David Warner struck 103 and Steve Smith once again made England toil with an unbeaten 65 as Australia ended day one of the fourth Ashes Test in command on 244-3.
After Smith won his first toss of the series and elected to bat on a flat pitch at the MCG, it was another tough day for the tourists, who are 3-0 down in the series and seeking to avoid a whitewash having already given up the urn.
- Warner helped Australia dominate a wicket-less opening session before benefiting from a slice of luck to bring up his 21st Test hundred. He was caught at mid-on for 99, only to be called back when replays showed England debutant Tom Curran had over-stepped.
- Following an encouraging afternoon for England, which brought just 43 runs and the wickets of Cameron Bancroft (26) and Warner, Australia reclaimed the initiative in the evening as Smith and Shaun Marsh (31) reached stumps unbeaten.
- Moeen Ali endured a miserable day having been passed fit to play, bowling just six overs at a cost of 35 runs. Part-time spinner Dawid Malan was ultimately used more by Joe Root on day one.
-- cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) December 26, 2017
MOMENT OF THE DAY
Curran provided one positive for England on an otherwise disappointing day, but the rookie seamer was dramatically denied a memorable maiden Test scalp. He looked to have ousted Warner for 99 when a mis-cued pull looped to mid-on, but the batsman escaped due to replays revealing a no-ball. Thankfully for England, Warner only added four more to his total before falling to James Anderson.
- The lowest score Australia have made the six previous times Warner has hit a century at home in the first innings of the match is 517-7 declared. The only time they did not declare, they scored 550 (vs South Africa, 2012/13).
- Smith has not been dismissed in Tests at the MCG since 29 December 2014, when he was caught at leg slip off India's Umesh Yadav for 14. Smith made 192 in the first innings of that Test.
- This is Smith's 18th half-century in the first innings of a Test match. He has converted 14 of the previous 17 into centuries.
"It was a big roar when he [Curran] dismissed me, but then obviously the reversal was a louder noise," - Warner discusses the drama that surrounded his let-off on 99.
"It was horrible, the worst feeling I've had, but looking at the positives, I get to get my first wicket twice," - a smiling Curran tries to stay upbeat in an interview with BT Sport.
HOW DO ENGLAND SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE STEVE SMITH?
England's hopes of claiming 20 wickets in Melbourne already appear slim, particularly with Smith looking set for his third hundred in four matches. Australia's captain came into this match with a series average of 142 and you would bet on that figure being higher by the time the teams head to Sydney next week.