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   Thursday, 26 December, 2002, 07:32 GMT
England battered on Boxing Day
Justin Langer
Langer batted throughout the day in a brave showing
4th Test, Melbourne, day one, (close): Australia 356-3 v England

England's lightweight attack suffered a pummelling on Boxing Day as Australia dominated the first day of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne.

Openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden struck centuries to launch Australia's assault, but a return to form by Steve Waugh stole the show.

The Aussie captain scored an unbeaten 62 to hit back at growing calls within Australia for his retirement.

His partnership with Langer (146 not out) was unbroken on 91 at stumps, the pair guiding Australia to the highest total ever on the first day at the MCG.

England made three changes to their line-up, the most notable of which was the inclusion of wicket-keeper James Foster after Alec Stewart failed to recover from a hand injury.

Experienced paceman Andy Caddick returned to the line-up, but so too did batsman John Crawley and England were left with just four recognised bowlers.

Leg-spinner Stuart MacGill came in for the injured Shane Warne, while Australia handed a Test debut to Martin Love following the withdrawal of Darren Lehmann.

But the Queendslander, who has scored two double hundreds against England this winter in tour games, did not leave the dressing room.

Langer and Hayden put on 195 runs after Australia won the toss, the eighth time in 25 Tests they have shared 100 or more.

Matthew Hayden
Hayden celebrates his 12th Test ton

Hayden fell soon after securing his 12th Test ton, but Langer capitalised on his first century of the series to bat through the day.

On a dry wicket, England battled without reward in the opening session but Australia were relatively circumspect for their 88 runs.

Hayden was easily the more imposing of the openers, reaching his half-century before the break while Langer scratched around uneasily.

But the pair stepped up a gear after lunch, clubbing 95 runs off the first 13 overs as Hussain found himself bereft of options.

Ricky Ponting is dismissed
White bowled Ponting to grab his first scalp

Langer came into his own to take three boundaries in four balls off the ineffective spin of Dawson.

Hayden hit three massive sixes and 10 fours - almost exclusively to the on-side.

But he paid for his ambition when playing across the line once too often to Caddick, top-edging to John Crawley at mid-off.

Craig White, the pick of England's bowlers, struck a blow just before tea when Ricky Ponting played on.

White then hoodwinked Damien Martyn into a lazy drive that he edged to first slip, bringing Waugh to the crease 17 years to the day after his Test debut.

The admirable Harmison, who bowled with heart all day, was called into action to pepper Waugh with short-balls.

He did so but without success, and Hussain was forced to call on the services of part-time bowler Mark Butcher whom the Australia captain devoured.

Waugh raced to his 50 at almost a run a ball, leaving England to wonder how they will dismiss Waugh in Melbourne for the first time since 1990.


Australia: Steve Waugh (capt), Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn, Martin Love, Adam Gilchrist, Stuart MacGill, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath.

England: Nasser Hussain (capt), Marcus Trescothick, Michael Vaughan, Mark Butcher, Robert Key, John Crawley, James Foster, Craig White, Richard Dawson, Andrew Caddick, Steve Harmison.

Umpires: Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Dave Orchard.

Match referee: Wasim Raja.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Jonathan Agnew
"Ruthless batting by the Australians"
 Australia batsman Matthew Hayden
"We really found our momentum after lunch"
 England assistant coach Graham Dilley
"I think we bowled pretty well"
All the reports from the Test match

Day five

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Day one

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