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Ashes: England top order crumbles, still 170 behind

Ashes: England top order crumbles, still 170 behind

England's top order crumbled as Australia pushed for a victory inside three days and a 4-0 Ashes series lead.
At tea Thursday in the fourth test, England was 90 for four in its second innings, still needing 170 to make Australia bat again and with its last recognized batsmen at the crease.
Opener Andrew Strauss scrapped for almost three hours for his unbeaten 31 and captain Andrew Flintoff was not out 11.
England picked up three wickets for 47 to finish Australia's first innings at 419 an hour before lunch Thursday, then Strauss and Alastair Cook navigated 12 overs before the first interval and put on 28.
Cook, who was lucky to survive a strong appeal for lbw against McGrath on 8, was first out, playing a Stuart Clark ball onto his stumps on 20 with the England total at 41 and sparking a mini collapse of three wickets for eight runs.
Ian Bell made a tentative two in 20 minutes before McGrath trapped him in front, getting a rare lbw decision from umpire Rudi Koertzen.
The experiment to elevate Kevin Pietersen in the batting order backfired as England slumped to 49 for three when Clark beat him for pace and cannoned one into his off stump.
Paul Collingwood batted for 52 minutes before he hit Lee on the up and drilled a catch to Justin Langer at extra cover, making England 75 for four.
The Australians had resumed the third day at 372 for seven, with Andrew Symonds on 154 after posting his maiden test hundred on Wednesday.
Symonds added only two runs to his overnight score before he was caught behind, slashing at Steve Harmison outside off stump to make the total 383 for eight.
Sajid Mahmood picked off Clark (8) and McGrath for his 35th duck, leaving Shane Warne unbeaten on 40 in what will likely be his last innings at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Mahmood finished with 4-100, the best figures for England, while wicketkeeper Chris Read took six catches in his first innings since being recalled at Geraint Jones' expense. Flintoff returned 3-77 and Harmison had 2-69.
Symonds' 279-run stand with opener Matthew Hayden (153) lifted Australia from a precarious 84 for five to 363 on Wednesday before Mahmood had Hayden caught behind to end the second-highest sixth-wicket partnership in an Ashes test.
Symonds' maiden test hundred contained 15 boundaries and a giant driven six off Paul Collingwood, which took him to triple figures.
Warne, who took 5-39 to help skittle England for 159 in the first innings and became the first bowler to surpass the 700 test wickets milestone, batted for 76 minutes and stroked six boundaries.
Warne and McGrath both announced last week that they're retiring from test cricket after this series.


Updated : 2021-06-25 14:56 GMT+08:00