By Shrikant Shankar
Dec 28, 2013
England are at 54 for no loss in their second innings at lunch on Day Three of the fourth Ashes 2013-14 Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on December 28, 2013. They lead Australia by 105 runs. Alastair Cook is batting on 41 and Michael Carberry is on five.
Stuart Broad completed the three deliveries left in his over to begin proceedings on Day Three. Lyon was the 11th man. Haddin edged one from James Anderson and the ball went to the ground quickly and to the left of Cook at first slip and raced away for a four.
Lyon got off the mark with a single off Broad in front of square on the off side. Anderson then found the edge of Lyon’s bat and the ball went through the vacant third slip region for a four. Broad found the edge of Lyon’s bat and the ball went over point for a four.
Haddin took a single off Anderson to reach his 16th Test half-century. Stokes came into the attack and Haddin got three twos in-a-row off the last three deliveries in the over.
The second new ball was taken and Anderson bowled a length delivery in line with the sumps and Lyon carted it high over mid-on for a four. Broad offered width outside off-stump and Haddin slashed hard at it and got a thick top-edge as the ball went over the slips for four.
However, England finally got the breakthrough as Haddin tried to give himself room on the off side by going towards the leg side. Anderson dug one in and followed Haddin, who edged a pull to Jonny Bairstow behind the wickets. England had taken a 51-run lead after the first innings. Anderson took four wickets.
The England openers, Cook in particular, began the second innings in blistering pace. The first ball bowled by Ryan Harris was at the pads and Cook clipped it towards deep square-leg for three runs. Carberry also got off the mark straight away with a single through covers. Cook then got another three runs next ball as he flicked a straight delivery towards deep mid-wicket.
Mitchell Johnson bowled a short delivery at almost 93 mph and Cook pulled it to square-leg for two runs. Harris then bowled a straight one and Cook punched it down the ground for a four.
Michael Clarke brought Nathan Lyon into the attack in only the fifth over of the innings. Peter Siddle replaced Johnson for the sixth over. Cook then crossed the 8,000-run mark in Test cricket with three runs towards square on the leg side. He is the sixth England batsman to reach the milestone and the youngest in the world.
Cook then played a delightful late cut off Lyon past slip for a four. He then played a brilliant drive past mid-off to get another four. Harris found the outside edge off Cook’s bat, but the batsman managed to keep it down and the ball went wide of second slip for a four towards third-man. All this while, Carberry kept playing out maiden overs, especially off Siddle.
Quite surprisingly Clarke brought Shane Watson into the attack. Watson had pulled his hamstring in the first innings while bowling, so, this was a risk. He bowled a short delivery and Carberry finally got some runs as he drove off the back-foot through covers for a four. It took Carberry 37 deliveries to go past the one run he had scored off the first ball he faced.
The 50 soon came along for England. Lunch was taken on Day Three and England led by 105 runs. They also managed to not lose any wicket.
England 255 (Michael Carberry 38, Kevin Pietersen 71; Mitchell Johnson 5 for 63) and 54 for no loss (Alastair Cook 41*) lead Australia 204 (Chris Rogers 61, Brad Haddin 65; James Anderson 4 for 67, Stuart Broad 3 for 45) by 105 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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