Ricky Ponting in frame as England dominate day two

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Australia captain Ricky Ponting had ugly clashes with both umpires as England pushed ahead to a commanding 346-run advantage after day two of the fourth Ashes Test.

England will resume on Tuesday at the MCG on 5-444 in reply to Australia’s embarrassing first-innings record low of 98.

Jonathan Trott (141 not out) Matt Prior (75 not out) shared an unbeaten partnership of 158, a sixth-wicket record for England at the MCG.

An England victory would give the tourists a 2-1 lead in the five-match series and allow them to retain the Ashes. This would add to the pressure on selectors to dump the under-siege Ponting.

Ponting and Australian pace bowler Peter Siddle face possible sanctions from the Sri Lankan match referee Ranjan Madugalle, who will view video footage before deciding on any charges.

South Africa-born Trott’s 211-ball hundred before 67,149 fans was his second for the series and third in five Tests against Australia.

Home-town hero Peter Siddle was a dominant force, taking 3-58 from 26 overs and grabbing two spectacular catches before England steadied after the tea break.

Resuming on 0-157, England lost openers Alastair Cook (82) and Andrew Strauss (69) in the morning session.

Cook fell 18 runs shy of his third century of the series, caught at first slip after an opening stand of 159 with Strauss.

Four overs later, Siddle struck again as his alarming bounce had Strauss top-edging to gully.

Pietersen, who survived a controversial caught-behind appeal on 49 against the bowling of Ryan Harris, was lbw to Siddle for 51.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin had convinced Ponting to call for a video review of the Pietersen caught-behind decision. But the referral was unsuccessful.

A furious Ponting demanded to know from umpire Aleem Dar, then his counterpart Tony Hill, why it was not out. Ponting also had an angry exchange with Pietersen, amid loud booing from the crowd.

Whether Ponting was being booed by Australian fans or the Barmy Army was unclear, and Pietersen was also jeered when he reached his half-century.

Mitchell Johnson (2-103) picked up the crucial wickets of Paul Collingwood (8) and Ian Bell (1), both caught at fine leg by Siddle.

Johnson thought he had struck again to have Prior caught behind for five. But in a massive blow to Australia, Dar told Prior to stay at the crease while he called for a video review which showed the bowler had over-stepped and no-balled.

Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland was reluctant to comment in detail on the Ponting incident.

‘‘At this stage, I wouldn’t be saying whether it’s good for the game, that sort of stuff – that’s appearances, let’s see what the actual substance was as well,’’ he said.

‘‘The match referee is effectively the tribunal, if you like. If there is a report, he’s the one who hears the report and makes a judgment on it.’’
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This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

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