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Australia v England fifth Test day four as it happened

  1. 2235 Commentary  

    Evening, everyone. We're just under half-an-hour away from the start of day four of the final Ashes Test in Sydney - and England appear to have their boot firmly on the Australian jugular, with the hope of wrapping up a series win.

    The match situation is that England are 488-7, which is a lead of 208 over Australia, with six sessions of the match remaining. Matt Prior is there on 54, and he's just been joined by Tim Bresnan who is yet to score. Alastair Cook (189) and Ian Bell (115) are the men the tourists have to thank after the Aussies endured a long - and not uncontroversial - day in the field yesterday.

  2. 2242 Commentary  

    If you've been hibernating since close of play this morning/last night (depending on your perspective), as ever there's plenty to read if you want to pick the bones out of yesterday's play. Aussie skipper Michael Clarke has defended Phillip Hughes after he was called a "cheat" by Ian Botham yesterday for claiming a disputed catch at short leg. Ali Cook has\u00a0explained on how a painful summer helped him bounce back for the Ashes - while Jonathan Agnew analyses a controversial day for the Decision Review System, Justin Langer praises Ian Bell's improvement and Tom Fordyce examines Cook's transformation down under.

  3. Commentary  

    From David Scott in Livingston (hoping his wife doesn't go into labour tonight as they don't have radio at the hospital but I do have 13 names to choose from if it is a boy), TMS inbox: "England had better not declare. There is absolutely no shame in achieving a crushing draw to win the series. I'd say make the Aussies toil for as long as possible."

  4. 2246 Commentary  

    Test Match Special is just starting, so crank up your wireless. If you missed it yesterday, Aggers finally came face to face with @theashes - the young American lady who began the winter tweeting "I'm not a freaking cricket match!" but now appears to be a cricketing convert. You can listen to their chat on the TMS podcasts page (along with Aggers and Geoff Boycott's usual round-up) or as a regular audio piece on the BBC Sport website. And there's a bit of Boycott video too.

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

    On Twitter: "Looks like Paul Collingwood has announced his Test retirement to the team this morning. Michael Vaughan says 'doing the right thing'."

  6. 2254 Commentary  

    Something else to make a note of - there's a 90-minute Ashes special on BBC Radio 5 live on Thursday evening from 1930 GMT - plenty of ex-England stars on the programme (including Messrs Hoggard, Trescothick and Ramprakash) to discuss either an imminent Ashes series victory, or a confirmed one...

  7. 2257 Commentary  

    Looks like it's confirmed that Colly has called it quits after 67 Tests. But he remains a key member of the one-day side (and T20 captain to boot), so it's not the last we've seen of the hard-working Durham all-rounder. Players walking out, we're nearly ready to start...

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

    On Paul Collingwood's Test retirement: "He's still going to play one-day internationals and Twenty20 cricket for England, but\u00a0after the Perth Test we were talking and he said this should be my last Test series. He felt he had taken his game as far as he could and saw Eoin Morgan in the nets and thought it was his turn."

  9. 2304 Commentary Eng 489-7  

    Mitchell Johnson takes the first over of the day, bowling left-arm fast around the wicket (in Wasim Akram mode) - it's the bearded Prior and the burly Bresnan taking up arms for England. Prior knocks a single through the covers, and Aggers on TMS gently pulls Michael Vaughan's leg for "blubbing" in his press conference when he retired as captain in 2008.

  10. Commentary  

    From Justin, East Grinstead, TMS inbox: "Hi Mark, I've got a mountain of uni coursework due in Monday, I work 40+ hours a week, and England are on their best Ashes run in Oz in yonks. Something has to give. I think I'll be struggling this semester..."

  11. 2308 Commentary Eng 493-7  

    "Gentle Ben" Hilfenhaus, whose Ashes series has rather gone downhill since dismissing Strauss with the third ball of the series, begins the 143rd over as Prior tries to turn him to leg and they trot through for a leg bye, before Bresnan does the same. Prior dabs a two to third man, he's up to 57.

  12. SMS  

    From Anonymous: "If Collingwood has announced his retirement, can I be the first to thank him for the great job he's done for the England team in the last five years. A legend who's shown that guts and hard graft can take you a long way."

    Indeed. Please remember to stick in your name if you're texting in...

  13. 2311 Commentary Eng 493-7  

    Big Tim gets an edge... but it doesn't quite carry to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. He sees off a maiden over from Johnson.

  14. SMS  

    From Luke, Cardiff: "Three Ashes winning series, numerous series\u00a0& Test wins and an all round nice chap, I for one have nothing but thanks to Colly, even if\u00a0I do hope his last innings was yesterday. My fave Test memory, final day in Cardiff in 2009. Cheers Colly."

  15. 2316 Commentary Eng 496-7  

    Prior works a single off his legs, thankfully with a lead of over 200, there should be no need for England to get bogged down. Bresnan carves a two to the mid-wicket boundary, he's finally off the mark (that was a leg bye a couple of overs ago) from his 24th delivery. Not much doing for Hilfenhaus.

  16. Commentary  

    From Murdo in Pontypridd, TMS inbox: "In Paul Collingwood's last Test match, England are on the verge of a unique feat in Test cricket. Each of the top six have scored in excess of 10,000 first class runs and, as I write, Matt Prior is just 9 runs short (58 n.o 9,994 runs). A Test top seven with 10,000 f-c runs under their belt - how special is that!?"

  17. Commentary  

    From Alexander Sprott, Middlesbrough, TMS inbox: "Paul Collingwood is the perfect role model for all club and professional players. Never been so sad to hear of a retirement, despite the end being nigh. Enormous respect for a great man."

  18. 2319 Commentary Eng 502-7  

    As is becoming customary this morning/evening (I'm losing track of time after this long series), Prior starts the over with a single. Bresnan ducks a bouncer from Johnson, who's back to bowling over the wicket, then pings a slighty fortuitous four through third man to bring the Barmy to their feet, applauding England's score breaking the 500 barrier. A quick single to leg allows Bres to keep the strike.

  19. SMS  

    From Ian, Bristol: "Colly was the modern day Thorpe. When England were struggling with wickets tumbling you'd always feel better when Colly came out to bat. Thanks Colly. A great service to your country sir."

  20. BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at the SCG
    Contributor BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at the SCG  

    On Twitter: "So farewell then, Sgt Colly. I'll miss your catches, your rearguards and your ginger forearms."

  21. 2324 Commentary Eng 504-7  

    Bresnan guides Hilfenhaus off his hip for a jogged two. The lead is 224, and with the series fast fading as a contest, the atmosphere is rather muted. A couple of ladies in the crowd appear to have cuddly swans around their necks. No idea if they're mute swans.

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

    "Paul Collingwood retires with a healthy average of 40.56 - better than Mike Atherton, Alec Stewart, Nasser Hussain and Mike Gatting - and 4,259 Test runs. That puts him 29th in the all-time England list, between Mark Butcher and Robin Smith. He took some of the finest catches among cricketers of his generation, and if he does not bowl in the second innings he will remember his last ball in Test match cricket - it bowled Mike Hussey."

  23. 2328 Commentary Eng 511-7  

    Prior is helping himself to ones and twos from Johnson, and opens the face well to steer Johnson for four past the slip cordon. The left-armer has 3-111 from 30 overs, while his partner Hilfenhaus has 1-111 from 32.

    And some reaction from Colly himself on his Test retirement: "Representing England has always been a dream of mine and I've been fortunate enough to have enjoyed some amazing highs throughout my Test career. I'm proud of the fact that I've always given my all for England but I feel that this is the right time to leave Test cricket having reached some very special achievements, none more satisfying that retaining the Ashes in Australia. I also feel now is the time to ensure some of the younger players are given an opportunity as we have a wealth of talent pushing for places. I still feel I have a huge amount to offer in terms of limited overs cricket and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to continue leading the Twenty20 squad and playing a significant role in England's ODI team."

  24. Commentary  
    From Gavin G, Glasgow, in the TMS inbox: "Best Colly memory is THAT catch to dismiss Matty Hayden in 2005. Set the tone for the entire summer and showed the Aussies that the series wasn't going to be easy. The disbelieving look on Hayden's face said everything you need to know about Collingwood's value to the team. If "catches win matches" then Collingwood was always a match winner."
  25. BBC Test Match Special's Justin Langer
    Contributor BBC Test Match Special's Justin Langer  

    "As soon as a batsman says he's not sure whether he's nicked it, you know he's nicked it - although Michael Vaughan and Geoff Boycott might have a different view."

