Veteran Australian opener David Warner has set his sights on one last crack at the Ashes on English soil in 2023 as he looks to bury his demons from 2019.

The 35-year-old left-handed batsman has defied his age with the third most runs in this Ashes series after being Player of the Series as Australia lifted last month's T20 World Cup.

Warner was part of losing Australian touring Ashes parties in 2013 and 2015 and was tormented by Stuart Broad in 2019 when he was dismissed by the seamer seven times in 10 knocks, managing only 95 runs across the series which finished 2-2 with the visitors retaining the urn.

"James Anderson sets the benchmark for older guys these days, we look up to him getting on in our days," Warner told reporters.

"Winning the Ashes here was obviously a big one. We still haven't beaten India in India, that would be nice to do.

"And England away, we had a drawn series but hopefully if I manage to get that opportunity, I might think about going back."

The 89-Test veteran has scored 7,551 runs with 24 centuries but battled during the 2019 Ashes in England.

"In terms of 2019, it was obviously in England so he [Broad] was able to get the ball to come back into us and away from us," Warner said.

"For me it was one of those tours where I didn’t back my game plan and I went too defensive, and I didn’t attack. That was my fault, and he bowled really well.

"Out here, they have obviously picked Ollie Robinson for a reason ... he’s averaging 21 with the ball, he’s had some success in England, he bowls a good line and length. I wouldn’t say I was surprised, they’ve done it before in Australia.

"They haven’t played both of them [Broad and James Anderson] too often here – you might see him [Broad] play next game, and maybe Jimmy misses it. I can’t worry what they’re doing, but from our perspective I think it’s great he [Broad] is not playing."

Warner also backed under-pressure opening partner Marcus Harris who scored a game-high 76 in the third Test at the MCG after managing only 38 runs in his previous four innings.

“His courage to keep fighting and working ways out to score runs when bowlers are bowling good lines and lengths, he fought it out really well and I’m really pleased for him," Warner said.

Mohammed Shami claimed his 200th Test scalp as 18 wickets tumbled on a captivating day three at SuperSport Park that ended with India in control against South Africa.

No play was possible on day two due to rain, but the Proteas made up for lost time by bowling the tourists out for 327 in a dramatic morning session.

The brilliant Lungi Ngidi took 6-71 as India lost seven wickets for 49 runs, KL Rahul falling for 123 and Ajinkya Rahane 48 after they had resumed on 272 in Centurion.

Kagiso Rabada provided great support for his fellow paceman, claiming 3-72, but India quickly shifted the momentum when South Africa started their reply.

Shami was outstanding, helping himself to 5-44 as the Proteas were bowled out for 197 in 62.3 overs, Temba Bavuma top scoring with 52, Quinton de Kock making 34 and Rabada 25.

Jasprit Bumrah (2-16) spent a long spell of the field with a sprained right ankle, but was able to return and end the South Africa innings, while Shardul Thakur chipped in with 2-51.

India closed on 16-1, leading by 146 runs, after Mayank Agarwal edged debutant Marco Jansen behind but Virat Kohli's side are well poised to take a 1-0 lead following a day that saw a record number of wickets fall in a Test at this venue.

 

Ngidi and Rabada tear through tourists

Rabada started the India collapse when he had Rahul caught behind in the fourth over of the day and De Kock took another catch to give Ngidi his fourth wicket, sending Rahane on his way three overs later.

Ngidi had his third five-wicket Test haul as Rishabh Pant could only fend a hostile short ball to Rassie van der Dussen short leg, with Rabada seeing the back of Ravichandran Ashwin and Thakur.

India were all out in a flash when Bumrah became Jansen's first Test victim after the excellent Ngidi drew an edge from Shami and De Kock snaffled a fourth catch. 

Landmark for Shami as Proteas fold

Bumrah struck in the first over of the Proteas' reply, captain Dean Elgar edging behind, before Shami took centre stage.

