Harris dictates proceedings at MCG

Australia

Seamer Ryan Harris hailed batsman Ian Bell's dismissal as the epitome of Australia's succcess, as England slumped to 226 for six on day one of the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Seamer Ryan Harris hailed batsman Ian Bell's dismissal as the epitome of Australia's succcess, as England slumped to 226 for six on day one of the fourth Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Harris and fellow right-armers Peter Siddle and Shane Watson – and left-armer Mitchell Johnson – have enjoyed a superb stretch of form en route to an unassailable three-nil series lead.

Thursday was no different, as visiting captain Alastair Cook, opener Michael Carberry, the talented Joe Root, all-rounder Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow consistently obliged the opposition's dominance.

While half-centurion Kevin Pietersen remained unbeaten on a fighting 67, the most of which was gathered during a telling alliance alongside Bell, seven overs before the second new ball spoke volumes of England's inability to successfully combat Harris and company.

"Bowling in areas they're not comfortable is what we didn't do in England, especially with Bell. We sat down at the start of the series and really concentrated on him and trying to tie him down, and that worked with him nicking one," said Harris.

"The same as the rest of the batsmen, we're trying to tie them down and put as much pressure on them as possible and make them make the play. If we're bowling like we did here, we're going to have days like that where they're not scoring many runs for the day because we're putting so much pressure on them."

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The right-handed Pietersen's vigil, which spanned 152 deliveries and several hours, was uncharacteristically circumspect. The innings, too, would have read considerably shorter – had 12th man Nathan Coulter-Nile not stumbled over the fine-leg boundary rope after holding onto a good catch.

Coulter-Nile was substituting Watson, who complained of a minor groin injury. Midwicket fielder George Bailey, too, dropped a sharp chance offered by the half-centurion.

"I think they are aggressive normally, I just don't think we're letting them be aggressive. Cooky came out this morning and was aggressive, and once we got through that first hour we pulled it back and he got himself out I guess. Pietersen is normally aggressive but we've bowled well enough to him to not let him dictate and play his own game," concluded Harris.

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