  26. 2331 Commentary Eng 514-7  

    Prior dabs Hilfenhaus for three, so many runs have leaked through third man this morning it's like that Test in Bangladesh last spring (when England leaked dozens of runs to Tigers tail-enders before Stand-in Cap'n Cook put in a third man) all over again...

  27. Commentary  

    From Anne, Eastbourne , TMS inbox: "Regarding Paul Collingwood: just a thought, but is Ricky Ponting watching this at all, I wonder? This is how to leave the Test stage - with dignity and the gratitude of your country's fans."

  28. 2335 Commentary Eng 523-7  

    The match continues to drift away from Australia as Prior bashes a forceful cover-driven four, before flashing another boundary through... you guessed it, third man. A single takes the Sussex stumper to 78. I'm surprised the Barmy Army aren't warming up their throats with the Mitchell Johnson song... Michael Clarke removes his Baggy Green and scratches his head in the manner of Stan Laurel. As well he might.

  29. SMS  

    From Mat, Godalming: "Sad to hear Colly retiring, but also glad he is going out on a high. Will never forget the rearguard action from him and Bell at Newlands this time last year. From the stands we were cheering every dot ball, and every play and miss as Steyn gave him a right old going over. But still he carried on with a smile on his face. Special memories. Thanks Colly."

    I was at Newlands for that game too, and agree totally, though I aged several years in that last over as Graham Onions held off Morne Morkel!

  30. SMS  

    From Dave in Wigan: "Will never forget my friend's post on Facebook last winter when the country ground to a halt due to the snow and ice. He put 'there is no grit in England\u00a0because Colly has all of it in South Africa'. If we had needed him in Australia for the Ashes he would have stepped up. Many great times in the England shirt, you will be missed Colly."

  31. 2341 Commentary Eng 524-7  

    When the chips are down, Australians invariably turn to Beer... and it's their latest rookie spinner, slow left-armer Michael Beer, replacing the haunted Hilfenhaus in the attack. Prior prods a single, Bresnan is watchful in defence and this stand is now worth 37.

  32. Twitter  

    From Sam Collins, Wisden Cricketer: "Colly's bowling a big loss for England too - Bopara in the mix as replacement? Or Belly turn his arm over a bit more?"

  33. 2344 Commentary Eng 524-7  

    A strange field - slip, fourth slip, gully and a short cover - but it does the trick for Johnson as Prior plays out a maiden.

  34. Twitter  

    From former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff: "Paul's been a great servant to English Test cricket and played a major role in the team's success, think it's the right move to go out on the ultimate high winning in Aussie, I'm sure he'll continue to lead, play and perform in the future in the shorter forms, congrats."

  35. 2347 Commentary Eng 524-7  

    Bresnan ("a fine cricketer" according to the aforementioned Flintoff) on the defensive against Beer, who bowls quite tightly until the last delivery, which pitches short but Bres can't force it past the man at short cover. Maiden.

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

    On Paul Collingwood's Test retirement: "He's been a very good, tough cricketer. He hasn't had a great series but he's been a spiritual leader to the team. He's always in your face in the field and has made the most of his ability. He didn't give anything away, played within his limitations and has had a very good Test career. He's also a brilliant fieldsman and gives energy to the team in the field and has got leadership through his attitude to the game."

  37. 2351 DRINKS BREAK Eng 525-7  

    The snarling Peter Siddle replaces Johnson. Prior prods a single, but\u00a0his Yorkshire partner\u00a0remains stout in defence - and the players have earned their first drinks break of the day. The lead is 245.

  38. SMS  

    From Mark, Lincs: "It shows how far English cricket has come in the last few years when Collingwood, who always seemed to have his place in the side questioned, comes out averaging 40+, more than some legends of modern day English cricket. Well played Colly, a great all-round Test player!"

  39. SMS  

    From George, Cheltenham: "Can we PLEASE stop the endless tributes to Collingwood? He has been in decline for ages and his 'retiring' is simply him jumping before being pushed."

    I hope we're reflecting all opinions... but the emails, texts and comments we're getting are overwhelmingly positive about Colly's contribution.

  40. 2357 Commentary Eng 528-7  

    A colleague's mobile phone rings with the "Cagney and Lacey" theme, reminding me of how similar it is to the old "Grandstand" theme... Anyway, back in Sydney, the refreshed Beer pours out another over, and Prior and Bresnan help themself to\u00a0three singles\u00a0- but no doubles at this stage.

  41. SMS  

    From Anonymous: "Brigadier Block will be sorely missed by both the team and every English cricket fan... if there was ever a player that demonstrated grit, determination and making the most of what talent that he had then Collingwood emitted that in the bucketload. Compare how a modern day international footballer retires in a cloud of injustice or embarassment to see one of the best all round cricketers of a generation retire with dignity and with his country at the top is great to see... thanks for everything Colly, you will be missed."

  42. 0002 Commentary Eng 529-7  

    Michael Slater on TMS notes that "fifties don't win Test matches - hundreds win Test matches" - by contrast, England have scored eight centuries this series, Australia three. Prior moves on to 83 with a single, while Bresnan, a little becalmed, swooshes and misses as Siddle tries to tempt him outside off stump.

  43. Commentary  

    From Damo, Nottingham, TMS inbox: "With Collingwood retiring who will step up? Morgan seems the likely candidate but is he really a Test standard player? Yes he's good at one dayers, but he needs to be moulded into a Test regular. Any thoughts on replacements?"

  44. 0006 Commentary Eng 531-7  

    Prior sweeps Beer for one, Bresnan nicks the strike with a single. Slats and Aggers compare notes on TMS - they've both met the Queen twice, apparently.

    Meanwhile, those of you awaiting the three Pakistan players' ICC tribunal to rule on the spot-fixing allegations that plagued Pakistan's tour of England last summer may be interested in BBC sports editor David Bond's blog which explains the importance of the situation.

  45. Commentary  

    From Christine, Vancouver, Canada, TMS inbox: "Ode to Colly:
    There was an old cricketer named Colly,
    His catches were never a dolly,
    He played with true grit,
    And jangled our nerves just a bit,
    But to bet against him would be pure folly."

  46. 0009 Commentary Eng 539-7  

    Having scored 11 from his first 71 balls, Bresnan momentarily comes out of his shell to whack Siddle for four past point, while an on-driven three brings up the fifty partnership. Prior's up to 85, and would you believe it, the third new ball is available after two more overs...

  47. SMS  

    From Simon, Cheltenham: "George the dissenting voice from Cheltenham [see 2357]\u00a0should realise that the reason Colly elicits such emotion is that we can so readily relate to him. He was not blessed with Gower's cover drive or Robin Smith's square cut, nor could he bowl like Botham or Willis. He simply made the most of what he had and tried his heart out for his country."

  48. 0013 Commentary Eng 542-7  

    Beer, who's certainly impressed me more than Xavier Doherty did in the first two Tests, yields three singles. And we're going to have spin from both ends - It's Tintin Time!

  49. Twitter  

    From Andrew Flintoff: "Would love Bres to get a score, give him confidence for the future. Think he's a fine cricketer!"

  50. 0016 Commentary Eng 547-7 - THIRD NEW BALL AVAILABLE  

    Leg-spinner Steve Smith, ruffled blond hair sticking up for fine weather, hops and skips in to Prior, who helps himself to three through third man. Smith - demoted to number seven but not called upon to bowl until the 102nd over yesterday - is plundered for two by Bresnan, and the third\u00a0cherry is available. "Always a depressing moment for a fielding side," notes my match-report colleague Oliver Brett.

  51. Commentary  

    From Jonathon, Stockport, TMS inbox: "Why does it have to be a batsman replacing Collingwood? Surely with Broad, Swann and Bresnan who can all bat, can't we add another bowler and attack teams? Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Tremlett would be my first choice."

  52. 0019 Commentary Eng 551-7  

    It's available, but not taken as Australia persist with Beer's left-arm spin. Prior carefully sweeps a ball from outside off stump down to fine leg, and they scamper back for two, before the Sussex man moves on to 94 with another two.

