England in the ascendancy
England overcame another disappointing batting display to reduce Australia to 164-9 by the end of the second day of the fourth Ashes Test at the MCG.
Having slipped from their overnight score of 226-6 to 255 all out in the opening session of play, Mitchell Johnson once again their tormentor-in-chief, taking 5-63, the tourists fought back impressively with the ball.
James Anderson (3-50) led the way, dismissing a careless David Warner for nine and then benefiting from a horrible error of judgement from Michael Clarke (10), the Australia captain leaving alone a delivery that went on to clip the top of his off stump.
The Lancashire seamer was also aided by technology later on, the evidence provided by real-time Snicko enough to send George Bailey back to the pavilion for a 19-ball duck.
Having mopped up England's last four wickets in a hurry Australia lost two themselves in a dramatic morning, Warner the first of them before Shane Watson was caught behind off an inside edge when attempting an ambitious drive against Ben Stokes.
Despite the departure of Clarke the hosts at one stage reached 110-3, only to then lose three wickets for 12 runs. Steve Smith (19) was the first of them to fall, cutting a short ball from Stuart Broad sharply to Ian Bell at second slip, a position formerly filled by the now-retired Graeme Swann.
Tim Bresnan ended a resolute knock of 61 by Chris Rogers three overs later; the opener battled for 171 deliveries, and overcame a nasty blow to the right cheek from a Broad bouncer that drew blood, before tamely chipping a drive to mid-off.
Bailey failed to trouble the scorers before the referral system saw him depart caught behind, while Mitchell Johnson (2) hit a Bresnan long hop straight to Anderson at mid-wicket to leave the score at 151-7.
England even thought they had found a way to remove Brad Haddin, who eased his way to 43 not out by the end of play, when he was adjudged lbw off Monty Panesar, only for the decision to be overturned on review.
Still, the late departures of Ryan Harris (6) and Peter Siddle (0), both caught off the bowling of Broad, who finished with 3-30, meant they held a 91-run lead at the close.
Such a scenario had looked unlikely when Johnson took his tally for the series to 28 wickets by claiming three more quickly at the start of play.
The prized scalp was that of Kevin Pietersen, bowled emphatically for 71 when aiming to launch the paceman out of Melbourne. The manner of his dismissal will once again see the right-hander come in for criticism, particularly after he had fought so hard during Boxing Day to end up unbeaten on 67.
His hand, though, had been somewhat forced by the departure of Tim Bresnan (1) at the start of the same over, the Yorkshireman falling to the first ball he faced when he could only spoon a bouncer up to George Bailey at short leg.
Pietersen's aggressive approach after losing possibly his last reliable batting partner was perhaps justified considering how quickly the rest of the order folded.
Broad (11) did manage two fours off Harris before he was trapped lbw by a full ball from Johnson in almost identical fashion to how he'd fallen in the first innings at the WACA.
Spinner Nathan Lyon who wrapped up the innings, Panesar shouldering arms to be bowled for two. Anderson was left unbeaten on 11 but quickly found himself back in the thick of the action on a day that started so poorly for England but ended with them firmly in the ascendancy, at long last.
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.