By Shrikant Shankar
Dec 29, 2013
Australia are at 143 for one at lunch on Day Four in their run-chase in the fourth Ashes 2013-14 Test against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on December 29, 2013. They are chasing a target of 231 runs. Chris Rogers is batting on 81 and Shane Watson is on 36. David Warner was the only wicket to fall for 25.
Australia have already won the Ashes and are 3-0 up in the five-match series. The session began with Australia at 30 for no loss from Day Three. Warner cut a short and wide delivery from Stuart Broad for a four to get the first runs of the day.
England then were in a generous mood as they missed two chances to dismiss the openers quite early. Broad found the edge off Rogers’s bat and wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow stays rooted and does not go for the catch to his left.
Alastair Cook dived to his right at first slip but dropped a tough chance. The ball raced away for a four. Next ball, Rogers played the upper cut and got a four towards third-man. Ben Stokes found the edge of Warner’s bat and the ball went straight to Cook this time and he dropped it.
By this time, Rogers was batting more fluently. Stokes offered width and Rogers cut the ball behind backward-point for a four. Next ball, he drove a fuller delivery past mid-off for another four.
But England did get the breakthrough, albeit not with the best delivery. Stokes bowled one slightly shorter and Warner attempted a lofted cut shot. The ball was too close for the cut and he edged it to Bairstow, who took the catch.
Watson was the next batsman in and he got off the mark with an inside edge onto the pads and towards square on the leg side off Stokes. He got another thick inside edge and got another single towards the leg side.
After that the England bowlers were only chasing leather as both Rogers and Watson scored freely. Stokes bowled one on the pads and Rogers flicked the ball away for three runs towards mid-wicket. Even luck favoured the Australian batsmen as Stokes found the inside edge off Rogers’s bat, but the ball evaded Bairstow and went for a four behind the wicketkeeper.
Next ball, Rogers played a cut shot in front of point and got two runs to get to his sixth Test half-century. He scored 61 in the first innings of the Test as well. Tim Bresnan came into the attack and bowled much faster than he was in the first innings. Rogers used that pace guided one for a four behind point.
James Anderson then came from round the wicket and bowled outside off-stump. Rogers opened the face of the bat and guided the ball to the third-man region for another four. Bresnan dug one in short and Watson gloved a hook shot over and wide of Bairstow on the leg side for a four.
The running between the wickets also was very good for Rogers and Watson. They were getting the ones, twos and threes quite regularly. Bresnan pitched one up and Watson hit the ball straight past him for a four. Next ball, he leaned forward to a full and wide delivery and drove through covers for another four.
Monty Panesar offered width and Rogers played that towards backward-point for three runs. Broad bowled one short and wide and Watson played a brilliant square-cut and got a four through deep point.
Both the batsmen were targeting Panesar. They took 10 runs of his over without hitting a boundary. Lunch was soon taken and Australia needed only 88 runs to win.
England 255 (Michael Carberry 38, Kevin Pietersen 71; Mitchell Johnson 5 for 63) and 179 (Alastair Cook 51, Kevin Pietersen 49; Nathan Lyon 5 for 50, Mitchell Johnson 3 for 25) lead Australia 204 (Chris Rogers 61, Brad Haddin 65; James Anderson 4 for 67, Stuart Broad 3 for 45) and 143 for 1 (Chris Rogers 81*, Shane Watson 36*) by 87 runs.
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)
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