  53. Commentary  

    From James Blake, Sussex, TMS inbox: "I think the Aussie selectors need to be more careful. Picking Shane Watson was very brave as his name is an anagram of 'want no Ashes.' "

    Brilliant, more anagrams please!

  54. 0022 Commentary Eng 561-7  

    Bresnan tries to go deep against Smith, hoisting the youngster over mid-on for four. He and Prior rotate the strike with a couple of singles, then more buffet bowling from Tintin (who has none of the control Beer has exhibited)\u00a0allows Bresnan another heave over mid-on for four. He has 30, Prior has 95, and England lead by 281.

  55. 0026 Commentary Eng 567-7  

    Two contrasting spinners in action here, Beer keeps it tight but Prior sweeps another two before crashing a four through the covers for his fourth Test century. He leaps into the air and salutes the Barmy Army - astonishingly, it's apparently the fastest Ashes century (109 balls) by an Englishman since Botham (Old Trafford, 1981)

  56. 0027 THAT'S A RECORD  

    And that's nine centuries for England - the most they've ever got in an Ashes series.

  57. 0029 Commentary Eng 571-7  

    Smith rattles through a quick\u00a0over, Bresnan dabs a single and Prior adds three more. Monty Panesar dashes on at the end of the over to give Prior a bright red drink, which the Sussex stumper guzzles while Monty P wipes the inside of Prior's helmet with a towel.

  58. SMS  

    From Ben, Bucks: "Re: anagrams [see 0022]. If you see a tear roll down Michael Clarke's face... that would be his 'lacrimal cheek' - tenuous, I know - the power of Google."

    Indeed - my match-report colleague Oliver Brett is a\u00a0"Bitter Lover", while I'm apparently a "Merriment Hack"...

  59. 0031 Commentary Eng 573-7  

    Beer wheels away, England add\u00a0a single and a leg bye - while Geoff Boycott on TMS recommends "Betty's in Harrogate" for all your cake-related needs.

  60. SMS  

    From Anonymous: "An anagram suitable in some some way for Ricky Ponting, just not quite sure how: 'Crying ink pot'."

  61. 0037 THAT'S A RECORD Eng 582-7  

    Smith has clearly been hit out of the attack as Cap'n Clarke takes the third new ball and hands it to Mitchell Johnson... who as we know, may bowl it just about anywhere. Bresnan belts the new cherry through the covers, cracking shot and it zips over the rope too fast for the sweeper to cut it off. A leg bye rotates the strike, this is now England's highest eighth-wicket stand at the SCG, beating the 86 by "Young Jack" Hearne and JWHT ("Johnny Won't Hit Today") Douglas in 1911. Prior swipes a four over the slips and helps himself to a two through mid-wicket, 11 from the over and the stand is now worth 97.

  62. 0042 Commentary Eng 584-7  

    With the new ball available, Hilfenhaus returns, and briefly halts the free-scoring eighth-wicket pair as he sends down a maiden to Bresnan.

  63. SMS  

    From Steve, Milton Keynes: "Trescothick, a blast from the past, is an anagram of 'cricket shot'."

  64. 0042 DRINKS BREAK  

    Oh, and we're having another drinks break. You're missing nothing here.

  65. SMS  

    From Ali in York: "An anagram suitable of his performance in the last two matches: Timothy Bresnan\u00a0= I'm the bonny star!"

  66. WICKET Bresnan c Clarke b Johnson 35 (Eng 589-8)  

    Unbelievably, Michael Clarke has a bit of a grin on his face as Johnson begins a new over to Prior, who plays and misses with an expansive drive. But then he does connect with the same shot, and it pings sweetly off his bat for his 11th four of the innings to bring up the century stand from 168 balls. A single takes him to 116. But Bres gets an edge as he pushes forward and Clarke pouches it at second slip.

  67. SMS  

    From Rick, Wolverhampton: "An anagram for Andrew Strauss could have been 'sad urn wasters' with a different outcome here."

  68. Commentary  

    From Patrick, Worcestershire, TMS inbox: "Eoin Morgan = Roaming One. Perhaps appropriate? But we need a new ginger!"

  69. 0054 Commentary Eng 595-8  

    Graeme Swann joins Prior, he should be good for a bright and breezy (and rapid) 30 in this situation... Prior clips Hilfenhaus down the leg side for four (signalled as leg byes) before chopping a single to the cover sweeper. Hilfenhaus gets one to lift against Swann and it strikes him on the hand. Ouch. He's off the mark with a single to deep backward square leg.

  70. Commentary  

    From Alfie, Cambs, TMS inbox: "Peter Siddle = Depleted Sir. A cunning reference to the lack of morale within the Aussie team."

  71. 0059 Commentary Eng 608-8  

    Single from Swann, Prior check-drives a single through cover point, then Swann swings and it sails over the slips for four\u00a0to bring up 600 for the tourists. The England fans in the\u00a0crowd are up on their feet - a stark contrast to this time four years ago, when I was at the SCG to witness the last rites of England's 5-0 defeat by lunch on day four of the final Test. A confident square drive sails between the slips and gully for four more, while Swann is enjoying himself as he lofts a cover drive in the direction of wide long-off and they run three.

  72. Twitter  

    From Opta Sports: "This is the first time ever in a Test match innings that partnerships 6, 7 and 8 have all produced 100 runs. Unprecedented."

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

    On Twitter: "Hugh Morris, managing director of England Cricket, joining us at lunch to pay tribute to Paul Collingwood."

  74. WICKET Prior c Haddin b Hilfenhaus 118 (Eng 609-9)  

    With half an hour until lunch, Hilfenhaus digs in a bouncer and a miscued hook from Swann dribbles towards mid-wicket as they run one. But Prior's entertaining knock is ended when he tries to upper-cut and is caught behind. Or is he? What the deuce? It's another of those no-ball referrals... and as TV replays show a fraction of Hilfenhaus's foot behind the popping crease, umpire Billy Bowden sends Prior on his way.

  75. 0110 Commentary Eng 629-9  

    Chris Tremlett is England's last man - and not the worst number 11 they've ever fielded, having seven first-class fifties to his name. But he's the non-striker as Swann steers a two, before swatting a bouncer over fine leg and that's six! A straight drive brings the Notts spinner two more, then he whacks Johnson over mid-off for four! "This reminds me of my university days, bowling against county batsmen filling their boots," notes Vic Marks on TMS. Swann heaves a three towards cow corner, and Tremlett edges his first ball past the slips for three - that's 20 off the over. Johnson has 4-168, and this is England's second highest innings score in Australia...

  76. 0113 Commentary Eng 629-9  

    The highest England score in Australia is\u00a0636 in a timeless Test in Sydney in 1928, with Wally Hammond scoring 251, while wicketkeeper George Duckworth (a regular 10 or 11 at international level) made his highest Test score of 39 not out. Back in the present day, Tremlett plays out a maiden from Hilfenhaus.

  77. Commentary  

    From Gareth Copley, PA photographer on Twitter: "The Barmy Army are chanting 'We want Mitch!'"

    I think they're calling for Johnson to bowl more overs like the last one, rather than any reference to this text commentator...

  78. UMPIRE REVIEW  

    Johnson joins Smith in having been hit out of the attack after that last over went for 20. Swann swings, Siddle appeals for a catch behind, the umpire is unmoved and Australia call for a review...

  79. NOT OUT  

    Replays seem to show the ball flicking Swann's shirt rather than his bat, and so Swann stays his ground and Australia have lost a review.

  80. 0121 Commentary Eng 630-9  

    Swann swipes a single, Tremlett is cut in half by a lifter from Siddle which will give the tall seamer a little\u00a0encouragement that the wicket may have a little in it for him this afternoon... England lead by 350, and we're coming up towards lunch.

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

    On Twitter: "Tailenders taking Aussie bowlers to the cleaners after perfectly paced hundred by Prior. If Aus collapse, supporters right to be very angry."

  82. 0126 Commentary Eng 633-9  

    A single takes Swann's total to 33 from 22 balls. Not to sound smug, but\u00a0didn't I predict a bright, breezy and rapid 30 for Swanny at 0054? Hilfenhaus oversteps for a no-ball, Tremlett straight-drives past the bowler's left hand for two, although he has to rear away from a bouncer off the last ball of the over.

