Ed in Brisbane, TMS inbox: "Expat here watching your words from a very quiet office in rainy Brisbane. I'm wondering if today might be the day to rub some more salt in the Aussie wounds by going for the ol' nine-slip cordon they used on us in the 70s?"

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

    "What's quite surprising is that Swann, Anderson and Siddle are the only bowlers who have played in all four Tests. The spies have been out, and we believe Harris will not bat."

  32. 0023 Commentary Aus 220-7  

    Cobalt-blue skies above the MCG, not a wisp of cloud in sight. I look out of my window and I see the blinking lights of a photocopier on the blink. Meanwhile Haddo collects a couple more from another very usual Jimmy Anderson over. That boy could swing an apple.

  33. 0026 Commentary Aus 234-7  

    Siddle brings up the 50-run partnership from just 62 deliveries as he takes the bait when Swann tosses up an inviting delivery, launching a huge agricultural heave towards Cow Corner for four before a genuine edge just evades Matt Prior's gloves and runs down towards the boundary for three.\u00a0 Haddin goes all Victor Trumper and swings a huge drive high over the off-spinner's head towards the England fans, one of whom takes an excellent catch in the stands, for six. \u00a0

  34. Commentary  

    From Harry, London, TMS inbox: "Reading your live text from Berlin. I'm here for New Year with my wife-to-be\u00a0and this is how I spend my time. (Holds head in hands)"

  35. 0030 Commentary Aus 235-7  

    We're one over from the new ball as Anderson steams in with an aggressive over, giving Haddin plenty of trouble, although the Aussie number seven squirts a single to move within three runs of a half century.

  36. 0032 DRINKS BREAK Aus 237-7  

    Wonderful drift from Swann, moving away from Haddin's bat before turning sharply off the wicket, mesmeric bowling, a real pleasure to watch. Just a single to Haddin from the over and he moves on to 48. A beverage break.

  37. Commentary  

    From Anand, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India, TMS inbox: "What business do I have, being an Indian and no known English ancestors at least for the past 100 generations, setting an alarm and waking up at odd early hours? Crazy, what the urn does to people..."

  38. Commentary  

    From James Malvern, TMS inbox: "Haddin and Siddle to do a Bangladesh Jason Gillespie? Draw possibly still on the cards. Let's keep the hubris in the fridge until the final fat wicket has sung."

    Excellent use of mixed metaphors - anyone do any better?\u00a0

  39. 0039 Commentary Aus 239-7  

    England have eschewed the new ball with the 82-over old cherry still giving plenty of reverse assistance. However, just two runs and no wickets from Anderson's 20th over.

  40. 0042 Commentary Aus 254-7  

    A slither of an outside bisects Prior and first slip Paul Collingwood as the eight-wicket duo run three, allowing Haddin to score yet another half century from 86 deliveries. Meanwhile, Siddle is hell-bent on pounding some leather as he plants his front foot down the track and absolutely hammers Graeme Swann high over cow corner for six before a thick outside edge runs down towards the deep point boundary for three runs. Another expensive over for Swann, but the England players don't look too perturbed. yet.

  41. 0046 Commentary Aus 257-7  

    Geoffrey Boycott regales a tale about how Alastair Cook asked former England captain now Channel Nine commentator Tony Greig whether Michael Holding was quick. Aggers suggests the England opener should use the internet to search for the words "Holding" and "Close". If you are unfamiliar with Michael Holding's career outside of the commentary box, I would urge you to discover what true fear must have been batting against Whispering Death in full flow. Unbelievably, Siddle has progressed to\u00a040, his highest Test and first-class score,\u00a0and England have still not taken the new ball. Cue puzzled expression.

  42. SMS  

    From\u00a0Andy (ready to wake up to hear about a job done), Market Harborough: "This must be more humiliating for the Aussies then when Neighbours got moved to Channel Five?!"

  43. WICKET Siddle c Pietersen b Swann 40 (Aus 258-8)  

    Siddle goes for the big guns again and launches another huge swat high into the air, but he doesn't get enough willow to clear the ropes as Kevin Pietersen takes a smart catch just centimetres from the boundary ropes. Get your drink of choice on the go, we're almost there...

