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   Saturday, 28 December, 2002, 07:33 GMT
Vaughan fights for England cause
Craig White
White's unbeaten 85 could not prevent the follow-on
4th Test, Melbourne, day three (close): Australia 551-6 dec; England 270 & 111-2

England were fighting valiantly to avoid an unprecedented third successive innings defeat in the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne.

A rearguard action led by Michael Vaughan saw England reach 111 for two in their second innings after being forced to follow on.

Their first dig was stopped on 270 despite Craig White's excellent 85 not out, his highest score against Australia.

Stuart MacGill celebrates a wicket
MacGill (right) found some pronounced turn

White, who batted with injured ribs that could force him out of the fifth Test, found willing partners hard to come by as he tried to carry England past the follow-on mark.

But he at least gave his team-mates a lead to follow next time around.

Vaughan took that lead to be unbeaten on 55, breaking Dennis Amiss' England record for most runs in a calendar year.

Two more runs on day four will see his 2002 tally reach 1393 and overtake Sachin Tendulkar as the year's most prolific run-scorer.

It would be fitting if the Yorkshireman could end a stellar year with a match-saving knock.

But with 170 runs still needed to make Australia bat again, England face a tough task on a deck that is increasingly taking to turn.

I think tomorrow could be a tough day for the English team

Australia's Stuart MacGill

Marcus Trescothick fell to leg-spinner Stuart MacGill, adjudged lbw rather unluckily with the ball appearing to strike him outside the line of off-stump.

Mark Butcher scratched around for six before returning to the dressing room thanks to a superb catch by Martin Love at first slip.

And Nasser Hussain looked fortunate not to be out stumped in the dying overs when he misjudged an attempted sweep off MacGill and was given the benefit of the doubt by the third umpire.

MacGill was bowled heavily throughout the day, starting proceedings with Brett Lee and taking a hand as England lost three wickets for seven runs in the first half hour.

The leg-spinner struck first when night-watchman Richard Dawson offered a first Test catch to Love, who looks to have slotted into the massive catching void left by Mark Waugh.

Marcus Trescothick
Trescothick played some fine shots before falling

Lee got into the act the following over, turning Rob Key inside out with a delightful inswinging yorker that struck him in front of his stumps.

Australia were indebted to Matt Hayden for the next wicket, the fielder diving from short-leg to spoon a catch after Hussain fluffed a sweep not for the first time.

England were shell-shocked but White refused to batten down the hatches, driving Glenn McGrath for four and launching MacGill for three huge sixes.

Contrived

He and John Crawley brought up the fifty partnership, but the latter contrived to let the team down badly.

Two balls into Gillespie's first spell, Crawley pulled wildly at a good-length ball and succeeded only in giving Justin Langer an easy catch.

It ended a promising stand, but James Foster lingered for 76 balls and as many minutes to provide White with some support.

Steve Waugh brought himself on and he took his first Test wicket since 1998, but there were leg-side issues in the lbw decision despite Foster retreating into his crease.

Gillespie, who returned four for 25, then finished off the tail to deny White the chance to post a deserved century.


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: Russell Tiffin, Dave Orchard.

Match referee: Wasim Raja.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
"England's tail was swept away"
 England's Craig White
"It was a very tough day for us"
 Australia's Stuart MacGill
"The wicket suits me"
All the reports from the Test match

Day five

Day four

Day three

Day two

Day one

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Links to more The Ashes stories are at the foot of the page.


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