Keegan Petersen chopped on to the third ball after lunch from Shami, who then produced a peach of a delivery to clean up Aiden Markram.

Shami's impeccable line and length, combined with a touch of movement of the seam, accounted for Bavuma caught behind just after he reached his half-century. Pant took another two catches for the 31-year-old, who became only the fifth Indian paceman to take 200 Test scalps.

Chris Silverwood believes England can take "positives" out of a humiliating MCG thrashing that ensured Australia retained the Ashes less than halfway through the series.

Scott Boland claimed astonishing figures of 6-7 as the tourists capitulated to 68 all out in the morning session on day three, suffering a chastening innings-and-14 run defeat.

England needed a victory to have any chance of regaining the urn, but suffered a third hammering of what has been a painful series for Joe Root's side.

James Anderson had given them hope by taking 4-33 as were Australia bowled out for 267 on day two, but their batting frailties were exposed yet again on Tuesday.

Yet head coach Silverwood says it is not all doom and gloom for England and believes he still has the players' backing.

Asked if the players are stilt responding to him as head coach, Silverwood told BT Sport: "I think they are.

"We had a good honest chat after the last game [the defeat at the Adelaide Oval]. We just have to put performances together and start pushing back.

"It is disappointing for us all and the lads will be feeling that in the dressing room.

"But I have to give credit to Australia, particularly Scott Boland on debut and Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc for their opening spell last night.

"We had a good honest chat after the last Test, we just have to couple those performances together and find a way of pushing back against this bowling attack and scoring runs.

"Yesterday we had a little bit of disruption in the morning [a positive COVID-19 test in the team's family group] and I think the way the guys applied themselves on the field and the way the bowling attack rallied and got us back into this game was a credit to them.

"The way we caught in the last innings was good as well and I think there are positives coming out of this."

Silverwood believes England can salvage some pride in the remainder of a series that was over so soon after it started.

"We want to take something away from this series and we want to come back and compete in the last two Test matches," he added.

"We do have some world-class players and some youngsters as well who are learning on the job constantly. What we have to do is try and give them some confidence, we know they have ability and we do back them.

"We have to give them the opportunity to come out and show what they can do in the last two Tests."

Boland's figures were the best innings figures by any Australian on Test debut in Australia since Albert Trott took 8-43 against England at the Adelaide Oval in January 1895. 

Joe Root has refused to be drawn into the discussion around the state of English cricket despite Australia retaining the Ashes in record time and insists the series is not over.

England were humbled by an innings and 14 runs at the MCG on Tuesday as Australia claimed a series-clinching victory for an unassailable 3-0 Ashes lead.

Australia will now chase a 5-0 whitewash over England who were ripped apart inside an hour on the third day, bowled out for a meagre 68 which marked the nation's ninth-lowest Ashes score.

Despite the apparent gulf between the two sides and the disastrous nature of the MCG defeat, Root remained upbeat about achieving something out of the series ahead of Tests in Sydney and Hobart.

The situation has led to discussion around England's Test team and whether the County system is preparing players appropriately to compete at the elite level but Root would not be drawn on that.

"The series isn’t over yet," Root said at the post-game news conference. "We've got two very big games. It'd be wrong to look past that.

"As a player you talk about the next hour or the next session or the every next ball and managing that to be the best of your abilities, that applies to me as captain of this team.

"We have to make sure we come away from this tour with some better performances and a win or two."

Root added: "We need to put some pride back in to the badge. We need to give people back home something to celebrate and look fondly back on from this tour.

"It's bitterly disappointing to be 3-0 down but with two matches to go we have to make sure we come away with a couple of wins."

Root refused to use England's internal COVID-19 issues as an excuse for their ordinary third day display as they lost their remaining six wickets for 37 runs in 15.4 overs after resuming at 31-4.

The England skipper added that he felt his side had fought back on the second day with the ball, bowling Australia out for 267 to trail by 82 runs, but were unable to sustain their fight once again.

