Australia win toss and bat in fourth Ashes Test


Australia won the toss and chose to bat in the fourth Ashes Test against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

Australia have already reclaimed the Ashes after taking an unassailable three-nil lead in the five-Test series and are chasing a 5-0 whitewash over the beleaguered tourists.

“A pretty nice wicket, looking for a good first innings total,” Australia skipper Steve Smith said at the toss.

“The pressure’s off a little having won the Ashes, but winning is a habit.”

England captain Joe Root admitted he wanted to bat first under sunny skies.

“We have to make the most of it this morning and take early wickets. There’s still plenty to play for in this series,” Root said.

Young paceman Tom Curran will make his Test debut in England’s only change replacing Craig Overton, who has a rib injury.

Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc, who is Australia’s leading wicket-taker in the series with 19, is missing out with a bruised heel and has been replaced by Jackson Bird.

Australia have won half of the 56 Tests played at the vast MCG, although England won there in 1998 and 2010.

Cricket Australia expect the Boxing Day crowd to likely to surpass the 91,112 that made Ashes history in 2013-14 even though England had already lost the series.


Australia – David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (capt), Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird.

England – Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Joe Root (capt), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI) Sundaram Ravi (IND)

TV umpire: Joel Wilson (WIS)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)