  83. Commentary  

    From Mark Brenson in Hampshire, TMS inbox: "If you combine the names of all the Australian players on the field you get the anagram:

    'I can't believe that we have capitulated in such a way. There was a time not so long ago that we were the best in the world and struck fear in every other team. A lot of work to do for the baggy greens to get back to the top and stop looking like spongy browns.'

    This may be a lie..."

  84. 0130 INTERVAL LUNCH - Eng 636-9  

    Siddle to serve up probably the last over before lunch, Swann turns it off his legs for a single. Vic Marks on TMS has picked up an email in the inbox from Ben Powell which points out that "Steve Smith has seven first-class fifties, so I guess that makes Tremlett an all-rounder too!" Swann runs a leg bye, a cover-driven two by Tremlett\u00a0draws England level with that 636 from Sydney in 1928, then\u00a0Tremlett is struck on the shoulder by a bouncer but looks unmoved. He survives the over - and that's lunch. Swann has 33, Tremlett has seven, England lead by 356, and their fans will feel all is right with the world.

  85. Twitter  

    From Cricinfo's Andrew Miller: "I know he's a big softie at heart, but when you've got a 350 deficit and 5 sessions to survive, is it really advisable to bounce Tremlett?"

  86. SMS  

    From Chris in London: "Andy Flower anagram\u00a0= 'Delay Frown'... but for how long!?"

  87. Commentary  

    From Nicholas, TMS inbox: "(With a rather loose synonym of gold = ginger) "Paul Collingwood" = "Gold icon wallop u !" Or in the context of this (mis)match, "gold Paul, cool win"."

  88. 0135 Commentary  

    Right, keep listening to TMS for Aggers' interview with Hugh Morris, while we take a break and grab a sarnie.

    And if you want to read more about Aggers' encounter with @theashes yesterday, you can read (and listen) all about it on the BBC Sport website.

  89. Commentary  

    From Lulu, TMS inbox: "I am a Pom loving the game but should warn you that I live 90km north of Sydney on the Central Coast and the heavens have just opened up big time. Fingers crossed that it doesn\u2019t travel south to mess up the day."

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

    On Twitter: "Hugh Morris has told TMS:\u00a0'Colly came to my room last night and said he felt the time was right. We respect his decision and think it's the\u00a0right thing to do'.

    "The journalist panel on now includes Lawrence Booth, just announced as the new editor of Wisden, Aussie sage Gideon Haigh and John Etheridge of the Sun."

  91. SMS  

    From John in Bristol: "An anagram of Test Match Special = tame spilt catches."

  92. Commentary  

    Aussie cricket writer Gideon Haigh on TMS: "The problem with the DRS is when it's used in some series and not others - but while India remain intransigent on the system, that will continue."

  93. Commentary  

    From Christopher, TMS inbox: "Worry ye not, Lulu [see 0135] - is sunny here in the Sydney CBD and the wind is blowing from the south, so no rain expected here. At least you won\u2019t need to water the garden tonight."

  94. 0209 Commentary  

    After some entertaining chat on TMS, prepare for some entertainment back on the SCG pitch as England are ready to resume.

  95. 0213 THAT'S A RECORD Eng 643-9  

    Michael Beer bowls,\u00a0a Swann single brings England their highest Test score in Australia. Michael Vaughan on TMS expects Chris Tremlett to have a swing at Beer, and he's perfectly capable of clearing the ropes - but he's content to prod a single at this stage. Swann sweeps for one, then Beer tosses up a Jeremy Snape-style "moon ball"\u00a0and Tremlett whacks it through extra cover for four!

  96. SMS  

    From Zee, Bolton: "I can see why Stuart Broad has been so reliable for England in recent seasons - 'Trust Aboard'."

  97. WICKET Tremlett c Haddin b Hilfenhaus 12 (Eng 644 all out)  

    Hilfenhaus to Swann, who guides a quick single past gully, then Tremlett prods forward and is caught behind. England's epic innings is ended in the 178th over - and the lead is a Len Hutton-esque 364.

  98. SMS  

    From James in Hants: "Graeme Swann = News Manager."

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

    "Is this the innings where Khawaja can give the Aussie fans a little hope that they can build a side around him?"

  100. Commentary  

    From Rick in Cincinnati: "Time to print the T-shirts - 644."

  101. 0225 Commentary  

    England in their Michael Vaughan-style huddle on the edge of the field, while MPV himself on TMS feels Mitchell Johnson has clearly let "that" song get to him... Aussie openers Shane Watson and Phillip Hughes walk out, we're almost ready to go again.

  102. 0231 Commentary Aus 7-0  

    Watson hooks the first ball of the innings from James Anderson for four through mid-wicket - clearly Australia have nothing to gain by blocking, so this could be worth watching. Watson laces a cover drive for three, Hughes shoulders arms to his first ball.

  103. SMS  

    From Richard K: "The JWHT Douglas you mention [see 0037]\u00a0is an ancestor of mine, a great man who captained England to a whitewash defeat in the Ashes but also won\u00a0two Olympic gold medals for boxing. Also captained England amateurs footy team. Have some great memorabilia, including a mini ivory bat, strange."

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

    "I never thought I'd see the day when three or four Bangladesh players, like Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mashrafe Mortaza would get into this Australian team. Until they realise that, they're in denial."

  105. 0236 Commentary Aus 7-0  

    Chris Tremlett, fresh from his batting cameo, shares the new ball with Anderson, Watson drives firmly but can't beat Jonathan Trott at short extra cover. Maiden over.

  106. Commentary  

    From Sam Clemens (aren't you Mark Twain?), TMS inbox: "Forget the Bangladeshis who'd make the Aussie side. The Darren Pattinson single-capper now looks a work of genius, what with rendering him ineligible to play for Australia."

  107. 0240 Commentary Aus 10-0  

    Hughes is off the mark with a single to fine leg, Watson on-drives for one. The TMS crew are already wondering about whether Swann's spin could be the key for England, as another delicate leg glance from Hughes allows him to pinch the strike.

  108. 0244 Commentary Aus 13-0  

    After Michael Slater on TMS explains how he conducted a batting masterclass during the lunch interval, Simon Hughes wonders whether half of the Australian order should have been paying attention... Hughes works a two off his legs, a single allows him to retain the strike again.

  109. 0248 Commentary Aus 18-0  

    Hughes prods at a lifter from Tremlett, the ball skews into the air and hits Hughes on the bottom as he looks around vainly for it. A single brings Watson back on strike, and he pulls Anderson for his second four of the innings.

  110. Commentary  

    From Paul in Pinner, TMS inbox: "Hope you like this one - another anagram: Andrew Strauss: Sets Runs Award. Pretty apt given the England total!"

  111. 0252 Commentary Aus 20-0  

    Hughes prods half-heartedly at Tremlett, they try to run a leg bye but umpire Billy Bowden sends them back, judging that the left-hander hadn't made a legitimate attempt to play a shot. That's lovely from Tremlett, tucking Hughes up for room, and the lanky Surrey seamer completes\u00a0a maiden over.

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

    "I was sharing a room on tour once with Graham Cowdrey (son of Colin), who wore contact lenses. One night, I came back late, drank what I thought was a glass of water and drank his contact lenses."

  113. Commentary  

    From Richard in Hollywood, TMS inbox: "Just dug up this email I sent on Monday morning. Not that far off, really...

    "OK now, everyone calm down. We're only half way through day 2. England will declare at 600 - 650 before lunch on day 4, then Swanny will do the biz, or the weather will. Done and dusted either way."

    Are you Nostradamus? This was genuinely sent out on day two when Australia's tail was wagging ominously.

  114. 0257 Commentary Aus 25-0  

    Watson guides Anderson for a two off his legs and a four past the slips, the "Burnley Express" isn't quite full steam ahead in this innings. Having seen Hughes nick the strike a couple of times in this innings, Watson now pokes a single off the last ball of the over.

  115. Commentary  

    From Alfie, Cambs, TMS inbox: "Am currently writing an important history essay. I wonder if my tutor will notice that I made up the 'revered historians Alistair Cook and Ian Bell' - he's not a massive sports fan so I hope not. He probably will realise that the first convicts weren't sent there in the year 644 AD, though."