"I actually thought the way we went about our cricket on the field was excellent," Root told Fox Sports. "We put them under pressure and got ourselves in a position where we were very much in this Test match.

"We need to be more like that more frequently throughout the last two games."

He continued: "We've just got to do things for longer. There's been small pockets but nowhere near long enough to get into a Test match.

"We know the areas we need to improve on. We need to stay strong and make sure we use the next two Test matches as a real opportunity to take something away from this tour."

Debutant Scott Boland was "speechless" after his remarkable 7-6 spell locked in Australia's Ashes series victory over England with an emphatic win at the MCG.

Australia retained the Ashes by winning the third Test in Melbourne by an innings and 14 runs with right-arm fast bowler Boland making history in an astonishing spell.

Boland claimed four wickets in 11 balls on the third day, dismantling England's line-up as they were skittled for 68.

Australia clinched victory inside 81 minutes on the third day led by Boland's heroics, winning the game inside two days and one session.

"I'm speechless," Boland told Fox Sports after the game. "Coming in today I thought we had a pretty good chance of winning but never thought it'd be over before midday."

Boland, 32, had played 80 first-class matches prior to his Test debut, with his previous best-ever figures being 31-7.

"That's my best-ever figures," Boland said. "I got a couple of seven-fors in first-class cricket but nothing happened that quickly."

Boland, who was named Player of the Match, was fiercely supported by his home crowd, receiving wild applause every time he returned to the deep after each bowling over late on the second day and early on the third.

"They were amazing," he added. "They supported me so much from day one. Going down there just gives you a real big buzz."

Australia skipper Pat Cummins said Boland's success, having stepped up with Jhye Richardson, Michael Neser and Josh Hazlewood unavailable due to soreness or injuries, was a great sign for the hosts.

"It's a great sign for the health of Australian cricket we've got so many boys to pick from," Cummins said.

"Scotty came in, we were confident he'd do well, not quite this well, but we know whoever steps in is going to do a great job."

England only lasted 15.4 overs on the third day, with Australia retaining the Ashes within 13 days of cricket this series.

Australia lead all the key statistics, with the top four batting averages (Travis Head (62.0), David Warner (60.0), Mitchell Starc (58.5) and Marnus Labuschagne (57.25)) and top three leading wicket-takers (Starc (14), Nathan Lyon (12) and Cummins (10)) emphasising their dominance.

"I think we've been relentless with bat and ball when we've had to be," Cummins added. "The bowlers turned up and owned that good area around the top of off stump.

"The batters have really earned their runs. Some partnerships, Marnus [Labuschagne] and Davey [Warner] have earned the right to bat long, they've left well.

"When opportunities presented they've been brave and taken on the game. All round everyone has contributed."

Australia can claim a 5-0 whitewash with victories in Sydney and Hobart in the remaining two Test matches.

"I think any Ashes series is where you try to make a mark in your Test career," Cummins said. "Back to last series 4-0 and the one before that was 5-0, that goes down in history.

"We've got a chance to start cementing our identity and [it] can be the start for the next few years."

Victorian debutant Scott Boland produced the spell of a lifetime as Australia secured an Ashes series victory with an emphatic triumph over England in the third Test at the MCG on Tuesday.

England were skittled for a feeble 68 as Australia clinched an unassailable 3-0 series lead with victory by an innings and 14 runs inside two days and one session.

Player of the Match Boland was the story of the third day, claiming four wickets in 11 deliveries including England skipper Joe Root to finish with remarkable second-innings figures of 7-6 from four overs.

Root offered the only resistance with 28, after the visitors resumed at 31-4 but wilted against a hungry Australian attack.

Mitchell Starc (29-3) got the first breakthrough of Ben Stokes bowled for 11, before Boland took over as England lost their final five wickets for eight runs.

