Ashes 2013/14: England in control after best day of the tour by a distance
Good catching and ground fielding backed up magnificent bowling display...
Last Updated: 28/12/13 2:25pm
Alastair Cook's side will take a 91-run lead into day three after reducing Australia to 164-9 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in reply to their own first innings total of 255.
The hosts have already regained the Ashes courtesy of three straight victories and former all-rounder Botham told Sky Sports News there's no way this Test will be drawn, so England can't afford to let a strong position slip from their grasp.
"There is going to be a result, unless the Melbourne weather intervenes and you never quite know what you are going to get here," said the former all-rounder.
"It will be a good hot day tomorrow. England will be batting with Australia out in the field getting more tired. It's all good for England, they are in the driving seat for once.
"This was England's best day of the tour so far by a distance. When they got skittled out this morning we thought 'here we go again' but the bowlers, as they've done on so many occasions previously stood up and bowled magnificently.
"Stuart Broad kept his pace up pretty well all day and bowled with good aggression. The other bowlers supported him well. Tim Bresnan did a good job, particularly in terms of holding and picking up wickets. All in all, they've all chipped in.
"It was backed up by some good catching and good ground fielding and they deserve to be where they are."
England's hopes of building their overnight score of 226-6 into a commanding first innings total quickly vanished as Mitchell Johnson claimed the key wickets of Tim Bresnan and Kevin Pietersen (71) on his way to figures of 5-63.
But Australia's batsmen found the going no easier and the home side slipped to 122-6 despite 61 from opener Chris Rogers before Brad Haddin offered some lower-order resistance with an unbeaten 43.
Botham admitted it's hard to explain why runs are at such a premium. "For some reason batsmen are struggling on this pitch. We don't know why - it looks great," he reflected.
"Maybe it is confidence - both sides have struggled with that. David Warner has been the exception and Michael Clarke has played well, but they went early today.
"The other batsmen have all struggled and England's top six have not had the best of times either. So maybe it's just a lack of confidence in both teams.
"I know that sounds a bit crazy when you are 3-0 up, as Australia are, but the hard work has been done by the bowlers. That's the case for both sides."
Watch highlights of today's play from 4pm, then join us for The Ashes Verdict from 9pm, The Ashes Extra at 10.30pm and coverage of day three from 11pm - all on Sky Sports 2.