Australia cruise to victory in Melbourne

By Matthew Sherry

Australia claimed a 4-0 lead in the Ashes as Chris Rogers’ second Test hundred helped secure a comprehensive eight-wicket win at the MCG.

Having resumed on 30 without loss chasing 231, the hosts were aided by some disappointing England fielding as two early chances went down.

However, a moment of cheer came for the tourists when David Warner feathered the impressive Ben Stokes behind for 25.

Rogers, though, found a willing ally in the typically positive Shane Watson as Australia took control via controlled aggression.

The former reached his ton in typical fashion, cover-driving James Anderson for four, and celebrated with expected jubilation.

He would eventually depart for 116, edging Monty Panesar behind, but it mattered little as Watson and Michael Clarke – who passed 8,000 five-day runs – ended on 83 and six respectively.

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Michael Clarke said: “To be 4-0 up is hard to describe. It is an amazing feeling. The guys have worked exceptionally hard and have the confidence to play with freedom.”

Man-of-the-match Mitchell Johnson said: “I am a little bit shocked. I thought Chris deserved it (the match award). He batted outstandingly. We’re looking forward to getting to Sydney; we’re 4-0 up and want to make it 5-0.”

Alastair Cook said: “It is a tough time when you’re losing games of cricket. In the first half-hour today, we created three chances. You’ve got to take those with a low target. We have got to keep working as hard as we can at our games and it will hopefully turn. The crowd and the support we have make us proud to wear the shirt. Obviously, we’re not doing it justice at the moment but we’re trying as hard as we can.”

An unsurprisingly jubilant Chris Rogers speaking immediately after play: “It does not get better than this, to win a Boxing Day Test and get a hundred on the last day is what dreams are made of. To get a hundred at the MCG, my home ground, is amazing. The crowd were fantastic and I thank them very much.”

Afternoon Session 

Watch highlights of the afternoon session from the MCG

3.27am – AUSTRALIA WIN BY EIGHT WICKETS AND MOVE 4-0 AHEAD IN THE ASHES – Watson, who ends on 83 not out, hits an aerial straight four off Tim Bresnan before finishing the job by whipping Panesar to the square-leg fence.

3am – WICKET! Rogers c Bairstow b Panesar 116; Australia 200/2 – Rogers’ fine innings comes to an end as he feathers an attempted cut off Monty Panesar behind.

2.45am – FIFTY! Watson (70b 6×4 0x6) – Shane Watson reaches a notable landmark by cutting Tim Bresnan for four.

2.42am – CENTURY! Rogers (135b 11×4 0x6) – What a moment! Rogers reaches his first Test hundred on home soil with a driven four off James Anderson.

2.25am – Glorious from Chris Rogers, who – having enjoyed that reprieve – plays a late-cut to the boundary off Stuart Broad.

Morning Session 

Watch highlights of the morning session from the MCG

1.33am – LUNCH! Australia 143/1; Rogers 81, Watson 36 – Australia end the session in complete command. They look set to move 4-0 ahead in the series.

1.22am – Misfields are hurting England amid Australia scoring freely. The hosts have racked up over 100 runs in this session for the loss of just one wicket.

1.06am – Monty Panesar is brought into the attack and begins with a solid over that brings Australia just two runs.

12.52am – Boundaries are flowing for Australia as both Rogers and Shane Watson attack to good effect.

12.29am – FIFTY! Rogers (74b 6×4 0x6) – An inside-edged four that only just misses the stumps precedes a two, which brings up Rogers’ fluent half-century.

12.09am – WICKET! Warner c Bairstow b Stokes 25; Australia 64/1 – No mistake this time! Warner goes for an expansive cut but feathers through to Bairstow as Stokes grabs a deserved wicket. 

10.56am – MISSED CHANCE! – Another opportunity goes begging as Cook shells a regulation chance to dismiss Warner off Ben Stokes.

10.45am – MISSED CHANCE! – Nightmare for England as Chris Rogers edges Broad between the wicketkeeper and first slip for four. Alastair Cook spilled a one-handed diving attempt, but Jonny Bairstow should really have dived to collect a fairly easy chance. To make matters worse, the batsman follows up with an upper-cut four.

10.38am – David Warner is off and running, crunching Stuart Broad through the off side for four after James Anderson had begun the day with a maiden.

Pre-Play News 

11.15am – Hello and welcome to day four of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne. Australia require a further 201 for victory having reached 30 without loss last evening, while England need 10 wickets.

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