England Collapse As Australia Regain Control
Australia closed day three of the fourth Ashes Test against Australia in Melbourne on 30 without loss in their second innings after earlier bowling out the tourists for 179.
Nathon Lyon (5-50) picked up his first five-wicket haul of the series as Australia assumed total control of the fourth Test.
England, who began day three with a lead of 91, would have harboured hopes of putting themselves into an impregnable position by stumps. But, as has been the case so often in this series, the tourists failed to capitalise on a great platform and were blown away, leaving Australia on course for a fourth successive win of the series.
Resuming Day three on 164 for nine, the in-form Brad Haddin and number 11 Lyon hung around for 45 minutes and added an extra 40 runs to their overnight score. Haddin. who has been a model of consistency in this series reached his 50 before being caught behind by Johnny Bairstow off the bowling of James Anderson.
With a first innings lead of 51 under their belt the platform was there for England to put the game beyond Australia; indeed captain Alastair Cook played in a very positive fashion scoring 51 from just 65 balls.
Cook and his opening partner Michael Carberry put on 65 for the first-wicket and for the first time in the series the Australians appeared to be under some considerable pressure.
Cook, however, was removed LBW by Mitchell Johnson just after lunch and yet another woeful collapsed for England ensued as they lost three wickets in the space of six balls between lunch and tea.
Kevin Pietersen, who was England’s top scorer in the first innings, did offer some resistance but when he was caught on the long-off boundary by Ryan Harris of the bowling of Lyon England were always going to struggle to post a competitive score.
Lyon reaped the rewards of the hostile bowling from Australia’s pace bowlers and his accurate bowling and tight lines earned him his five-wicket haul. Meanwhile Johnson backed up another fine spell of bowling (3-25) with some electric fielding as he ran out Joe Root (15) with a direct hit and caught Ian Bell for a golden duck.
Australia reached the close of play on 30 for none with a minimum of fuss and barring an extraordinary fightback from England or a dramatic collapse by the hosts, Michael Clarke’s men are now the favourites to take a 4-0 lead sometime tomorrow.
© Cricket World 2013