Ashes: Australia vs England fourth Test – Day 4 cricket live scores
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David Warner's resurgence has been a team effort. (AFP PHOTO / Patrick Hamilton)
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Australia v England
MELBOURNE CRICKET GROUND, DECEMBER 26-30, 2013
4th Test - AUS v ENG
|England 1st Inn||255 All Out|
|Australia 1st Inn||204 All Out|
|England 2nd Inn||179 All Out|
|Australia 2nd Inn||2/231|
|Australia won the toss and elected to bowl|
|Australia won by 8 wickets|
|1 . . . . . |||2 . 4 . 1 . |||. 1 1 . 2 ||
|Last Wicket:||Rogers, 116 (c:Bairstow b:Panesar)|
|Current Partnership:||31 runs, 36 balls, RR:86.11|
It has been a match of collapses and Australia need to only avoid one on the fourth day to seal a 4-0 lead over England in the Ashes 2013-14 series at the MCG.
England went from 4/202 to 255 all out in the first innings. This was followed by Australia capitulating from 3/110 to stumble to 9/164 before help came in form of a 40-run stand for the final wicket.
And on the third day, England frittered away another decent start to collapse twice in the innings. At one stage they were 1/86 and stumbled to 4/87.
The recovery came through Kevin Pietersen, who made 49 and a couple of starts for Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, but yet again, they lost wickets in a cluster.
Having gotten themselves to 5/173, an inexplicable range of shots from the rest of the batsmen had them bowled out for 179.
And before you wonder, it is not a pitch that should fill the batsmen with terror.
Unlike Brisbane, this one does not have uneven bounce and swing. And unlike Perth, there are no cracks that the bowlers can take advantage of.
It is touch on the slower side which is an excuse that can be used for slower run-rates, but for both teams to lose their wickets in such a hurry is difficult to comprehend.
The scores have also reduced with each innings. England scored 255 in the first dig before Australia replied with their 204. In the second essay, England made only 179.
Which this near-arithmetic progression does suggest that Australia could be in for a dog-fight going into the fourth day of the game, they are only 201 runs away from achieving the target.
And unless England can come up with their best bowling of this series, they can kiss their chances of remaining in the contest a goodbye.
One theory on why the runs haven’t come on this decent batting pitch is that it’s on the slower side.
This means that once the new ball loses its shine, scoring becomes that much more difficult, especially if the captains set fields not too different from the ones in the middle overs of an ODI – especially before the times of starting with two new balls.
The wickets have come because of the frustration emanating out of going scoreless for long periods of time.
And what seems to have done almost every batsman in has been all the talks of being positive when at the wicket – more than anything, it’s been its interpretation.
For instance, in the Australian first innings, David Warner’s attempt at being positive on this slow pitch to attempt cross-batted strokes very early in the knock.
On the third day, Ian Bell gave himself no time to settle down, he played it straight alright but tried to slam it without getting used to the pace of the pitch and holed out.
There can, obviously, be no fixed formula on how to make the most on this pitch, but unlike Perth or Brisbane, this isn’t one of those in which the batsmen will definitely get one or the other ball that will dismiss you.
If the batsmen have the patience, they can carry on batting for long periods without a lot of fear and that’s what most Australian batsmen – barring someone like Warner – could probably need to do.
The other option will be to look to score as many as possible till the ball remains new and then take it from there but the again it’s a matter of taking that much more risk.
One way or the other, it looks like we could be in for an enthralling contest that would be decided tomorrow.
Join me for the fourth day of the fourth Ashes 2013-14 Test with live scores of this game from 10.30am AEDT.