  44. 0051 Commentary Aus 258-8  

    Last man is Ben Hilfenhaus because Ryan Harris is on crutches because of a stress fracture in his left ankle. Haddin, who crossed with Siddle before Pietersen took the catch, plays out the rest of the over without too much bother. The crowd are ebullient, no doubt beds, pillows and anything close at hand are being pounded with excited fists...

  45. Commentary  

    From Michael, Newcastle, TMS inbox: "The early wicket catches the urn, when we kill two stumps with one ball."

  46. WICKET Hilfenhaus c Prior b Bresnan 0 (Aus 258-9)  

    That's it - start the car! ENGLAND HAVE RETAINED THE ASHES! Hilfenhaus edges a simple catch to Matt Prior for Tim Bresnan's fourth wicket of the innings. The celebrations have begun - let the fun begin... ENGLAND BEAT AUSTRALIA BY AN INNINGS AND 157 RUNS.

  47. Commentary  

    From Alan, ex-pat in Queensland, TMS inbox: "Remark heard in the office this morning\u2026'Isn\u2019t the tennis starting soon?'"

  48. 0057 Commentary  

    Tim Bresnan's snapshot reaction: "Totally overwhelmed really." Good lad Brezza.

  49. Commentary  

    From Ian, an Australian in Brazil, TMS inbox: "There's no shame in being beaten by a better team. Well done England."

  50. Commentary  

    From Sam, TMS inbox: "Just watching the Ashes cricket and I nearly spilt my Horlicks as I saw one of our team mates from Beaconsfield CC hold on to the six from Haddin in the stands! If you wish to identify this gentleman, his nickname is the \u2018Cone\u2019 \u2013 so called because he practices by bowling at three large traffic cones, thus increasing his chances of hitting one of the so-called \u2018stumps\u2019."

  51. Commentary  

    Spinner Graeme Swann on why England won the Ashes: "The massive difference for me was we have a few more guys in nick with the bat and ball."

  52. Commentary  

    From Chris, TMS inbox: "Should be able to pick up cheap tickets for Sydney. Can't see any Aussies wanting to go."

  53. SMS  

    From Hugh, 23, Wales: "My old man just informed me 'the last time this happened, you were being conceived'. Just ruined my Ashes moment for me."

  54. Commentary  

    Australia captain Ricky Ponting on not winning back the Ashes: "We haven't deserved it, that's the bottom line."

  55. Twitter  

    From Shane Warne: "Congrats to the England cricket team on retaining the ashes .. It has taken 24 years for England to do it in Aust.. Well done and Congrats."

  56. Commentary  

    Ricky Ponting's response when BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew asks whether he still wants to captain Australia: "Absolutely, I still want to be captain - I think I have a whole lot to offer as a batsman and as a leader. If I have to make a decision, I will make a decision that is right for Australian cricket, not me."

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

    On Twitter: "Eng players doing lap of honour, thousands of cheering fans going ripe bananas. Sydney? We'll cross that harbour bridge when we get to it."

  58. Commentary  

    England all-rounder Paul Collingwood on Test\u00a0Match Special: "The cricket we've played over the last 18 months has been exceptional. The guys have been fantastic - not just the 11 who have played, all the bowlers have been magnificent and it's a great feeling to savour. We've been involved in some horrible times here in Australia, but it was important to start well in the state games - and we regrouped after Perth to put on a great performance here. We've retained the Ashes, but we want to put on a great performance and win in Sydney."

  59. 0145 Commentary  

    So that, ladies and gentlemen, is what they call that. It was an honour to guide you through until the bitter end.\u00a0 If you've just tuned in after going to see a trendy popular beat combo or returned from a long drive from one part of our beloved shores, this needs to be said over and over again. ENGLAND HAVE RETAINED THE ASHES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 24 YEARS. Onwards to Sydney, where the fifth and final Test will begin on 3 January. The cuddly Benjamin Dirs will cradle your head and kiss your forehead on day one. From me, goooodbye.

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 seal win to retain Ashes
29 Dec 10 |  England
Strauss demands Ashes series win
29 Dec 10 |  England
Defiant Ponting vows to fight on
29 Dec 10 |  England
Fourth Ashes Test in photos
29 Dec 10 |  England
Harris ruled out for three months
29 Dec 10 |  Australia
Jonathan Agnew column
28 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Justin Langer column
28 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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