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Australia aim to extend domition

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 Dec 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Melbourne, Dec 25: Australia will aim to continue their domition, while a bruised England will look to restore some lost pride as the fourth Ashes Test begins at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here on Tuesday.

The Steve Smith-captained Australia have already pocketed the series having won the first three matches handsomely — by 10 wickets in Brisbane, 120 runs in Adelaide and an innings and 41 runs in Perth.

But the hosts will now seek a repeat of the 5-0 sweep at home four years ago, while a beleaguered England will be scrapping for pride, particularly with question marks looming over several of their senior players.

Both teams made one injury-driven change apiece to their respective squads that featured in the third Test at the WACA ground in Perth.

Australia will be without pace spearhead Mitchell Starc, who is out with a bruised heel. Starc is Australia’s leading wicket-taker in the series with 19 scalps.

He will be replaced by right-arm pacer Jackson Bird whose last Test appearance was exactly one year back, in the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan.

England will have to make do without the services of seamer Craig Overton, one of their few bright spots on tour thus far. Overton has a fractured rib and makes way for Tom Curran, the 22-year-old quick from Surrey who will be making his Test debut.

Beset by off-field problems and finding Australia too hot to handle on the park, it has been a tour to forget so far for Joe Root-captained visitors.

England have also been let down by the struggling experienced trio of former captain and opening batsman Alastair Cook, pacer Stuart Broad and spinner Moeen Ali.

Root himself has come under the microscope after making just 176 runs in six innings at a modest 29.33, numbers that pale in comparison with his Australian counterpart Smith.

The 28-year-old Smith, who began the series with a brilliant century in the first Test in Brisbane, followed it up with 239 in Perth and averages a whopping 142, one of the main reasons behind Australia’s domint show.

England have been in touch briefly during the three games but were not able to grab their moments, .

They will, however, take heart from the fact that they won at the MCG as recently as in 2010, though that will be tempered by the knowledge that Smith has made a century in each of his last three Boxing Day appearances in Melbourne. IANS

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