Cricket: England fight back strongly

England's Stuart Broad celebrates taking the wicket of Australia's Ryan Harris for six runs.Photo / AP
England's Stuart Broad celebrates taking the wicket of Australia's Ryan Harris for six runs.Photo / AP

Australia's hopes of a 5-0 Ashes series sweep have taken a battering after England fought back strongly on day two of the fourth test at the MCG.

Mitchell Johnson took 3-4 from four overs to finish with 5-63 in England's first innings of 255 but Australia collapsed in reply, reaching 9-164 at stumps.

England's Jimmy Anderson, ineffective with seven wickets in the first three tests, claimed 3-50 to perfectly complement pace spearhead Stuart Broad, who has 3-30.

Australia opener Chris Rogers made a gritty 61 in 224 minutes, battling on despite a nasty knock to the head after ducking into a Broad bouncer on 16.

Australia had lost the wickets of David Warner and Shane Watson before lunch. Watson, batting with a groin strain, lunged forward and was caught behind off Ben Stokes after Warner top-edged a pull shot off Anderson.

Skipper Michael Clarke was bowled offering no shot as Anderson got one to nip back off the seam.

Steve Smith and Rogers added 48 for the fourth wicket but with the score on 110, Smith was caught at second slip off Broad's bowling.

Rogers fell two runs later.

Smith, Watson, Rogers and George Bailey all average under 35 in the series.

Bailey's scoreless 19-ball knock ended with a controversial caught-behind dismissal at 6-122.

Umpire Aleem Dare gave Bailey not out but TV umpire Billy Bowden overturned the decision despite replays showing no edge on HotSpot and a possible noise on the Snicko as the ball passed the bat.

Brad Haddin successfully challenged an lbw decision against him on 35.

However, tailenders Johnson and Ryan Harris, who had scored half-centuries earlier in the series, were unable to reach double figures in front of the bumper crowd of more than 78,000.

Peter Siddle was out for a duck in the final over before stumps, with Haddin unbeaten on 43.

Thirteen wickets fell in the day's play, including Australia losing 6-68 in the third session.

Rogers said Australia would have to fight hard to get back into the game.

- AAP

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