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ENGLAND retained The Ashes with one Test match to remaining in the series after annihilating Australia in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (M.C.G.).

The tourists once again won the toss and England Captain Andrew Strauss once again elected to field. This would allow James Anderson a chance to bowl again after suffering a side strain, and it also meant that under fire Aussie Captain Ricky Ponting would have to bat much sooner in the game with his fractured left little finger.

Opener Shane Watson should have been out twice before he scored his first run but his luck was in. Well it seemed so anyway until he was caught by Kevin Pietersen (who almost caught him out earlier) off Chris Tremlett for just 5. Ponting then fell to Tremlett for yet another cheap score.

The end of Ponting? He is not playing in the fifth Test. Form, injury or is his time is up?

Anderson soon claimed the vital wicket of Michael Hussey when he had just scored 8. This was the first time in the series that Hussey was out for a score of below 50.

Anderson seems to be quite popular for getting Hussey out for 8.

With Philip Hughes also out (just before Ponting was) Australia were in trouble at 58-4 and things didn’t get any better. England managed to bowl Australia out for just 98 😮 (their lowest Ashes total at the M.C.G.) in 42.5 overs before Tea. All of the ten Aussie wickets were caught behind the wicket with keeper Matt Prior taking six catches.

Before the close of play on day one England’s openers, Strauss and Alastair Cook had taken England’s total to an impressive 157-0, a lead of 59 runs. Even at this point in the Test match I was 100% certain of an England win. No Test match had been won by the team who had been bowled out for under 100 in the first innings since 1907.

Strauss and Cook both feel early on day two and this brought Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen to the crease. Then came perhaps the most controversial incident of the series so far. When Pietersen was on 49 he appeared to edge the ball to Aussie wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. Umpire Aleem Dar said Pietersen was not out but Australia asked for a review of the decision. Dar’s decision was upheld by the third umpire but Ponting continued to argue with both on pitch umpires for Pietersen’s dismissal. Ponting was later fined 40% of his match fee. Even schoolboys know not to argue with the umpire. Seriously Ricky group up.

The last actions of a desperate man?

Unfortunately Pietersen was out after he added just two more runs to his total and was quickly followed back to the pavilion by Paul Collingwood (8) and Ian Bell (1) who got themselves out to identical shots. Matt Prior was also caught out but somebody up there obviously likes him because the delivery was a no-ball which allowed him to remain that the crease and go on to make 85.

When your lucks in...

England were eventually all out for 513, a lead of 415 runs. Peter Siddle had taken six England wickets and two catches on his home ground, but the innings belonged to Trott who was at the crease right until the end and finished with a score of 168 not out.

Three of Trott’s five Test 100s have come against Australia.

This series has now seen another rare occurrence thanks to England’s 513 total. We haven’t scored 500+ three times in an Ashes series since 1928/29 when we won the series down under 4-1.

There was further bad news for Australia when it was reviled that Ryan Harris had fractured his ankle during his run up earlier in the England innings. He would take no further part in the Test, meaning England needed just nine wickets to retain the Ashes.

Harris lying injured on the ground. Get well soon.

Australia’s top order again failed as they began their second innings and Hussey was out for a duck. The score was now 104-4. They eventually limped to 169-6 at the end of day three, still 246 runs behind with just three wickets in hand. Haddin and Siddle put on 86 runs for the eighth wicket, but they were clearly just delaying the inevitable. Siddle was caught by Pietersen off Graeme Swann after playing one big shot too many and there was just Ben Hilfenhaus standing in the way. He only lasted four balls before he edged a ball from Tim Bresnan to Matt Prior to complete a pair and to confirm an England victory by an Innings & 157 runs – England’s biggest win over Australia since Jim Laker’s 19-90 match in 1956. This is also the first time that Australia have lost two Test matches in a home series by an innings.

ASHES! IT’S THE ASHES! 😀 The England players celebrate the final wicket of Hilfenhaus.

 

YEESSS! If only the Aussies could have got the flag right. It looks like the Danish flag in reverse.

The win was celebrated by the England squad performing Graeme Swann’s ‘Sprinkler Dance’ in front of the Barmy Army. Hopefully we’ll be seeing scenes like this after the fifth and final Test at Sydney.

Move over Usain Bolt, sport has a new pose!

 

Ashes 2010/11 4th Test – Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne

England won the toss and elected to field

Australia

vs.

England

98 (42.5 overs @ 2.29 rpo)

1st Innings

513 (159.1 overs @ 3.22 rpo)

M.J. Clarke 20 (54)

I.J.L. Trott 168* (345)

C.T. Tremlett 4-26

P.M. Siddle 6-75

258 (85.4 overs @ 3.01 rpo)

2nd Innings

B.J. Haddin 55* (93)

T.T. Bresnan 4-50

 

Umpires – Aleem Dar (Pak) and Tony Hill (NZ)

England won by an Innings & 157 Runs – England lead series 2-1 with one Test remaining and have RETAINED THE ASHES! 😀

Man of the Match = I.J.L. Trott

PS: Believe it or not (but it is true) this is my 200th blog!

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