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Australia seize initiative on eventful day

By Matthew Sherry

Australia were in position to move 4-0 ahead in the Ashes after an England collapse left a victory target of just 231 at the MCG, albeit the hosts will have to make more than in their first innings to win.

Having dismissed Australia for 204 to claim a 51-run advantage, the tourists initially looked set to build a commanding lead as Alastair Cook struck 51. But after the skipper was trapped plumb lbw by Mitchell Johnson, England lost wickets with regularity.

Michael Carberry was also pinned in front, Peter Siddle the successful bowler, and Johnson ran out Joe Root with a brilliant direct hit before Ian Bell chipped Nathan Lyon straight to mid-off. Kevin Pietersen played well amid Lyon having Ben Stokes held at mid-on and Jonny Bairstow edging Johnson behind.

However, Lyon ousting Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad in the same over left Pietersen with little choice but to attack. His endeavour ultimately brought the spinner a fifth wicket – the batsman holed out to long-off – before Johnson ended England’s innings on 179 by trapping Monty Panesar lbw.

Australia subsequently had little trouble reaching 30 without loss as Chris Rogers and David Warner looked in fine fettle.

At the start of the day, Brad Haddin, who struck 65, and Lyon put on a frustrating 40-run stand for the last wicket before James Anderson had the former caught on the pull to end with figures of 4-67.

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Evening Session

Watch highlights of the evening session from the MCG

Australia 2nd Innings 

7am - STUMPS! Australia 30/0; Rogers 18, Warner 12 - Australia reach stumps without alarm and will require a further 201 for victory tomorrow.

6.53am - Warner clearly isn't playing for stumps. With Monty Panesar into the attack, he advances and whips four over midwicket.

6.41am - A three followed by an all-run four, one of the great cricketing feats, gets David Warner moving. It's fair to say Australia are looking to attack in this little period.

6.27am - The first over, sent down by James Anderson, brings just two runs, from the bat of Chris Rogers.

England 2nd Innings

6.13am - WICKET! Panesar lbw Johnson 0; England 179 all out - Johnson traps Monty Panesar plumb in front to bring an end to England's innings. Australia require 231 to win and move 4-0 ahead in the series.

6.03am - WICKET! Pietersen c Harris b Lyon 49; England 179/9 - Pietersen, who had little choice but to attack, hits Harris straight down long-off's throat. Lyon has five.

5.53am - WICKET! Broad c Clarke b Lyon 0; England 174/8 - Lyon grabs his second wicket of the over and 100th in Tests as Stuart Broad edges to slip.

5.49am - WICKET! Bresnan b Lyon 0; England 174/7 - Tim Bresnan misses an attempted pull off Lyon and is bowled. England's lead stands at 225.

5.32am - WICKET! Bairstow c Haddin b Johnson 21; England 173/6 - Bairstow's cameo comes to an end as he edges a flat-footed drive behind. Johnson has a second scalp and seventh in the match.

5.07am - Two top, top shots from Pietersen as he powerfully pulls and drives Siddle to the fence. In the following over, Jonny Bairstow crunches Lyon over long-on for another six and sweeps four.

4.58am - MISSED CHANCE! - Pietersen edges one just short of slip and for four before seeing George Bailey get his fingertips to a chance - although I am not sure you can even call it that - at midwicket.

4.45am - WICKET! Stokes c Smith b Lyon 19; England 131/5 - A wicket comes at the worst possible time for England, Ben Stokes hitting Nathan Lyon straight to mid-off.

4.33am - Glorious stroke from Kevin Pietersen, who stands tall and crunches Peter Siddle to the point boundary.

Afternoon Session

Watch highlights of the afternoon session from the MCG

4.11am - TEA! England 115/4; Pietersen 14, Stokes 13 - Pietersen and Stokes look up for the fight here in the face of some fine bowling. They will need to show similar spirit after the interval.

3.37am - Kevin Pietersen and Ben Stokes have a boundary apiece, the former driving straight off Lyon and the latter pulling Siddle.

3.15am - WICKET! Bell c Johnson b Lyon 0; England 86/4 - Things go from bad to worse as Ian Bell chips Nathan Lyon straight to mid-off to fall for a golden duck.

3.12am - WICKET! Root run out Johnson 15; England 86/3 - You cannot keep Johnson out of the game. Root sets off for a quick single and, despite a dive, is short as Mitch delivers a direct hit from mid-off.

3.05am - WICKET! Carberry lbw Siddle 12; England 86/2 - Australia have a second as Siddle, bowling around the wicket, traps Michael Carberry lbw.

3.03am - Root picks up his first boundary, guiding Peter Siddle through third man.

2.37am - REVIEW! - Johnson thought he had two in three balls after umpire Aleem Dar raised the finger for a Joe Root caught-behind. However, technology showed no edge so the batsman remains.

2.34am - WICKET! Cook lbw Johnson 51; England 65/1 - The captain's excellent innings comes to an end as he plays all around a straight one from Johnson, opting not to review.

2.23am - FIFTY! Cook (60b 7x4 0x6) - Well, Alastair Cook has picked up where he left off - driving Shane Watson for two boundaries through point in an over to move to 50.

2.18am - Mitchell Johnson is on for a burst after lunch. This will be a key period for England to get through.

Morning Session

Watch highlights of the morning session from the MCG

1.31am - LUNCH! England 54/0; Cook 41, Carberry 5 - England reach the interval unscathed, although Carberry can count himself lucky after an edge off Watson fell just short of slip. The tourists, though, are in a strong position.

1.17am - Carberry gets his first boundary, powerfully cutting Shane Watson through point for four.

1.05am - Amid his partner's flurry of runs, Carberry has one off 31 deliveries. He will be targeting a big score following a series of unfulfilled starts in this series thus far.

12.52am - Cook continues to prosper via a positive approach as he late-cuts and drives Nathan Lyon to the fence.

12.37am - Cook is looking in particularly good touch early on, driving Harris down the ground for four.

12.26am - Positive start from Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry as seven runs come from the first over, bowled by Ryan Harris.

Australia 1st Innings 

12.13am - WICKET! Haddin c Bairstow b Anderson 65; Australia 204 all out - England secure a 51-run lead as Haddin top-edges an aborted pull and Jonny Bairstow claims a simple catch.

12.08am - They have enjoyed some good fortune but Haddin and Lyon continue to prosper. It's all very frustrating.

11.50am - FIFTY! Haddin (59b 6x4 1x6) - Haddin reaches yet another half-century via a single to mid-on.

11.44am - Frustration for England and Anderson as Nathan Lyon edges through the slips and to the boundary.

11.33am - Stuart Broad and James Anderson have been given the first crack. They start with an impressive over apiece, the latter featuring an edged Brad Haddin four that fell just short of first slip.

Pre-Play News

11.26am - Brad Haddin, who's having a fine series and will resume on 43, holds the key for Australia. The hosts are 164 for nine, still 91 behind.

11.15am - Hello and welcome to's live coverage of the fourth Ashes Test at Melbourne. The aim for England on day three is simple: grab an early wicket and then get runs, runs and more runs.

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