Australia coach Darren Lehmann has said that his team are no longer confident of sealing an Ashes whitewash after giving up a big first innings lead at the MCG.
Driven largely by an unbeaten 244 from Alastair Cook England moved to 491 for 9 by stumps on day three to lead by 164 runs.
Lehmann feels that Australia would have to be hyper-aggressive to get any sort of result out of the match with a bit of rain around on the two remaining days.
Speaking after play on day three Lehmann said: “We’re a 164 runs behind, we’ll have to get 450 in a day.
“How do you want us to do that? Slog?
“We’ve got to worry about getting past them first and batting well. That’s the first challenge and a different challenge for the group, which is great.
“We’ll hopefully bat through the day and re-assess after tomorrow, that’s all we can do. England scored reasonably quickly, but you’d think we’re not going to score as quickly as that.
“We certainly didn’t go into the game looking that far ahead (at a whitewash). You only concentrate on this game.”
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Lehmann defended seamer Jackson Bird, in the team for the injured Mitchell Starc, who has sent down thirty wicketless overs in the match so far and has been the subject of Barmy Army mockery.
The coach said: “I thought he bowled good spells at times but was a bit wayward at other times.
“That’s the pressure when you’re coming back into the game and you’re trying to get wickets. On other occasions he was very good.
“It’s always tough to get wickets on those types of tracks. You’ve got to have some air speed and some control. He’ll be better for the run.”