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Ponting, Hussey fall cheaply as England strike

cricket Updated: Dec 26, 2010 09:49 IST

Highlight Story

Ricky Ponting's wretched Ashes series continued with another cheap dismissal as England thrived after winning the toss in the fourth Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

Ponting, playing with a fractured left little finger, fell for 10 as Australia again made another disastrous start after being put into bat by England skipper Andrew Strauss.

It was a good toss to win on a greenish drop-in pitch as England picked up the wickets of both openers Shane Watson and Phillip Hughes along with Ponting and topscoring Mike Hussey to seize the early advantage in the crucial match of the series locked at 1-1.

England only need to win one of the remaining two Tests to retain the Ashes.

Ponting has struggled for runs in the series with six low scores and just one half-century in seven innings.

The wounded skipper was out when he edged a Chris Tremlett outswinger to Graeme Swann at second slip to leave the Australians at 37 for three.

At lunch, Australia were 58 for four with Michael Clarke not out 12 with Steven Smith yet to score.

England snared the big wicket of Hussey, caught behind off James Anderson for eight for his first batting failure in six innings in the series.

Watson was dropped twice before he could not keep down a lifter from Tremlett and dollied a catch to Kevin Pietersen in the gully for five.

It was a significant breakthrough for England with in-form Watson scoring three half-centuries in the series.

Hughes, who helped himself to 10 runs off Tremlett's opening over, was out just on first-hour drinks for 16.

Hughes, who was given a thorough examination outside off-stump by England's bowlers, fell in Tim Bresnan's second over when he sliced a drive to Pietersen in the gully.

Yorkshireman Bresnan was having his first match of the series after replacing Steve Finn, the leading wicket-taker in the series with 14, in England's only team change.

England last won a famous victory here in 1998 with Dean Headley taking 6-60 in the second innings as the tourists won by just 12 nail-biting runs.

Australia's only loss at the MCG this decade was against South Africa two years ago as the Proteas went on to win their first-ever series in Australia.

Australia named an unchanged team preferring to go with their four-prong pace attack, meaning there was no room for uncapped front-line spinner Michael Beer.