England wilted in the heat of the Melbourne sun after Nathan Lyon took 5-50 to help bowl the tourists out for 179 in their second innings, with Australia chasing 231 for a 4-0 lead in the series. David Warner and Chris Rogers steered the Aussies to 30-0 at the close of play.
After putting themselves in an excellent position on day two, England were the masters of their own undoing once again with the bat. They lost their last five wickets for just six runs and with confidence at an all-time low, now face the very real prospect of an Ashes whitewash.
|Australia 1st Inns: 204 (82.2 overs)|
|BJ Haddin†||c †Bairstow b Anderson||65||143||68|
|NM Lyon||not out||18||44||34|
|Total||(all out; 82.2 overs)||204|
|England 2nd Inns: 179 (61 overs)|
|AN Cook*||lbw b Johnson||51||91||61|
|MA Carberry||lbw b Siddle||12||123||84|
|JE Root||run out (Johnson)||15||37||24|
|KP Pietersen||c Harris b Lyon||49||156||90|
|IR Bell||c Johnson b Lyon||0||2||1|
|BA Stokes||c Smith b Lyon||19||69||55|
|JM Bairstow†||c †Haddin b Johnson||21||45||28|
|TT Bresnan||b Lyon||0||14||8|
|SCJ Broad||c Clarke b Lyon||0||4||3|
|MS Panesar||lbw b Johnson||0||8||6|
|Extras||(b 5, lb 6)||11|
|Total||(all out; 61 overs)||179|
|Australia 2nd Inns: 30-0 (80 overs)|
|CJL Rogers||not out||18||29|
|DA Warner||not out||12||19|
|Total||(0 wickets; 8 overs)||30|
ESPN Cric Info
The first 45 minutes of play set the tone for the rest of the day as England went about taking the final Australian wicket, with the hosts resuming on 164-9. Instead of trying to hit the stumps, James Anderson and Stuart Broad bowled far too short at the in-form Brad Haddin and number 11 Nathan Lyon.
The two Aussie batsmen proceeded to tuck in, and a lead that should have been closer to 80 was reduced to just 51. Just as the English frustration seemed to be peaking, Anderson struck with the new ball; Haddin top edging a wild hook shot onto his helmet and behind to the keeper.
With the bat, Alaistair Cook looked to set the tone for England with some aggressive, positive stroke play. He raced to 50 off just 60 deliveries and after seeing off the new ball, becoming the youngest ever player to make 8,000 test runs in the process, England looked in prime position to tuck in and make a big score with the scoreboard at 65-0.
Cook played well, but fell to Mitchell Johnson after he was trapped LBW and as has so often been the case on this tour, one wicket gave way to a few.
Michael Carberry had struggled to get Peter Siddle away all morning and he was eventually trapped in front for just 12 from 81, ending what was a tortuous two-hour battle for the Hampshire opener.
Then, the floodgates well and truly opened. Joe Root was run out after good work by Johnson at mid off and Ian Bell strolled out to the crease. But he was gone first ball, as he prodded Lyon down the ground and straight into the hands of Johnson. England had gone from 65-0 to 86-4.
That wicket brought Ben Stokes to the crease alongside Kevin Pietersen and they looked to rebuild the England innings. The former was looking in excellent touch following his century at Perth but lost his wicket playing a loose drive to Lyon and it looped straight into the hands of Steven Smith.
It left the England lower order exposed and despite Pietersen battling to 49, the end looked nigh even at 131-5.
Jonny Bairstow put up some resistance before Johnson had him caught behind by Haddin to another poor shot. Lyon and Johnson then preceded to clean up the England tail.
Wake up. Turn radio on. "Kamikaze stuff from England...exceptionally ordinary batting...headless chickens...". Sigh.— Owen Gibson (@owen_g) December 28, 2013
Tim Bresnan was bowled as he tried to slog Lyon across the line, before Stuart Broad edged the off-spinner behind to Michael Clarke. Neither were able to trouble the scorers.
Pietersen had played well for his 49, and little blame can be attached to him as he looked to attack with the score at 179-9. But he skied one from Lyon to Ryan Harris, before Johnson had Panesar trapped plumb in front for no score. It meant England lost their last five wickets for just six runs.
A calamitous collapse yet again from the tourists, and Australia saw out the rest of the day with Warner looking in ominous touch.
Australia need 201 on day four to take a 4-0 lead in the series.