  116. 0301 Commentary Aus 34-0  

    Tremlett's first loose delivery of the innings is drilled for four through point by Watson, then a fluent off-drive brings the blond opener (who was Tremlett's team-mate at Hampshire five years ago) four more. A single takes Watson to 28, while Hughes - on six - defends the last ball of the over.

  117. 0305 Commentary Aus 34-0  

    Graeme Swann, bedecked in shiny sunglasses as ever, gets an early twirl in place of Anderson, and he's quickly through\u00a0a maiden\u00a0over to Watson, although he doesn't seem to get much turn. The days when England would invariably play two spinners at Sydney seem a long time ago...

  118. 0310 Commentary Aus 43-0  

    Hughes jabs Tremlett for a quick single to mid-wicket, there's a half-hearted lbw shout against Watson, who off-drives another four. Tremlett then has his former team-mate playing and missing, but Watson has the last word by pulling another four down to fine leg.

    Meanwhile, an email from Cricket Australia tells us that James (brother of Darren) Pattinson and Trent Copeland have been called into the Prime Minister's XI to face England on Monday, replacing the injured Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood.

  119. SMS  

    From Anonymous: "Support from the English supporters has been excellent in this recession - my parents are in the stand watching, they could afford this trip by going away for Xmas and never bought any presents. Thanks for the socks, enjoy the victory."

  120. 0312 Commentary Aus 43-0  

    A rapid maiden over from Swann to Hughes, and it's time for Big Tim...

  121. 0316 Commentary Aus 45-0  

    Tim Bresnan, who's been one of the surprise stars of this series (given that many commentators and writers\u00a0thought he was lucky to be in the squad), takes up the attack and Watson works a two off his legs. Watto's dominated this innings, scoring 38 of the Aussies' first 45 runs.

  122. WICKET Watson run out 38 (Aus 46-1)  

    Swann, round the wicket to the left-handed Hughes, continues from the Randwick End - Hughes works a single off his legs, Watson turns blindly and sets off for a second run, and while Hughes hasn't moved, Watson is run out by two-thirds of the length of the pitch!

  123. 0322 Commentary Aus 46-1  

    Having sawn Hughes off in the first innings, and run Katich out at Adelaide, Watson is starting to get a reputation as a bad runner between the wickets. (Nasser Hussain managed to run out most of the rest of the team at various points\u00a0when he was England captain). Usman Khawaja is the new batsman and defends his first two balls.

  124. 0326 Commentary Aus 50-1  

    With Watson having dominated that first-wicket partnership, England can turn the screw now as Hughes has scratched around for eight from 36 balls, while Khawaja is yet to score. Hughes forces Bresnan for four through point, that's the fifty up for Australia.

    As well as Watson (involved in seven run-outs in his Test career, but only having perished twice himself), Vic Marks on TMS has\u00a0some\u00a0nominations for a "team of terrible\u00a0runners" - Inzamam-ul-Haq and\u00a0John Wright ("great batsman, awful runner"). Dare they mention Geoff Boycott?

  125. Commentary  

    From Tom in East London, TMS inbox: " An anagram of Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Michael Vaughan is "Just in China, at home. Having a sprinkler mare. C?"

    A reminder that Jonathan Agnew has apparently\u00a0promised to perform the fabled sprinkler dance on the SCG outfield when - OK if - England win the series. Thanks for your anagrams, I think we'll leave it there.

  126. 0328 Commentary Aus 51-1  

    Left-hander Khawaja nudges Swann for a single, Australia still trail by 313.

  127. 0332 Commentary Aus 51-1  

    Bresnan has a man in at short mid-on for Khawaja, who plays out a maiden over, the debutant looks quite assured at this stage.

  128. Twitter  

    From double Ashes winner Andrew Flintoff: "Our lads have skillfully removed all the Aussie wheels. The pressure we've put them under they don't know if its New Year or Easter Monday."

  129. 0335 APPEAL - NOT OUT Aus 52-1  

    Big appeal from Swann as Hughes sticks his front pad out and offers no shot, you're always dicing with disaster when you do that... The opener forces a single to leg.

  130. SMS  

    From Mikey in York: "If you're making a team of bad runners, Owais Shah has to be in the team. A terrible runner, constantly worried when he is at the crease."

  131. 0338 Commentary Aus 52-1  

    Bresnan, a smear of white sun cream on the end of his nose (as if he's just dipped it into a tub of ice cream), keeps it tight against Hughes but fails to draw a false stroke and sends down another maiden - he has 0-6 from four overs.

  132. 0341 Commentary Aus 52-1  

    Surrounded by\u00a0three close fielders, Khawaja drives at Swann but is denied by a tumbling stop by Cap'n Strauss in the covers. Swann manages to rip one past Khawaja's outside edge, finally we have a bit of turn, but Khawaja defends soundly for another maiden over.

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

    "The best thing for England will be to tie these young batsmen down and restrict the flow of runs, as there aren't any terrors in this pitch."

  134. WICKET Hughes c Prior b Bresnan 13 (Aus 52-2)  

    A great ball by Bresnan finds the edge and Prior takes a great catch in front of first slip!

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

    "That's a perfect example of a batsman not moving his feet. The kid has got hand-eye co-ordination and natural talent, but he has technical flaws and at Test level, he's going to get found out."

  136. 0346 APPEAL - NOT OUT Aus 52-2  

    Michael Clarke is the new batsman, averaging 19 for the series (well, at least it's more than Ricky Ponting's 16.14). Bresnan goes charging in, and stumbles over in his follow-through, then there's a big leg-before shout off the last ball of the over as Clarke is hit on the pad, but England decide against a review.

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

    On Twitter: "Barmy Army taunting Aussies with 'You're not singing any more'. Truth is that Aussie fans have hardly made a sound for past 4 days."

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

    "Phillip Hughes is a mystery. He was picked by the selectors in the middle of the series when averaging 20-odd domestically this season and it was a poor call. There are so many areas of weakness in his technique that as a bowler you would just fancy getting him out. His highest Test score against England is 36 in nine innings. Still only 22 so he might yet rediscover the form that gave him twin centuries in his second Test in Durban in March 2009."

  139. 0349 Commentary Aus 54-2  

    Khawaja cuts Swann and they run two, Australia trail by 310. If you're just joining us, you may not have heard that Paul Collingwood announced his retirement from Test cricket this morning - you can read more on the BBC Sport website.

  140. 0354 Commentary Aus 63-2  

    Clarke is off the mark by pushing Bresnan for two, then he fluently cover-drives for four. The Aussie skipper then fends one off to short leg where Alastair Cook throws the ball straight back at the stumps, but Clarke was back in his crease in time. Slightly woolly from Bres, the ball sails down the leg side and they run three byes.

  141. Commentary  

    From Martyn, Southampton, TMS inbox: "If England win the series (Still an IF, I'm not tempting fate that much) do we think there will be a victory parade through London?"

    Our understanding is that there are only about six days between the end of the one-day series and the start of the World Cup, and that the players have already said they would rather spend the time with their families.

  142. 0357 Commentary Aus 69-2  

    With the tea interval around 15 minutes away, it's Swann to continue and Clarke tries to angle the ball through third man but Bresnan makes a good stop at gully. Clarke and Khawaja exchange singles, then Clarke -\u00a0renowned as a\u00a0good player of spin -\u00a0hammers a four through the covers, watched by Swann with gritted teeth.

  143. 0401 Commentary Aus 69-2  

    While the TV cameras show a close-up of the ball, which already looks very scuffed on one side, Bresnan goes round the wicket to the leftie Khawaja and that's a maiden over, Australia trail by 295.

  144. 0404 Commentary Aus 70-2  

    Single from Clarke, but Swann keeps Khawja tied down for the rest of the over.

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

    "If I had 10 innings batting on this pitch, I'd expect to get nine good scores."

  146. 0408 Commentary Aus 77-2  

    Bresnan's off and Tremlett will have a trundle before tea - Clarke chops a four that bounces, sails over gully and through to the\u00a0third man boundary. Simon Mann tentatively asks Geoff Boycott on TMS "now Geoffrey, you were involved in the odd run-out..." and Boycs blames his batting partners for running too slowly! Clarke guides Tremlett off his legs for three, and we're going to have one more over before tea.

