The Ashes: Super England give hapless Aussie turkeys a good stuffing

The Australian players must have eaten so much turkey on Christmas Day they all became turkeys, because this morning, on the first day of the Fourth Test against England in the Ashes, they were well and truly stuffed.

On the ground, in Melbourne, where the first ever match was played between Australia and England back in 1877 (though it didn't become the Ashes until around 1882), Australia totalled a pathetic 98 in the first innings, their lowest score at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) against England since that historic 1877 test.

The Aussies' total was only the third time they have been bowled out for fewer than 100 by England at home since 1888.

At the end of today's play, magnificent England, who hardly put a foot wrong in the whole of today, were 157-0.

It was England's best opening day in an Ashes match since 1997, when they skittled Australia for 118, then closed on 200-3.

At the start of the day's play, over 84,000 spectators jammed into the vast bowl in the sweltering Melbourne heat but, with the Aussies suffering a tremendous battering, the crowd numbered just 30,000 by the end of the day's play.

England's best bowlers were Tremlett, a giant of a man at almost 7ft, who took 4-26, and Anderson, who took 4-44.

Australia's highest scoring batsman was Michael Clarke, who managed a pathetic 20 runs, before being caught by wicketkeeper Matt Prior from Jimmy Anderson.

Prior took six catches in total, the most in an Ashes innings by an England wicketkeeper.

That just shows how bad the Aussie batsmen were.

In comparison, England's batsmen had no problems whatsoever, with Cook finishing today's play on 80 not out and Strauss on 64 not out.

Captain Strauss also scored his 6,000th career run, becoming only the 11th England batsman to do so.

Basically, today was a Boxing Day to forget for our Convict Colony, as England continue their quest to be crowned the No1 ranked team in international cricket.

The current score in this Ashes Series is 1-1 after three tests (one of which was a draw) with two tests, including this one, to go. If England win this Test they will definitely keep hold of the famous old Ashes urn which they proudly hold.

Trem-endous pair down Aussies

From JOHN ETHERIDGE in Melbourne
The Sun
26th December 2010

DYNAMIC DUO ... James Anderson and Chris Tremlett celebrate

The Ashes, 2010/11

1st Day of the 4th Test (at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Attendance: 84,345)

1st Innings
Australia: 98
England: 157-0

England lead by 59 runs

JAMES ANDERSON and Chris Tremlett destroyed Australia's batting as the Ashes series took another incredible twist.

The pair and Tim Bresnan combined to rout the Aussies for a scarcely-conceivable 98 all out on day one of the Fourth Test.

It continued the astonishing roller-coaster pattern of this series and now England are dreaming of retaining the little urn in the next few days.

England finished with 157-0 — already a lead of 59 — and able to put the match totally beyond Australia's reach on the second day.

Super start: Chris Tremlett got England off to a perfect start, dismissing opener Shane Watson for 5 after Kevin Pietersen caught the Australian out

Caught out: Tim Bresnan celebrates his first ever Ashes wicket after Pietersen held onto Phil Hughes' shot to see the opener walk for 16

The previous Test in Perth — when England were thrashed by 267 runs — was turned on its head again by a brilliant bowling performance by England's seamers.

The trio expertly exploited helpful conditions after Andrew Strauss decided to bowl first — but they were helped by a limp, witless and technically-inept batting display.

Far too many batsmen failed to show the necessary application in tricky conditions and tossed away their wickets.

All ten wickets fell to catches by the wicketkeeper or in the slips or gully. Matt Prior helped himself to six victims — equalling the record in an innings by an England wicketkeeper against Australia.

The Aussies' total was only the third time they have been bowled out for fewer than 100 by England at home since 1888.

It was nothing short of a perfect day for England.

Captain Strauss was in dreamland because everything he touched turned to gold. His correct call at the toss, his bowling changes and his own batting gave him a day he will never forget.

Strauss passed 6,000 Test runs — the 11th England batsman to do so — and Alastair Cook continued his run-laden series.

Strauss went past his fifty and Cook is already well on the way to his third century of the series.

Bowing out: It proved to be yet another bad day at the crease for Australia captain Ricky Ponting after he was caught in the slips for 10 by Graeme Swann from the bowling of James Anderson

Cook was granted a reprieve after umpire Tony Hill wrongly gave him out lbw to Ben Hilfenhaus on 34. England used one of their reviews and it revealed a thick inside edge, and a possible no-ball.

Full of cheer: England skipper Andrew Strauss celebrates with wicketkeeper matt Prior after catching Brad Haddin off the bowling of Bresnan

For the fourth Test running, the opening session was a frenetic, action-packed affair with Shane Watson dropped twice — difficult chances to Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen — before he spliced a Tremlett lifter to gully.

England also called for two reviews in the first 15 overs. But even though both were wasted, it hardly mattered.

The 6ft 8ins Tremlett gained awkward bounce while Anderson, the master of swing, probed away menacingly.

There was plenty of assistance for the bowlers — and just as much from the batsmen.

Left-hander Phil Hughes drove recklessly at a wide ball from Bresnan, who enjoyed himself after England decided to drop Steve Finn.

Ricky Ponting received a beauty from Tremlett that bounced and left him — Graeme Swann's sharp hands snaffled the catch at second slip almost in front of Strauss at first.

But the big wicket was Mike Hussey who, after two inswingers from Anderson, played for another and edged a catch behind from a ball that went straight on. Hussey has more than 500 runs in the series and this was his first failure.

Lift off: Anderson is the centre of attention as England celebrate the wicket of Mike Hussey for just 8 runs

Sight to savour: England fans rejoice at the MCG after Australia collapse to their lowest-ever Ashes score in Melbourne, all out for 98 on day one

One ball later, the players went off for rain. It was that sort of day for the Aussies.

Following the re-start, wickets fell even more quickly with Anderson having a field day.

He had Steve Smith, Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson caught behind while Brad Haddin, swinging wildly, perished by the same route against Bresnan.

Tremlett grabbed the final two wickets — again courtesy of an outside edge and Prior's blue gloves.

When England batted, the sun came out and suddenly any demons in the pitch disappeared. Even the weather was on their side.

It is virtually impossible to see a situation where England don't win this match. And we all know what that means — the Ashes are guaranteed to remain in Pommie hands.

It was all too much for the locals. Although the official attendance was 84,345, there were fewer than 30,000 in the vast arena by the close.

The one-eyed Aussies just could not bear seeing their team given such a stuffing.

Leading by example:Captain Strauss piles on the runs for England in their first innings

Calling the shots: Alastair Cook (L) and Strauss put England in full control at the MCG as bowler Peter Siddle's reaction sums up a day to forget for Australia
Last edited by Blackleaf; Dec 26th, 2010 at 02:21 PM..
It is getting a bit tiring to see Ricky Ponting squawking about everything like the world owes him something. Kevin Pietersen obviously did not touch the delivery with the bat during the afternoon session. But Ponting just will not stop crying about it. That is very poor sportsmanship and makes his fellow Aussies look quite bad.
Ponting has been fined by the ICC. Hopefully, the Aussie cric authority will do the same.