Late wickets put Australia in sight of Ashes win

England end day two on 31-4, trailing by 51, in the third Ashes Test; Mitchell Starc took two wickets in two balls and Scott Boland took two in three balls as the tourists collapsed again in the final hour after Australia had been bowled out for 267 with James Anderson taking 4-33

Last Updated: 27/12/21 7:55am

    Australia tore through England's top order in the final hour

    Australia tore through England’s top order in the final hour

    A disastrous final hour ruined what had been England’s best day of this Ashes series so far as Australia closed in on victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

    The tourists ended day two on 31-4, still trailing by 51 runs, as Mitchell Starc (2-11) and Scott Boland (2-1) tore through the top order with two wickets apiece; the only solace for England is that Joe Root (12no) survived the day and will start again on day three with Ben Stokes (2no) for company.

    Prior to that late collapse, it had been England’s day with the bowlers working hard and making the most of a seamer-friendly surface to bowl Australia out for 267, limiting the first-innings lead to 82 with James Anderson the pick of the attack, taking 4-33.

    However, all that good work was undone by some excellent Australia bowling in closing stages of the day, Starc removing Zak Crawley (5) and Dawid Malan (0) in successive balls and Boland dismissing Haseeb Hameed (7) and nightwatchman Jack Leach (0) in the space of three balls to leave England needing something special to avoid defeat, both in the match and the series.

    More to follow…