  147. Commentary  

    From Tony Wagtar, Coleraine, TMS inbox: "Such is the wealth of talent in the England squad that perhaps an England second XI would be more than a match for the hapless Aussies. Would the following team beat Australia? Carberry, Lyth, Davies, Gale, Hildreth, Morgan, Broad, Shahzad, Finn, Onions, Panesar."

  148. 0411 INTERVAL TEA - Aus 77-2  

    Now then, I wonder whether England might give Pietersen a bowl at some point in the final session, given that he accounted for Clarke in Adelaide with the last ball of the fourth day... It's Swann to close out the afternoon session, he sends down a maiden to Clarke and that's tea. Clarke has 19, Khawaja has four and Australia trail by 287.

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

    "I think England will settle for that, especially if they can get another couple of wickets by the close. It's been a good afternoon for them."

  150. 0416 Commentary  

    TMS will be talking to Mark Butcher (who has scored an SCG hundred)\u00a0in a minute, but first they're going to have a chat with Wasim Khan, chief executive of the Chance to Shine initiative.

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

    On Twitter: "The box is demob happy. The producer & I are trying to outdo each other with our Tony Greig impersonations..."

    As long as it doesn't disrupt the "telecorst"...

  152. 0430 Commentary  

    We're ready to resume for the evening session - 32 overs left to bowl today. I think the odds favour the game not finishing in four days...

  153. 0435 Commentary Aus 79-2  

    Chris Tremlett's first ball after tea to Khawaja\u00a0is down the leg side, there's a half-hearted appeal for a catch behind but England rightly decide not to review it. Khawaja then pulls a two to deep backward square leg. Michael Vaughan returns to the TMS box (after doing some filming for tonight's BBC Ten O'Clock News about Paul Collingwood's Test retirement) - and reveals that he has been selected to hand the Waterford crystal Ashes urn to Cap'n Strauss after the game.

  154. 0439 Commentary Aus 87-2  

    While MPV on TMS regales Aggers with some songs from the Barmy Army website, Clarke goes down the pitch to Swann, hoisting a four over mid-on and flicking a three through mid-wicket. He has 26, Khawaja moves on to seven with a single.

  155. SMS  

    From Mic from Hemel: "Need a wicketkeeper for your poor runners team? How about Ridley Jacobs of the Windies - always good for one team-mate and then himself."

  156. 0442 Commentary Aus 88-2  

    Khawaja tries to turn Tremlett to leg and they scamper a leg bye, then Clarke is defending at thin air when Tremlett gets one to seam away from the right-hander. With the leg bye, that's a maiden over.

  157. 0446 Commentary Aus 95-2  

    Khawaja guides Swann through mid-wicket (through Cook's legs at short leg, as it happens) for two, before a single takes the debutant into double figures. Clarke cuts, it's a slow outfield and they manage to run three to the backward point boundary. Khawaja steals the strike with a single.

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

    "It's not all doom and gloom for Australian cricket - their women's team won the first one-day international against us yesterday."

  159. 0450 Commentary Aus 96-2  

    Great line and length from Tremlett - as those of us who watched Hampshire in the 1980s might remark, he's his father's son. Khawaja turns a single off his toes, that's the only scoring stroke from the over.

  160. 0453 Commentary Aus 96-2  

    Swann, tossing up his off-spin from around the wicket\u00a0has a slip as well as helmeted men at short leg and silly point for the debutant Khawaja. He prods forward, that's a maiden over and as Boycs said on TMS earlier, bowling a string of maidens may be England's best way of building pressure to serve up a wicket - it worked for Hughes, after all...

  161. 0457 Commentary Aus 100-2  

    Clarke steers Tremlett for four through the covers, Australia are up to three figures and the home skipper removes his helmet to wipe the sweat off his head. These two have added 48 from 88 balls.

  162. 0459 Commentary Aus 104-2  

    Nice cover drive from Khawaja, that's his first boundary, it took him 61 balls to get there. "I like the look of this lad - left-handers are often pleasant on the eye, but he times the ball well," is Michael Vaughan's verdict.

  163. SMS  

    From Anonymous: "In my opinion Hughes is to blame for the run-out. If you watch Watson taking the second run, he has his eye on the ball and fielder the whole time (hence why he didn't notice Hughes hadn't run). Watson made it to the other end at a gentle trot to say the least, if Hughes had not hesitated and run he would have made it in comfortably. But we expect this sort of things from this current Australian team."

  164. 0504 Commentary Aus 104-2  

    Anderson replaces Tremlett at the Paddington End (maybe they could set up a stall selling marmalade sandwiches that end, and call it the Paddington Bear End). Anderson, who's been known to give the odd "hard stare" in his time, bowls a steady line outside off stump, and Clarke isn't tempted. Maiden over.

  165. Commentary  

    From Rob, Somerset, in the TMS inbox: "WOW ! Just waking up in the UK, rubbing my bleary eyes in disbelief.\u00a0I knew we were going to have a good total, but I never expected 644!!"

  166. 0507 Commentary Aus 113-2  

    Swann spins one past Khawaja, and Prior, who both miss it and it disappears for four byes. The left-hander pokes a single through point, then Clarke bludgeons a four through cow corner.

  167. Commentary  

    From Chris, a happy Pom in Sydney, in the TMS inbox: "It's a shame that England can, at best, only win the series 3-1 as I feel even that score flatters the Australians. Still, it's my birthday Friday so hopefully we can stick this out today as I have tickets for tomorrow, there's plenty spare in Sydney for the Poms!"

  168. BBC Sport's Oliver Doward
    Contributor BBC Sport's Oliver Doward  

    On Twitter: "All gone a bit flat for England at the moment. Swann strangely off colour. Stirring rendition of Tight Fit's 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' sweeping across the ground from the barmies in the corner of the Victor Trumper stand."

  169. WICKET Khawaja c Prior b Anderson 21 (Aus 117-3)  

    Khawaja cracks Anderson for four over mid-wicket, but then he nicks one to the keeper and Anderson goes absolutely mad in celebration!

  170. 0513 Commentary Aus 117-3  

    Mike Hussey is the new batsman so we still have a left-hand/right-hand combo. He sees off the over.

  171. Commentary  

    From Charlie in Argentina, the TMS inbox: "Re Mic from Hemel [0442]: A good front line bowler for the team of poor runners might be Dominic 'calamity' Cork. Didn't use to watch him bowl much but always used to tune in for his batting, especially the moments when he would run half way down the pitch with his hand up screaming 'nooooo' to the other batsman and then scamper back to his crease. Classic!"

  172. 0517 Commentary Aus 118-3  

    Clarke drives a single to move on to 38, Hussey prods forward at Swann, there's an lbw appeal but mainly from the keeper and slip rather than the bowler...

  173. 0522 Commentary Aus 118-3  

    Clarke slashes and misses at Anderson, you can tell by the tone in Jim Maxwell's voice on TMS how close that was to removing the Aussie skipper... Anderson is shielding the ball in his run-up, trying to leave the batsmen guessing as to which way it will swing, and he sends down a hostile maiden over to Clarke.

  174. SMS  

    From Richard, London: "Khawaja 37 & 21. Yep, he's Ponting's replacement all right..."

  175. Commentary  

    From James, New Orleans in the TMS inbox: "The more of this I watch and the more comments and expert analysis I read, the more I wonder: what on earth was Perth all about?!"

  176. 0524 Commentary Aus 118-3  

    Hussey, yet to score, has to defend against a topspinner from Swann that keeps low. "Mr Cricket" has been a thorn in England's side for much of this series, but they're keeping him quiet so far, and that's a maiden. "Cricket for the connoisseur," purrs Boycs on TMS.

  177. 0528 Commentary Aus 118-3  

    Another hostile maiden over from Anderson to Clarke, Australia are under the pump here.

  178. 0532 DRINKS BREAK Aus 124-3  

    Hussey is finally off the mark as he pushes Swann for a quick single through the covers. Clarke cuts past the diving Tremlett at backward point and they run three. Hussey gets forward well to push a two through cover, and umpire Aleem Dar calls on the drinks cart. We have 16 overs remaining today.

  179. SMS  

    From Kev, London: "Sorry Richard [0522] but I think you'll find that Khawaja with 37 & 21 has an average of 29. Clearly much more of a threat with the bat than Ponting."

