Australia have put themselves in the box seat in the fourth Test after an impressive display with the ball saw them take nine wickets on the opening day in Durham, leaving the tourists evens to secure their first victory of the series.
England won the toss and opted to bat, despite no side scoring more than 400 on the Chester-le-Street track when batting first.
The decision seemed justified as England made their way towards 150, but the wicket of Kevin Pietersen left the home side on 149/3 and instigated something of a collapse.
Alastair Cook’s side then lost seven wickets for just 65 runs as their batting line-up failed again after a poor showing at Old Trafford last time out.
Only the slight wag of the tail to take England up towards the 250 mark spared them a sub-200 score and it will again be down to the bowlers to bail out their faltering batsmen.
Nathan Lyon was the star with the ball, taking 4-42 on Australia’s best day of the tour so far.
England’s toil with the bat has seen them fail to register a score over 400 so far in the series and on what looks to be a pitch worthy of a big score they could be punished here, something reflected in their 11/8 to take the spoils.
The Aussies will be confident of taking a wicket very early in the morning and it will then be a test of the English bowling attack.
The decision to open with David Warner may prove fruitful for Michael Clarke’s men.
Warner showed glimpses of his beligerent best in the second innings in Manchester as he hit a quick-fire 41.
The New South Wales batsman has undoubted ability and with five Test centuries under his belt could relish what looks a good batting pitch, he is 9/2 to top score in Australia’s first innings.
Michael Clarke found his feet at Old Trafford and the skipper will be keen to get his pads on and take on the England attack.
The 32-year-old hit a sublime 187 and a 30* in the north-west before the weather ended the match and the in-form man is 5/2 to head the Aussies’ scoring in the first innings.
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