Dec 26 2013
England lost only Alastair Cook by lunch after being put in on a cloudy morning in the fourth Ashes Test at the MCG.
Cook and Michael Carberry negotiated the first hour with few alarms, but the captain was then drawn into a poor shot at Peter Siddle and edged a little extra bounce to his opposite number Michael Clarke at second slip as the Victorian seamer struck the first blow on his home ground.
Under leaden skies and floodlights, however, Carberry and Joe Root dutifully closed out the session to reach an acceptable 71 for one.
The onus was immediately on the tourists, who have already lost the urn and are engaged principally here in trying to avoid a 5-0 whitewash, after Clarke chose to bowl first.
A green-tinged pitch doubtless influenced the Australia captain's decision, but there was to be just one false shot each for the two openers, in the first 10 overs - both off Ryan Harris, impressive and miserly again.
Cook tried to take the bat away but instead got an involuntary under-edge which bounced past slip for a streaky four; then Carberry's edge on two from a closed face in forward defence just carried to third slip, where a diving Steve Smith could not cling on one-handed.
Mitchell Johnson's new-ball spell lasted only two overs, leaking 13 runs to Cook. Siddle's initial stint from the Great Southern Stand end was also short-lived, and it was hard to believe it was Clarke's Plan A to be introducing off-spinner Nathan Lyon after only nine overs.
Cook dominated the early scoring, but a Carberry straight drive in Siddle's first spell and then an edge over the slips when he switched ends gave him an increasingly fair share of a 48-run stand.
Cook paid for his next mistake, and Root's arrival brought a swift return for Johnson - who duly hit the young Yorkshireman on the shoulder with one of several short balls in an aggressive first over.
There was a moment of concern for Carberry just before lunch, when the returning Harris went to DRS for lbw not playing a shot to a delivery from round the wicket - but umpire's call, on height, confirmed it was just England's session.