Ashes 2013: Honours even after tight first session of fourth Test

For a fourth time in a row Australia carried the same team into a test. For the fourth time Michael Clarke won the toss. For the first time this series Clarke decided to bowl.
 
However, in overcast, humid conditions with slight greenness to the pitch Clarke was left to wonder at lunch about his decision. England lost only the one wicket, captain Alastair Cook, in the first session, and went into lunch at 1/71, with Michael Carberry 26 not out and Joe Root unbeaten on 11.

One wicket for the session, having put the opposition in, was an a disappointing outcome for Clarke and a satisfying one for England. 
 
With 84,000 people already squeezing into the MCG on the opening morning, Australia was unable to claim the advantage offered by the conditions.
 
Unsatisfyingly for Clarke, his weapon this series and the man doubtless foremost in his mind when he chose to bowl, Mitchell Johnson, was unable to have any impact. Johnson’s first over offered two full tosses, a couple more balls wide, a boundary and eight runs from the bat. His next over was better, but Clarke made the rapid switch and brought Johnson off for Peter Siddle in only the sixth over. Siddle was expensive early - 21 in just his first three overs – but was the man to take the only wicket of the morning, 
 
Harris, included in the unchanged line-up for the fourth successive Test despite the grumble in his knee that he has been nursed through the series, was getting movement, but Cook initially at least looked more composed than he had throughout the series.
 
Harris was the pick of the quick bowlers conceding just five runs runs from his eight overs and was unlucky not to have Michael Carberry’s wicket when Steve Smith spilt a tough chance at third slip diving across to his right in front of Clarke.  
 
On the cusp of the break Harris caught Carberry on the crease not offering a shot, but the lbw appeal was denied. The Australians asked for a second opinion whereupon the video found the ball shaving the top of the stumps with insufficient contact to be able to over-rule the central umpire’s call.
 
Lyon was tried in the first hour of the session - in just the tenth over – and immediately extracted turn and bounce but no wicket.
 
It might be assumed Clarke’s decision to put England in was a poor one given the lack of penetration but the score does not necessarily mean the decision was wrong so much as the bowling was unable to prove it was right.
 
After his early looseness Siddle changed to the member's end and tightened his line, shifted around the wicket and teased Cook into fencing at a ball, neither forward nor back, and he edged thickly to Clarke at second slip.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop