Bowlers put England on the verge of victory

Bresnan strikes leave Australia gasping at MCG

Bowlers put England on the verge of victory

Needing 415 runs just to make England bat again, Australia's brittle top order disintegrated under pressure once more, limping to 169 for six at stumps in front of a despondent crowd of more than 68,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Australia, who were bundled out for 98 in the first innings, trail England by 246 runs and are odds-on favourites to become the first team to surrender the Ashes on home soil since Alan Border's defeat to the Mike Gatting-led England team in 1986/87.

Brad Haddin (11) and Mitchell Johnson (6) survived the last few overs to stumps and face the unenviable and virtually impossible task of staving off England's victory charge on day four.  Tim Bresnan, called into the side for Steve Finn, took three wickets in a brilliant spell after tea to leave Australia reeling on 104-4 before Graeme Swann and James Anderson took a wicket apiece to inflict further pain on the hosts.

One of Bresnan's wickets was Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who struggled to 20 before chopping onto his stumps, continuing a woeful run in a series in which his highest score remains an unbeaten 51 in the drawn first Test in Brisbane. Ponting apologised before taking the crease for his ugly remonstration with the umpires on Monday over a video referral, but no amount of mea culpas are likely to save the 36-year-old's captaincy or win forgiveness from a shattered Australian public for his team's performance.


ScoreBoard

AUSTRALIA (I Innings): 98
ENGLAND (I Innings, O/n: 444/5):
Trott (not out)    168 
Prior c Ponting b Siddle    85
Bresnan c Haddin b Siddle    4
Swann c Haddin b Hilfenhaus    22
Tremlett b Hilfenhaus    4
Anderson b Siddle    1   
Extras (B-10, LB-2, W-3, NB-3)    18
Total (all out, 159.1 overs)    513
Fall of wickets: 1-159, 2-170, 3-262, 4-281, 5-286, 6-459, 7-465, 8-508, 9-512.
Bowling: Hilfenhaus 37-13-83-2, Harris 28.4-9-91-0, Johnson 29-2-134-2, Siddle 33.1-10-75-6, Watson 10-1-34-0, Smith 18-3-71-0, Clarke 3.2-0-13-0. 
AUSTRALIA (II Innings):
Watson lbw Bresnan    54
Hughes (run out)    23
Ponting b Bresnan    20
Clarke c Strauss b Swann    13
Hussey c Bell b Bresnan    0
Smith b Anderson    38
Haddin (batting)    11
Johnson (batting)    6
Extras (B-1, LB-2, W-1)    4
Total (for 6 wkts, 66 overs)    169
Fall of wickets: 1-53, 2-99, 3-102, 4-104, 5-134, 6-158.
Bowling: James Anderson 16-1-62-1, Chris Tremlett 13-3-55-0, Graeme Swann 22-11-23-1, Tim Bresnan 15-7-26-3.

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