Silence is golden as Aussies strike again

A LARGE section of English fans in the world record crowd that turned up at the MCG for day one of the fourth Test suddenly went very quiet late yesterday afternoon.

It happened after a Mitchell Johnson delivery crashed into the off stump of Jonny Bairstow.

As has been the case all series, the left-arm quick gave his man a send-off, giving Bairstow, the replacement for dumped keeper Matt Prior, a cold stare after picking up his wicket for 10.

It has been a series which Australia has dominated, as it did with the ball for most of yesterday. After Aussie captain Michael Clarke's somewhat surprising decision to send the opposition in, England was in a tricky position at 6-226 by stumps.

Besides those die-hard England fans that have made the trip Down Under to watch their struggling team in action, the men in Baggy Greens were willed on by an attendance of 91,092 - an official world record for a game of Test cricket.

The Eden Gardens stadium in India had an approximate capacity of 120,000 before upgrades reduced its size. The ground was regularly filled to overflowing, but an official attendance was never recorded.

The huge Boxing Day crowd was, however, silenced for long occasions because of the slow English scoring rate. From the 35th to 50th overs, the tourists managed to score only 18 runs.

That was largely because of workhorse pacemen Ryan Harris (2-32 off 20 overs) and Peter Siddle (1-48 off 22) being so disciplined with their line and length.

Harris should have had three, with Kevin Pietersen (67 not out) being given two lives off his bowling.

Firstly, he was caught on the boundary by an off-balance Nathan Coulter-Nile, who carried the ball over the boundary for six, when Pietersen was on just six.

The outspoken English batsman was then dropped on 41 at mid-wicket by George Bailey in what was a sharp chance.

Johnson's dismissal of Bairstow gave him his 25th scalp of the series, putting him past Ray Lindwall into ninth place on the all-time Australian wicket-takers list.

The Aussie attack may be without Shane Watson, who was forced to leave the field during his seventh over after suffering pain to his right groin. A decision on whether he bowls today will be made this morning.



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