  180. Commentary  

    From Matt, York, in the TMS inbox: "On this day in 871 AD England's King Alfred defeated the Danes at the Battle of Ashdown, on this day in 2011 AD England's King Strauss put the Australians to the sword in the Walkover of Sydney (hopefully...)"

  181. WICKET Clarke c Prior b Anderson 41 (Aus 124-4)  

    Right, Australia trail by 240 and it's eyes down for the final stretch of day four. And the drinks break has done the trick as Clarke falls prey to a lovely reverse-swinger from Jimmy A and feathers an edge to Prior behind the timbers!

  182. 0540 Commentary Aus 124-4  

    With Brad Haddin joining Mike Hussey at the crease, cynics (and those who are wondering what role Steve Smith is supposed to be fulfilling in\u00a0the Aussie team) may suggest that the last two recognised batsmen are at the crease. Anderson has 2-26 from nine overs, and the adoration of the Barmies.

  183. Commentary  

    From Martyn, in Hyderabad, in the TMS inbox: "Up at 4.30am in Hyderabad and loved the morning play.\u00a0After watching Swann smashing Johnson all over the SCG I had to grab a shower before the kids woke up.\u00a0Decided to celebrate with \u201cThe Sprinkler\u201d and knocked all the shampoo bottles of the shelf, waking the wife up which didn\u2019t go down well.\u00a0Things didn\u2019t improve when I questioned the need for all the bottles..."

  184. SMS  

    From Anonymous: "Another bowler for your team of bad runners has to be Glenn 'Pigeon' McGrath. His lanky frame put a fair few partnerships in trouble. Somewhat surprisingly though,\u00a0I believe Ponting has the run-out record in Tests."

    I can't confirm that - but I believe Inzy holds the record for having been run out the most times in ODIs...

  185. Twitter  

    From former England hero Andrew Flintoff: "That is unbelievable bowling. Trust me, hiding the ball, reversing it both ways and being so accurate is an amazing skill. Well done Jimmy!"

  186. 0543 Commentary Aus 126-4  

    Hussey nudges a two to leg, Swann is swiftly through his over and we're back with Jimmy A,\u00a0England's sultan of swing...

  187. 0547 Commentary Aus 130-4  

    Haddin is "all over the place" according to Aggers on TMS as he gropes helplessly at Anderson's reverse swing. The Aussie keeper finally gets off the mark with a clip for four off his legs.

  188. 0549 Commentary Aus 132-4  

    Hussey dabs a couple, Swann's right trouser-leg has a deep smear of red from shining the ball. Cap'n Strauss leaps full-length at short extra cover to keep Hussey where he is, and England are rattling through these overs here.

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

    "Swann's only got the occasional ball to turn, but he's keeping it quiet at his end because he knows the main threat is coming from the seamers."

  190. 0554 APPEAL - NOT OUT Aus 135-4  

    Haddin steers a two and a single, this pair - who enjoyed a mammoth partnership in Brisbane that feels so long ago - are both on seven. A loud appeal for a catch behind, Hussey stays his ground - do England go for the review? They decide against it - and just as well, as replays appear inconclusive, and Hussey would have got the benefit of any doubt.

  191. 0559 DROPPED CATCH Aus 140-4  

    Haddin is down the track, taking on Swann, there's a man at deep mid-on... but it's just out of the reach of the leaping Tim Bresnan and over his head for four. (A taller\u00a0player may have caught it - Tremlett? Steven Finn? Will Jefferson? Mohammad Irfan, that 7ft 1in Pakistan seamer?)\u00a0He then chops one into the covers, there's a really hard chance to the diving Bell at short cover - difficult, but still a chance, and he can't hold on.

  192. SMS  

    From Tom, Middlesbrough: "Unless they want to precipitate an absolute embarrassing collapse, the Aussies MUST bat big Mitch next. Smith's role in the team is as nothing more than a lucky spectator, on which note if England want to follow the strategy of having a spinner who can't make the ball turn and only makes single figure scores, can I throw my hat in the ring?"

    I don't think I could make it to Sydney in time to bat next... oh, I see, you mean Johnson...

  193. 0602 Commentary Aus 142-4  

    Anderson takes a rest after a marvellous spell (2-11 in seven overs) and Bresnan returns to the attack. A single from Hussey and a two from Haddin reduce the arrears and Australia now trail by 222.

  194. 0605 Commentary Aus 146-4  

    Hussey is watchful against Swann, although a short ball is punished by being pulled through square leg for four. The official close of play today is 0630 GMT, there are eight overs to be bowled after this one and they can continue until 0700 to bowl the overs if necessary - and it's not impossible that if three or\u00a0four wickets fall in the next eight overs, England could claim the extra half-hour on the grounds that they had a realistic chance of finishing the match tonight.

  195. 0608 Commentary Aus 149-4  

    Haddin\u00a0steers Bresnan for a well-run three with a textbook straight drive past non-striker Hussey, who then plays and misses at the Pontefract-born seamer.

  196. 0612 Commentary Aus 152-4  

    Steve Smith, next man in for Australia, is biting his nails on the Aussie balcony - as well he might. No sign of a nightwatchman. Haddin has quietly motored up to 19 by aggressively square-cutting Swann for three. Six overs left, and with the spinner on, we may not need much "overtime" for a change.

  197. WICKET Hussey c Pietersen b Bresnan 12 (161-5)  

    More runs for Haddin as he guides Bresnan through the covers for two, before another fluent drive through the same region brings him four. A leg bye rotates the strike, this pair have added 37 - but then it's bye bye Hussey as he cuts straight to gully!

  198. 0622 Commentary Aus 165-5  

    So, five down, how many do England need to take the extra half-hour? Six? Seven? Steve Smith, who doesn't appear to be in this side as a batsman or a bowler, is the new batsman - but he's the non-striker as Swann takes a well-deserved rest after a 23-over spell, and Tremlett returns. The Surrey man immediately has Haddin fishing at thin air outside off stump. A leg bye brings young Smith on strike, he knocks his first ball to cover for a single. Haddin prods forward, sends Smith back and he would have been run out at the bowler's end if the throw had hit... Haddin pushes a two past gully, and the Aussies now trail by under 200.

  199. SMS  

    From Ed in Oundle: "What an night this is, having followed and enjoyed every minute of your text commentary through the series and surely now a series win, I get a dream job offer in America for four months this summer!"

    Congratulations on the job - I hope you'll continue to follow us online in the States. And if you get starved of cricket, do give baseball a try!

  200. Commentary  

    From Alistair, Sydney,\u00a0 in the TMS inbox: "Just been forced to leave the SCG by my Aussie girlfriend after she endured 6 hours of being sat in the middle of the Barmy Army. Am going back with the lads tomorrow."

  201. 0628 Commentary Aus 171-5  

    Bresnan keeps it tight, Smith and Haddin nudge a single apiece before Smith laces the last ball of the over for four through extra cover. Three overs left tonight, Australia trail by 193.

  202. WICKET Haddin c Prior b Tremlett 30 (Aus 171-6)  

    Tremlett begins the antepenultimate over of the day, Haddin tries to get out of the way of a short ball, gets a nick and it steeples to Prior! Huge wicket!

  203. Twitter  

    From shortmidwicket: "Call me sentimental, but I'd stick on Collingwood now"

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

    "I've got a sneaky suspicion it's going to be bang-bang-bang and England are going to win it tonight! Claim that extra half-hour!"

  205. WICKET Johnson b Tremlett (Aus 171-7)  

    Mitchell Johnson bowled first ball as he tries to jam his bat down, Tremlett on a hat-trick!

  206. 0626 Commentary Aus 171-7  

    Peter Siddle is the new batsman, all the England supporters are on their feet and Tremlett is on a hat-trick. "If he's on the money here, it's out," says Michael Vaughan on TMS. Siddle's hit on the pad, the slips appeal... but the bowler doesn't. Dot ball. A double-wicket maiden from Tremlett, and Cap'n Strauss had a word with the umpires after Johnson's dismissal, will they claim the extra half-hour?

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

    On Twitter: "I hope nobody waking up to this scoreline is actually planning on leaving for work in the next few minutes."

