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   Friday, 27 December, 2002, 07:25 GMT
Langer epic lifts Australia
Justin Langer
Langer struck his highest Test score
4th Test, Melbourne, day two, (close): Australia 551-6 dec. v England 97-3

Justin Langer hit a mammoth double century as England were again made to suffer on day two of the fourth Test in Melbourne.

The opener's 250 formed the cornerstone of Australia's daunting 551 for six declared.

England traded blows with a fired-up Aussie attack in an intense evening session, losing wickets at regular intervals before limping to 97 for three at stumps.

There was controversy when England captain Nasser Hussain stood his ground and was adjudged not out after Jason Gillespie claimed to catch him.

And England fast bowler Andy Caddick was reported to the match referee for an alleged show of dissent after he was no-balled during the morning session.

Langer's classic knock was his highest Test score and the best by an Australian against England since Bob Cowper's 307 at the same ground in 1966.

Steve Waugh
Waugh's prayers for a century went unanswered

He was at the crease for almost 10 hours, hitting 30 boundaries in an innings of unwavering concentration.

After sharing 195 runs with Matt Hayden on day one, Langer enjoyed century stands with Steve Waugh and Martin Love, who hit an unbeaten 62 on his debut.

There was no fairytale century for the under-fire Aussie skipper as he added just 15 runs before falling to Craig White for 77.

Waugh's was the only wicket to fall in a morning session that saw Australia add 89 runs to their overnight 356 for three.

England started the day needing a tune out of their new-ball pair but instead played host to a comical game of musical chairs.

Unhappy after just one over at the Southern end, Andy Caddick uprooted Steve Harmison with Craig White filling in for one over.

Persisted

White may as well have stayed on as Caddick persisted with a length too short to threaten.

Harmison continued to operate well, but it was only when he was exchanged for White that England had cause for celebration.

White, England's best on offer on Thursday, wheedled a faint outside edge from Waugh which James Foster gloved for his first Ashes dismissal.

But any chance England had of pegging Australia back was blown when Vaughan dropped both Langer and Love in the afternoon session.

Marcus Trescothick hits out
Trescothick blazed away but fell to Lee's pace

The Yorkshireman's blunder at Gully to reprieve Love was childlike, while the tougher chance off Langer granted the batsman the single that saw him surpass the 223 he scored against India in 2000.

The opener eventually fell to a lazy top-edge off Richard Dawson, and Waugh called time after Adam Gilchrist had sacrificed his wicket for the cause.

Vaughan's bad day got worse when he was conned by Glenn McGrath, playing on with unsure footwork after being softened up with short bowling the previous over.

Marcus Trescothick guided England past fifty with some meaty shots, but succumbed to the pace of Brett Lee and gloved to Gilchrist.

Hussain then chipped to Gillespie and the match stopped for close to five minutes as third umpire Darrell Hair deliberated before siding with the batsman.

But the ledger was swifty settled when Gillespie trapped Mark Butcher lbw, despite the left-hander clearly getting an inside edge.

Hussain and nightwatchman Dawson saw out the remaining overs, but a baying Aussie attack awaits on Saturday.


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 cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
"England were clinging on frantically at the end"
 England coach Duncan Fletcher
"We need a couple of big partnerships"
 Australia's Justin Langer:
"It was my most memorable innings"
All the reports from the Test match

Day five

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Day two

Day one

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