Boland first trapped Jonny Bairstow lbw for 5, despite a review, after he was dropped at gully by Cameron Green.

The debutant proceeded to claim the key wicket of Root caught by David Warner at first slip, before dismissing Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson for ducks.

Green claimed the final wicket to secure the series victory, clean bowling Jimmy Anderson to bowl England out for 68, their ninth lowest total in Ashes history.

England lasted only 15.4 overs on the third day, with the game being the shortest completed Test match hosted by Australia in 70 years, lasting 1084 balls.

The all-clear was given for day three of the Boxing Day Ashes Test to start on time after Australia and England players all tested negative for coronavirus.

There had been a scare ahead of the second day of the third Test in Melbourne when a member of the tourists' family group returned a positive COVID-19 result.

The England players and management were forced to remain at their hotel while they awaited their test results, before being given the green light to travel to the ground, with play starting half an hour later than scheduled.

Both sets of players took PCR tests after the second day of play and Cricket Australia on Tuesday confirmed all tested negative, meaning there were no delays for the third day.

The England team's support staff and the family members who tested positive on Monday – reportedly six people in total – are in isolation.

Australia were well on course to retain the urn after reducing Joe Root's side to 31-4 in their second innings after two days of play, with England trailing by 51 runs and 2-0 down in the series.

The second day of the opening Test between South Africa and India was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to persistent rain at SuperSport Park.

India were set to resume on 272-3 as they looked to build on their promising total on Monday, but heavy downpours meant the umpires called play off after an early lunch had initially been taken.

Improved weather has been forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday in Centurion, though Virat Kohli's side will have to pick up the tempo if they are to build on their start.

Opener KL Rahul will resume on 122 unbeaten when play gets underway again, with Ajinkya Rahane joining him at the crease on 40.

Marcus Harris said "it's about trusting what I do" after going some way to silencing his doubters on day two of the third Ashes Test against England.

The opening batsman went into the contest at the MCG with a best effort of 23 from four innings, but top scored with 76 – the only Australian to make more than 40 in the first innings.

It proved a particularly good knock in the context of a day that saw Australia restricted to 267 having bowled England out for 185 on day one, before dominating the final hour to have the tourists 31-4 and still 51 runs in arrears.

Harris was thrilled to play his part on his home ground and prove a few people wrong in the process.

"It was good to spend a bit of time in the middle today. I had a bit of a battle in the first couple of Tests but it was good to be home and play on a familiar wicket," he told ABC Radio.

"There's a lot of media around but the support I've had from within and my close circle of people has been unbelievable. It's about trusting what I do."

James Anderson had starred with the ball for England, taking 4-33 to give the visitors an opportunity to get back into the game.

But Mitchell Starc (2-11) and Scott Boland (2-1) combined to have Zak Crawley (5), Dawid Malan (0), Haseeb Hameed (7) and nightwatchman Jack Leach (0) dismissed in a devastating final hour, much to the delight of the Melbourne crowd.

Harris added: "The way the wicket is, the amount of grass, there's always something in it for the bowlers.

"Jimmy Anderson bowled unbelievably, as did our bowlers in the end."

James Anderson rued England's disappointing final hour after the tourists had worked hard to fight their way back into the third Ashes Test against Australia on day two.

Having been bowled on for 185, England's star paceman Anderson led the way with 4-33 to restrict Australia to 267 all out and a first-innings lead of 82 at the MCG.

But a woeful last hour amid familiar failings with the bat saw England close on 31-4, still trailing by 51 runs as Australia moved ever closer to sealing the series.

"It's obviously a disappointing finish to the day, I thought we bowled well through the day to keep the pressure on Australia," England's all-time leading wicket taker Anderson told BT Sport.

"It wasn't easy to bowl them out for less than 300 on that wicket but it was a good effort to do so.

"It was a difficult 12 overs, good spell from Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, they're world-class bowlers so you expect that. It was disappointing to lose four wickets in those 12 overs."

