The Reuters global sports blog
England gave the perfect response to those who had written them off after the 267-run drubbing in Perth with a day of absolute dominance in front of 84,345 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.
The first day of the “Boxing Day” test at the MCG is one of the great fixtures on the Australian sporting calendar but Andrew Strauss and his team were superior in every area of play to skittle the hosts for 98 runs and reach 157 without loss at the close of play on day one of the fourth Ashes test.
Without a doubt, writing off either of these teams in this closest of test series was a mistake and the momentum is now firmly back in the tourists’ camp.
Mick Tsikas’s picture shows the excellent James Anderson celebrating the cheap dismissal of Mike Hussey, Australia’s totemic batsman in this series so far, along with skipper Andrew Strauss.
Australia skipper Ricky Ponting failed for the fourth time in five innings in the current Ashes series as the hosts struggled to 179-6 at tea on the first day of the third test against England.
His captaincy may be under threat but with his team mates (Mike Hussey excepted) also failing at the crease, his place as a batsman looks safe for a while now.
I’m still unsure as to whether England’s first innings total of 425 is a good score on what is essentially still a flat Lord’s track, but with Australia 156 for 8 at the close of play on the second the home side can be proud of their efforts so far.
Australia took just 11 overs of the morning session on day two to polish off England’s tail, as Andrew Strauss, unbeaten on 161 overnight, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad, provided little resistance to some good swing bowling by Ben Hilfenhaus.
I am probably not the only one arriving at work today with fingers gnawed to the bone following England’s nail-biting escape in the first Ashes test in a stunning finale in Cardiff, capping a memorable opening match to the series.
Despite near domination for five days, Australia failed to capitalise on early England wickets on the final day as the Three Lions’ tail wagged heroically to secure a draw from the jaws of defeat against the old enemy.
When England nightwatchman James Anderson smashed West Indies seamer Lionel Baker for four late on the first day of the second test he extended one of the more surprising records in test cricket.
The fast bowler has now played 48 test innings without being dismissed for a duck, three more than his nearest rival Yasir Hameed of Pakistan.