From Sam Collins in Melbourne
Evening: fourth Test, day three, Melbourne
Match score: England 513 (Trott 168*, Siddle 6-75) lead Australia 98 (Anderson 4-44, Tremlett 4-26) by 415 runs
Session score: England 69-5 Australia win
Session in six words: Siddle gets six but not Trott
No one really thinks Jonathan Trott is the second best batsman of all time but that’s where he sits in the averages at the moment – sandwiched neatly between Bradman and Graeme Pollock – after another epic red-inker here at the MCG. Sure, Trott has only played 17 Tests for his 64 average and he’s bound to dip Mike Hussey style but on that list Pollock himself only played 23, George Headley 22, Eddie Paynter 20. Hussey actually averaged 82 after 17 Tests and is now down to 52. Trott strikes similar dread to opposition bowlers when he is at his attritional best.
This morning was a waiting game from the moment Matt Prior spooned to Ricky Ponting at mid-on, drawing a glare of disgust from Trott. Finally something good for Ponting – his meltdown yesterday was embarrassing. There is a definite feeling here that the poor form, poor team, the temper tantrum and the taunting from the Barmy Army might actually have an end game; we might be witnessing the final throes of a great career. This is not the way for Ponting to go out. I want a Ponting hundred and some Australian fight in their second innings.
Realistically Australia have no hope of getting anything out of this match, trailing by 415 on first innings with eight sessions to survive. They have a tough job even to last the remaining 74 overs today even though the Melbourne sun has finally got out of bed. Graeme Swann will come into the game, and Peter Siddle showed that there is enough uneven bounce and movement out there to make batting uncomfortable. Siddle’s 6 for 75 was a masterclass in perseverance, the best figures by an Aussie seamer since Jason Gillespie took 6 for 40 here 1o years ago. Australia must now show the discipline lacking in their first innings – more wafting outside off stump and the MCG cleaners will have the final two days off.
Sam Collins is TWC‘s man in Australia and will be blogging on TWC and sampsoncollins.wordpress.com throughout the Ashes
Read more on the Ashes:
The columns of conviction from the first two days, what the Aussie press said
Jrod sounds dazed and confused by the series scoreline
John Stern on why England should be too good for Australia
Merry Christmas Melbourne – Good will messages for England: Alan Tyers
10 Ashes questions that need answering: Lawrence Booth
Patrick Eagar’s Perth portrait
Sam Collins’ session-by-session at the Waca
Benj Moorehead feels the joy in England’s pain