England looked set to enjoy their best day of a poor series so far until Starc (2-11) and home favourite Scott Boland (2-1) combined to have Zak Crawley (5), Dawid Malan (0), Haseeb Hameed (7) and nightwatchman Jack Leach (0) dismissed, much to the delight of the Melbourne crowd.

Anderson, though, insists there is plenty of unity within England's camp.

"It's been a frustrating tour so far full stop. We are working hard and trying to put things right and trying to put in better performances," he added.

"I thought we did that with the ball, we hit our areas with the ball but it was a frustrating end to the day.

"We are together as a group. We have a really good group of guys. We know how hard the batters are working and as bowlers we are doing the same. 

"The cohesion is definitely there it's just frustrating we are not putting the two things together at the same time."

Australia took four late wickets amid a devastating spell with the ball to grab a stronghold on their way to sealing the Ashes after England had fought back on day two of the third Test at the MCG.

Mitchell Starc claimed the scalps of Zak Crawley and Dawid Malan in successive balls before Victorian debutant Scott Boland had Haseeb Hameed caught behind and bowled Jack Leach to leave the visitors reeling.

England were 31-4 at stumps, trailing by 51 runs as Australia, who lead the series 2-0, look to clinch the Ashes in Melbourne. Joe Root (12*) and Ben Stokes (2*) will resume at the crease on day three.

The visitors had rallied to keep the Boxing Day Test alive, having dismissed Australia for 267 led by veteran James Anderson with 4-33.

All this after drama forced the resumption of play to be delayed after a coronavirus scare within the England camp, before all the players were cleared for an 11am local start.

Australia had resumed at 61-1 after England were all out for 185 on the first day. Marcus Harris resumed at the crease and top scored with 76 on his home deck.

England had made good inroads into the Australia batting order at 110-4, dismissing number one Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne for 1 and vice-captain Steve Smith for 16 from Chris Wood (71-2) and Anderson respectively.

Harris was the only Australian to score more than 40, with Travis Head (27) getting a start before falling to Ollie Robinson (64-2), who had a hamstring scare but played on.

England appeared set for a nominal first-innings deficit before a late cameo from Starc (24*) and captain Pat Cummins (21) opened up an 82-run lead.

However, Australia turned the game in a stunning final 45 minutes with Cummins almost having Crawley caught behind for a duck when Alex Carey botched a chance, before the English opener went in the next over to Starc (11-2).

Starc trapped Malan lbw next ball despite a review, before Boland was introduced to the attack, having Hameed caught by Carey before clean bowling Leach two balls later.

Starc misses rare Boxing Day hat-trick

Starc almost claimed the first Boxing Day Test Ashes hat-trick since Shane Warne in 1994 when he dismissed Crawley and Malan in successive deliveries. England skipper Root survived a close call on the hat-trick ball which had the MCG crowd on their feet as it whizzed past the bat.

Local hero fires up crowd

Local debutant Boland only managed one wicket in the first innings but received great support from his home crowd during his brief batting innings before a double strike with his only over after being thrown the ball late in the day.

England suffered a coronavirus scare ahead of day two of the third Ashes Test against Australia at the MCG.

The players and management were forced to remain at their hotel after a positive COVID-19 test was recorded within the team's family group.

Players and staff had to await the results of their own coronavirus tests before eventually being given the all-clear to head to the stadium.

England, who trail the series 2-0, were bowled out for 185 on day one after Australia won the toss and put the tourists in.

Australia will resume on 61-1 after James Anderson accounted for David Warner (38) before the close of play on day one.

Pat Cummins need only to avoid defeat in Melbourne to retain the Ashes after one-sided victories in Brisbane and Adelaide.

A century from KL Rahul helped India take charge of the first Test in South Africa as the tourists closed day one on 272-3 at SuperSport Park.

After Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to bat, Rahul led the way with a classy innings as Lungi Ngidi (3-45) was the only man to take any wickets.

Rahul spent 12 overs in the 90s before finally reaching three figures and the opener was still there on 122 at stumps.

The stand-in vice-captain and Mayank Agarwal (60) saw India through to lunch on 83-0 as the hosts struggled to get anything out of a flat track in Centurion, ultimately putting on an opening partnership of 117, India's first century opening stand in South Africa since 2010.

However, after waiting over 40 overs for the first wicket, Ngidi claimed two in as many balls by trapping Agarwal lbw after a successful review, before Cheteshwar Pujara was caught by Keegan Petersen at short leg off the next delivery after he got thick inside edge onto his thigh pad.

It was not a sign of things to come though as Kohli came to the crease and added another 82 with Rahul before edging Ngidi to Wiaan Mulder at first slip for 35.

Taking that key wicket also failed to spark South Africa into life, though, as Ajinkya Rahane carried on where Agarwal and Kohli had left off, upping the tempo as India added 115 for the loss of just one wicket in the final session.

Rahul and Rahane (40 not out) ended day one on an unbroken partnership of 73 to put India in a strong position.

Proteas toil in the field

It was an admittedly bad toss to lose for Dean Elgar, but he will still have surely been expecting more than one of his bowlers to get their name in the wicket column on the opening day of the series.

Ngidi worked hard for his three wickets, but Kagiso Rabada (0-51), debutant Marco Jansen (0-61), Mulder (0-49) and Keshav Maharaj (0-58) rarely troubled the India batters.

Patience rewarded for Rahul

To go unbeaten through the first day of a Test match is always an impressive feat, but it was the way Rahul built his innings that was particularly noteworthy.

The 29-year-old took few risks, especially when closing in on three figures, and has now registered a Test hundred against every team he has played at least two games against (Australia, England, Sri Lanka, West Indies and South Africa).

He has faced 248 balls, and might will look to make more hay while the sun shines in Centurion on day two.

Jonny Bairstow said England would face a "huge morning session" on day two of the third Test after Australia got off to a flying start in Melbourne.

Armed with a 2-0 series lead and needing only a draw at the MCG to retain the Ashes, Australia bowled out England for 185 and then raced to 61-1 at stumps.

The game could yet turn, but England cannot afford to allow Australia to build a big lead, after the one-sided nature of the previous contests in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Captain Joe Root top-scored with 50 for England on Boxing Day, with Bairstow weighing in with 35, but the openers failed and tenacity was widely lacking as Australia picked up cheap wickets. Dawid Malan showed some grit but made just 14 runs, sharing in a stand of 48 with Root before becoming the third of Pat Cummins' three victims.

Root's innings gave him a ninth Test half-century in Australia, the most by a touring player in the country without having gone on to make a hundred.

Bairstow told the BBC's Test Match Special: "To lose the toss and get put in on a pitch that was doing plenty, I thought we grafted pretty well first up. Dawid and Joe put on another good partnership. We were really unfortunate to lose Dawid before lunch, otherwise that would have been a good session for us.

"We've seen there's a little more inconsistent bounce this evening. Marcus Harris got one on the glove and the following ball didn't carry through to the keeper. We'll be looking to exploit those areas in the morning; the morning session will be a huge session and let's see how we go."

Harris was left with a bleeding finger after being hit by a ball from Ben Stokes that bounced sharply. The Australia opener will resume alongside nightwatchman Nathan Lyon in the morning after James Anderson had David Warner caught for 38 by Zak Crawley shortly before the close.

Warner had been typically aggressive as he looked to compound England's misery, but a thick edge to Crawley at gully ended his assault.

"He was always looking to put pressure back on our bowlers. That's how he plays," Bairstow said. "He's scored runs in this series and previously, so it was a big boost to pick him up just before the end, and we'll come back in the morning, all guns blazing and ready to go."

