Pick of the day
We look back on day three of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne
Last Updated: 28/12/13 4:39pm
The question at the start of play was whether the batsmen could prove just as effective when they returned for their second innings, but sadly for the tourists, the answer was an emphatic no.
Aside from a half-century from captain Alastair Cook and a 49 from Kevin Pietersen, England once again toiled badly with the bat, albeit not helped by blustery conditions in Melbourne.
Australia ripped through the order and bowled England out for just 179, before ending the day 30 without loss themselves as they chased 231 for victory.
Nathan Lyon was our 'man of the day' after taking five wickets and claiming his 100th Test victim in the process.
Not over yet
The momentum of the fourth Test has swung violently with each day and although Australia are now back in the driving seat, they will know a difficult MCG wicket could yet have another surprise in store. Nathan Lyon claimed five victims on day three but was quick to warn against complacency in the Australian camp as they chase 231 for victory. He acknowledged that the hosts had enjoyed a "great" third day, but conceded that while the new ball is easy to score with, after 30 overs it becomes a lot more difficult and it is here where they will have to dig in and work hard.
Reason for hope
Despite another batting collapse, England are still in this Test match and will be all too aware that a repeat performance of their bowling in the first innings will see them to victory. Jonny Bairstow, who has replaced wicket-keeper Matt Prior in Melbourne, said England displayed skill and new-found confidence when bowling Australia out for 204 first time around and believes that if they can get the ball swinging on the fourth day, a similar outcome can be achieved in the second innings.
'England had a shocker'
Sky Sports expert David Lloyd pulled no punches when assessing England's performance with the bat on day three, describing the tourists as having had a "shocker". Bumble spent part of the day with former Australia opener Bill Lawry, who had described England's second innings as the "worst I have ever seen". Bumble also lamented a limp effort from the England bowlers at the end of the day as Australia edged to an overnight total of 30 without loss, but said that with lower temperatures expected on day four, Alastair Cook's men still have a "glimmer of hope" of snatching the win.
Out of excuses
English batting collapses have been a persistent and pivotal feature of this Ashes series and while not excusable, the tourists' plight has not been helped by the outstanding performances of bowlers such as Mitchell Johnson. However, on day three of the fourth Test, it was off-spinner Nathan Lyon who did the most damage by taking five English wickets, despite the MCG not being a spinner's pitch. Sky Sports expert Nasser Hussain believes Lyon's success was deeply worrying and is one of the starkest indicators yet that England's batting problems run deeper than just their inability to score runs in this series.