England strangled Australia to seize control of the fourth Ashes Test on a low-scoring second day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
The beleaguered tourists, with the Ashes already lost, boosted their chances of averting a 5-0 series clean sweep with a rare rewarding day in the field as they defended what had appeared to be a below-par first innings total of 255.
But disciplined bowling and fielding stifled Australia’s scoring and with it the wickets tumbled to put the home side under pressure on a slow-paced MCG pitch.
At the close, Australia were 164 for nine, trailing England by 91 runs with Brad Haddin on an unbeaten 43.
England were restricted in their first innings by a hostile spell from Mitchell Johnson, but the Australians also laboured for runs.
Cook’s tactics of drying up the runs reaped rewards with the cheap dismissals of key batsmen David Warner (9), Shane Watson (10), Michael Clarke (10), Steve Smith (19) and George Bailey (0).
Led by James Anderson’s three for 50 and Stuart Broad (3-30), England tied up the Australian batsmen and looked set for what could prove a significant lead on a pitch which is expected to play harder through the Test match.
Anderson surprised Clarke with a delivery that darted back in and collected the top of off-stump in his 10 off 34 balls.
Rogers followed soon slicing to Kevin Pietersen who took a fine running catch at mid-wicket. The veteran opener had batted for 224 minutes and faced 171 balls for his 61, his third half-century of the series.
England, resuming at 226 for six, only added 29 more runs to be all out with Johnson taking five for 63 in a withering four-over spell of three for four.
Among the England wreckage was the wicket of Pietersen, who passed Geoff Boycott as the fourth all-time England run-getter.
Brief scores: Eng 1st innings 255 (Pietersen 71; Johnson 5/63); Aus 1st innings (Rogers 61; Broad 3/30, Anderson 3/50)