England 5/444 (136 ov, J Trott 141*, A Cook 82, M Prior 75*', A Strauss 69. K Pietersen 51) lead Australia 98 by 346 runs with 5 1st innings wickets in hand: T4/5 D2/5 at MCG.
There was little to write home (or blog) about today unless you are a staunch England supporter (perhaps one of the 67,149 spectators who were at the MCG), in which case you are allowed a generous measure of triumphalism at the sight of Australia trailing by 346 runs on the first innings and consequently without any prospect of victory and little of a draw..
Australia did show a little resistance early in the day as Peter Siddle removed both Alistair Cook 82/152b (11x4) and Andrew Strauss 69/167b (5x4) for the addition of only 13 runs. But then Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen steadied the innings (as if at 2/170 it needed steadying) before Siddle returned to claim Pietersen lbw for 51/89b (7x4) and dismiss Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell cheaply, by catching them in the deep, off Mitchell Johnson's (short) bowling.
5/286 turned out to be Australia's last satisfying moment of the day as Trott 141*/278b (12x4) and Matt Prior 75*/105b (10x4) added 158 for the sixth wicket before stumps leaving England, as they were yesterday, dominant. Early in his innings Trott snicked Johnson to the keeper but survived umpire Aleem Dar's self-imposed review after replays showed the delivery was (just) a no ball. Pity about the overstepping as it was Johnson's best ball of the day. As for the other bowlers, Siddle was, as 26-8-58-3 suggests, by far the best. Steven Smith and Ryan Harris bowled the occasional teasing delivery, though Ben Hilfenhaus looked out of puff despite clocking some pacy balls on Channel 9's speed measuring instrument.
So Australia is headed for defeat. Whether it is to be an honourable or dishonourable one will depend on the batters and the captain, who lost his composure at one point by challenging an umpire's decision which was clearly correct. Not a nice sight, but a reflection of the pressure Ricky Ponting is under. He should try to let his bat do the talking.
Fox Sports report.