  208. Commentary  

    From Adam, La Paz in the TMS inbox: "Re: Alistair 0628: surely your Aussie girlfriend can find her own way home (being a local and all). There might not be any cricket tomorrow with\u00a07 wickets down!"

  209. 0639 Commentary Aus 172-7  

    Two overs left - supposedly. "They were seven down at Edgbaston in 2005 and I took the extra half-hour," notes Michael Vaughan on TMS. Smith is on the defensive against Bresnan, he can't get the ball past Jonathan Trott at short extra cover. A wide advances Australia's score - not that it really matters - but Smith survives the over.

  210. Commentary  

    From Michael, Sheffield, in the TMS inbox: "Collingwood to get the last three catches, left hand, mid air, Superman like, followed by right hand while sitting down reading the paper, and last one in his mouth while waving at the Barmy Army!"

  211. 0645 Commentary Aus 176-7  

    Skipper Strauss chats with Ump Dar before Tremlett charges in for the last scheduled over. Siddle is doughty in defence, he plays and misses at one which seams past his outside edge. There are four slips, a gully and a short leg in for the Aussie tail-ender, who fishes at thin air to the fourth ball of the over. "That were too good for thee," I can hear Fred Trueman saying... The fifth ball trickles off an edge along the ground to gully, and Siddle flicks the last ball off his legs for four as Tremlett's radar momentarily strays. Umpires come together for a chat... and England have taken the extra half-hour. We'll have eight overs or half-an-hour, whichever is the later.

  212. Commentary  

    From C, Singapore, in the TMS inbox: "Hiding\u00a0from my boss in the toilet watching the text commentary with bated breath on my \u00a0mobile phone. Johnson wicket caused a big cheer, caused a bit of a shock\u00a0for the chap in the next cubicle, just hope it wasn\u2019t my boss."

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

    "Tremlett looks threatening with every ball, but I wonder whether they should try Swann from Bresnan's end, particularly to Siddle."

  214. 0648 Commentary Aus 176-7  

    Smith resumes defensive duties against Bresnan as Australia "try to delay the inevitable and take the game into a fifth day," says Simon Mann on TMS. Maiden over, seven overs remaining.

  215. 0653 Commentary Aus 181-7  

    Tremlett still has four slips, a gully and a short leg for Siddle, who is hit on the pad as he tries to flick the ball to leg. Roughly two-thirds of the slip cordon appeal, without much conviction. That's a nice stroke from Siddle, he drives one that jags back at him through the covers and they run three. Smith, with a slightly open stance, guides a single to mid-on. Six overs left tonight.

  216. 0656 Commentary Aus 181-7  

    The Barmy Army are in fine voice with their "Everywhere we go" song, led by "Jimmy Saville" as usual, as Siddle defends against Bresnan. He tries to force one off his legs... and it doesn't quite carry to Bell, who's fielding in a sort of shortish\u00a0backward square leg position. Five overs to go.

  217. Twitter  

    Injured England seamer Graham Onions: "How good are England?! The goal to be number one in the world was a distant memory, now we're demolishing the Aussies. Looking forward to Sri Lanka and India at home."

  218. 0701 Commentary Aus 191-7  

    Tremlett - "the pride of Otterbourne" according to a recent Hampshire local newspaper report, and I'm sure his parents are watching - runs in\u00a0to Smith, who hangs his bat out to steer a wideish ball for four. Tremlett oversteps for a no-ball, then Smith plays and misses at one that bounces twice in front of Prior who can't take it cleanly and they run a couple of byes. A single ensures Smith keeps the strike.

  219. 0705 Commentary Aus 198-7  

    A big roar from the England fans in the crowd as Anderson returns to the attack for a last two-over blast at the Aussie tail-enders. Smith steers a two off his legs, then slashes a four through third man - as I mentioned, the runs are largely irrelevant, it's all about whether England can whittle out these last three wickets\u00a0in the next three overs\u00a0or whether we'll all be back for day five.

  220. 0708 Commentary Aus 198-7  

    The Otterbourne Enforcer takes a rest and England turn to Graeme Swann, who has three predatory close fielders round the bat for Smith. You sense that England may just have run out of juice tonight - it's been a marathon day with an extended start and an extended finish - and as Swann completes a maiden, we have two overs left. England need to take two wickets in the penultimate over if they're going to win it tonight - as if a wicket falls in the last over, they'll go off immediately.

  221. Commentary  

    From Roger, Brazil, in the TMS inbox: "Man presumably still in cubicle avoiding his boss...well...am in Brazil under mosquito net in dark with wife asleep whilst Blackberry provides info downloads on England success - worried about how I should react if victory comes! I think she will not be asleep for too long."

  222. 0712 Commentary Aus 208-7  

    Siddle chops Anderson for four, that's 200 up for Australia (like that matters!), before angling a two to third man. Siddle keeps out the fifth ball of the over, so we'll be back tonight. He edges the last ball over the slips for four, and we've got one more over in the day.

  223. 0715 CLOSE OF PLAY Aus 213-7  

    Although Geoff Boycott wants England to bring on Kevin Pietersen to toss the ball up, England will conclude day four's proceedings with Graeme Swann's orthodox off-spin. With close fielders surrounding the bat, Smith punches a four through the vacant cover region - this pair have somehow put on 41! Siddle defends the last ball of the day and walks off - that's the close of play and as Aggers notes on TMS tomorrow, unless the heavens open with rain tomorrow, England should wrap up a series victory.

  224. 0718 Commentary  

    If you're just waking up, the situation is that England need to take three wickets to win the final Test and win the Ashes series 3-1. Australia are seven down in their second innings, still needing to score 151 more to make England bat again. And you may not have heard, but before play Paul Collingwood announced his retirement from Test cricket, although he'll continue to play ODIs and captain the T20 side.

  225. BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at the SCG
    Contributor BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce at the SCG  

    On Twitter: "Just heard that entrance at SCG on Fri will be free. Repeat - you can watch history for free. As Tony Greig might say, there'll be a portee."

  226. Commentary  

    From Roger Talbot, Phuket, TMS inbox: "Hope Colly gets to lead the team out in the morning. A deserved honour for one of the gutsy brigade."

  227. Commentary  

    England wicketkeeper Matt Prior: "Started off in the series with not much luck, ended up with a whole lot of it. I've said all series I've been playing well, I just needed something to go my way and fortunately this time it happened. The Ashes are coming home, just really, really chuffed."

  228. 0731 Commentary  

    As Aggers and Boycs review the day's play, which will be available on the TMS podcasts page a little later, it's time to wrap things up on the live text after a mere nine hours or so! Rather strangely, day five's play will start at 2303 GMT tonight - Test Match Special will be on air from 2245 (don't forget the Ashes special on BBC Radio 5 live at 1930), and I'll be here to kick the live text off from about 2230.

    Thanks for your company (and for all your emails and texts), especially if you've stayed up through the night with us - the usual assortment of columns and blogs will follow on the website. Make sure you join us tonight - you REALLY don't want to miss this one - and hopefully England can do the business quickly enough so you can still get a decent night's sleep! TTFN.



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Live Scores - Australia v England

 

  • England beat Australia by an innings and 83 runs
  • Australia: 280 & 281 (84.4 overs)
  • England: 644 (177.5 overs)
  • Venue: Sydney

Australia 2nd Innings

All out
Player outReason Bowledby Runs
Total all out 281
Watson run out (Pietersen) 38
Hughes c Prior b Bresnan 13
Khawaja c Prior b Anderson 21
Clarke c Prior b Anderson 41
Hussey c Pietersen b Bresnan 12
Haddin c Prior b Tremlett 30
Smith not out 54
Johnson b Tremlett 0
Siddle c Anderson b Swann 43
Hilfenhaus c Prior b Anderson 7
Beer b Tremlett 2
Extras 2nb 3w 11b 4lb 20


see also
Fifth Ashes Test in photos
06 Jan 11 |  England
Collingwood ends his Test career
05 Jan 11 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
05 Jan 11 |  England
Clarke backs Hughes in cheat row
05 Jan 11 |  Australia
Cook glad to end 'lonely' summer
05 Jan 11 |  England
Cook and Bell make Aussies suffer
05 Jan 11 |  England
Justin Langer column
05 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Wednesday's Ashes gossip column
05 Jan 11 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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