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   Thursday, 2 January, 2003, 07:36 GMT
Aussies fight back after Butcher ton
Brett Lee is ecstatic after removing Vaughan for a duck
Brett Lee removes Michael Vaughan for a duck
Final Ashes Test, Sydney, day one, stumps. England 264-5

England failed to make the most of a superb 166-run stand between centurion Mark Butcher and captain Nasser Hussain as Australia took three late wickets in the final Test.

The tourists slumped from a healthy 198 for two to 240 for five and were left clinging on at the close on day one as a rampant Brett Lee ran in with the second new ball.

He had finally removed Butcher for 124 with just five overs remaining.

The Surrey man was dropped on 13 and 43 before getting a lucky decision on 95 to reach his second highest score in Test matches.

But it was left to a watchful John Crawley and a much more confident Alec Stewart, playing despite suffering from chicken pox, to see out the remaining overs.

N Hussain
Hussain found his best form of the series

A tiring Jason Gillespie was convinced he had Crawley caught in the gully off the glove for three one ball after Lee sent back Butcher.

But umpire Dave Orchard indicated the ball hit the batsman's wrist and England were thankful not to be six down at the close.

Butcher's innings was the obvious cornerstone of the England innings.

He was particularly impressive through the off-side with spinner Stuart MacGill frequently suffering at the Surrey man's expense.

Butcher survived his first chance when Damien Martyn failed to take a diving catch in the slips off Andy Bichel.

But he really should have been held by Adam Gilchrist, when the Aussie gloveman failed to take a routine edge off Gillespie.

MacGill, who was mainly unimpressive, was unlucky when an under-edge onto Butcher's pad, which ballooned to silly point, went unspotted by umpire Orchard.

At that point Butcher was five runs shy of what became his sixth Test century.

Hussain, meanwhile, was on six when MacGill put down the simplest of caught-and-bowled chances.

Fine pulling

He made the Aussies pay, and the highlight of the second session was some fine pulling off Lee and Andy Bichel by the England captain on his way to 75.

At the start of the day, the ball swung around viciously with Lee unplayable at times.

Michael Vaughan, so brilliant at the MCG, fell for a duck when he edged a swinging half-volley into Gilchrist's gloves as an ecstatic Lee celebrated.

And with the score on 32, Marcus Trescothick followed him back to the pavilion after edging Bichel to Gilchirst.

Australia: SR Waugh (capt), JL Langer, ML Hayden, RT Ponting, DR Martyn, ML Love, AC Gilchrist (wkt), SCG MacGill, JN Gillespie, AJ Bichel, B Lee.

England: N Hussain (capt), ME Trescothick , MP Vaughan, MA Butcher, JP Crawley, RWT Key, AJ Stewart (wkt), AR Caddick, MJ Hoggard, SJ Harmison, RKJ Dawson.

Umpires: DL Orchard (SA) & RB Tiffin (Zim)

3rd Umpire: S Taufel

Match referee: Wasim Raja (Pak)

 BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
"It's crucial England score as many runs as possible"
 England's Mark Butcher
"Things went well for me"
 Australia coach John Buchanan
"It is evenly balanced"

Five-day forecast for MelbourneAshes weather
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All the reports from the Test match

Day five

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Day two

Day one


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