Tuesday 28 December 2010 

England On The Brink Of Retaining The Ashes

England On The Brink Of Retaining The Ashes
England On The Brink Of Retaining The Ashes
© Action Images/ Jason O'Brien Livepic
 

Australia 98 & 169-6 (Bresnan 3-26) v
England 513 (Trott 168no, Prior 85, Siddle 6-75)
Fourth Ashes Test, Melbourne, day three

England will go into the fourth day of the fourth Ashes Test match in Melbourne needing just four Australian wickets to retain the Ashes after they enjoyed another day of bossing their hosts at the M.C.G.

Jonathan Trott's unbeaten 168 guided England to 513 all out - in reply to Australia's 98 - and the bowlers then reduced the home side to 169 for six by stumps, still 246 runs behind.

Trott now has three Ashes centuries but Matthew Prior fell early in the day 15 short of what would have been his maiden Ashes ton when he was caught by Ricky Ponting off Peter Siddle.

The two had put on 173 together - more runs than the Australian top order could manage in both innings - but following the breakthrough, England's lower order failed to stick around, only Graeme Swann (22), offering Trott much support as Siddle returned six for 75 and Ben Hilfenhaus doubled his wicket tally for the series by having Swann caught behind and bowling James Anderson.

There was more concern for Ryan Harris when he left the field with an injured ankle and scans later revealed a stress fracture which will probably require surgery and preclude him from batting unless overnight batsmen Brad Haddin (11) and Mitchell Johnson (6) produce some history of their own.

Australia's second innings - underway in the daunting position of some 415 runs behind - got off to a solid start with openers Phillip Hughes (23) and Shane Watson (54) putting on 53 before some poor calling ended in Hughes' run out.

Bresnan then removed Watson, Ponting (20) and Michael Hussey (0) with an unplayable spell of bowling as he returned three for 26 to virtually end any chance Australia had - as slim as it was in any case - of saving the match.

Swann then had Michael Clarke caught by Andrew Strauss for 13 and Anderson bowled Steve Smith for 38 shortly before the close to confirm another day of English dominance.

On , they dismissed Australia for 98 and then raced to 157 without loss in reply before closing the second day on 444 for five after Trott's century and half-centuries from Alastair Cook, Strauss and Pietersen.

As if the match situation wasn't bad enough for Australia, captain Ponting was also fined 40 percent of his match fee following a prolonged discussion with the umpires following a decision review.

The five-match series is level at 1-1 following a draw in Brisbane, an innings win for England in Adelaide and a 267-run win for Australia in Perth.

As England hold the Ashes following a 2-1 series win in 2009, they only need to draw the series to retain the urn.

© Cricket World 2010

Watch the Ashes live on Sky Sports: click here to find out more