Australia did not let Warner's wicket dampen their enjoyment of the day.

Captain Cummins and spinner Lyon both returned figures of 3-36, while Cameron Green and debutant Scott Boland chipped in with a wicket apiece.

Mitchell Starc removed Root and Bairstow as he took 2-54, and the paceman said on BT Sport: "It was quite a bit tacky underfoot and the spikes didn't really grab until that last session, so there was maybe not the air speed from us all today, but I thought we still bowled really well.

"We probably bowled a fraction fuller than England in that first session for them, and Pat was fantastic to get those first wickets and get us under way.

"Collectively, [bowling England out for] 185 is a pretty good day for us today."

Boland said it had been "a very special day", as the 32-year-old Melburnian made his Test bow and had a wicket – dismissing Mark Wood lbw – and two catches to show for it.

Starc was full of praise, saying: "It was awesome, the big Victorian here at his home ground to get his cap. He said he was quite nervous under a couple of those catches, but to get his first wicket at his home ground on the day of his debut was fantastic to see, and I think that might just calm him down for the second innings."

Australia tightened their grip on the Ashes as another abject performance from England meant it was a brutal Boxing Day for the tourists in Melbourne.

On day one of the third Test, a must-win match for England, Joe Root's men were dismissed for 185 and saw Australia race to 61-1 at stumps.

Australia are seeking to secure a third consecutive men's Ashes series win on home soil, while England's mission is to somehow make the contest competitive.

After bruising defeats in Brisbane and Adelaide, the evidence of day one pointed to more incoming misery for Root and co.

Having made six and a duck in Adelaide, Haseeb Hameed again fell without scoring at the top of the England order as the opener perished to returning Australia captain Pat Cummins.

His edge through to Alex Carey in the second over gave Cummins a 100th Test wicket on home soil, and a 101st was not long in arriving as the skipper prised out England's second opener, with a gully catch accounting for the recalled Zak Crawley.

Crawley made 12, and his exit meant that, at 13-2, England were again looking for Dawid Malan and captain Root to perform a rescue act. They enjoyed a century alliance in Adelaide but here could only put on 48 for the third wicket, with Malan edging through to David Warner at slip to fall for 14 and give Cummins a third victim.

Root reached 50 but went no further, a promising innings ending in disappointing fashion as he tickled Mitchell Starc through to Carey. And although Ben Stokes made 25 and Jonny Bairstow 35, England needed more from their middle order due to the openers' failings.

Poor shot selection accounted for most of the England wickets, and the theme continued as Jos Buttler fell for three before tea, lobbing spinner Nathan Lyon to debutant Scott Boland at deep mid wicket.

Australia wrapped up the innings when Lyon had both Jack Leach (13) and Ollie Robinson (22) caught in the deep to secure figures of 3-36.

Paceman Cummins posted the same numbers as Lyon, and the Australia skipper, who missed the Adelaide tussle after being deemed a close contact of a COVID-19 case, would have relished the sight of his batsmen piling on the runs in their reply.

Blood drawn, but Aussies fight on

Australian only require a draw at the MCG to retain the Ashes, but their instinct will always be to go flat out for victory against the old enemy. Boland, a 32-year-old Melbourne native, made two catches and snagged a popular first Test wicket when he pinned Mark Wood lbw, and the day ended in English despair when an edge from Marcus Harris through the slip cordon ran away for four. Harris had treatment for a bloodied finger moments earlier after being hit on the glove by Stokes, but battled on.

Banishing MCG blues

Australia have lost two of their last three men's Tests on Boxing Day (W1), being beaten twice by India after having been undefeated in their seven Tests prior starting on December 26 (W5, D2). They have won only one of their last three Boxing Day Tests played against England (D1, L1). James Anderson gave England brief hope when he had Warner (38) caught low down by Zak Crawley before the close – the 10th time he has dismissed Warner in Tests – but this was emphatically Australia's day.

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