Rogers fifty boosts Australia reply

Hampshire Chronicle: Kevin Pietersen was more cautious than normal but still hit five boundaries in his unbeaten knock Kevin Pietersen was more cautious than normal but still hit five boundaries in his unbeaten knock

Chris Rogers' determined half-century retained a slender advantage for Australia after Mitchell Johnson went on the rampage again to hustle England out for 255 in the fourth Ashes Test at the MCG.

England subsided from 226 for six in less than an hour of an initially cloudy second morning, their last six wickets falling for 53, and then stoic opener Rogers (50 not out) gave the home reply some stability after the early loss of David Warner and Shane Watson.

Despite two wickets for James Anderson, Australia reached tea on 96 for three - Rogers deserving particular credit after being hit on the helmet by a Stuart Broad bouncer and needing attention for a cut to his cheekbone when he was on 16.

Johnson (five for 63) had reprised his demon-bowler role before lunch, having given England precious little respite throughout a series they already trail 3-0.

Thanks partly to some conspicuous compliance from Kevin Pietersen on this occasion, he took his wickets tally for the campaign to 28 in a spell which read 9-3-18-5 dating back to the previous evening.

Johnson saw off both overnight batsmen, Tim Bresnan (one) and Pietersen (71), in his first over.

Pietersen made his intention clear, to try to wrest the initiative here, when he smashed his only runs of the day from the first ball high over point off Ryan Harris.

But Johnson got one in the perfect place to Bresnan, unable to fend a short delivery to ground and easily caught by George Bailey stepping back from short leg.

Pietersen responded to the dismissal of the often reliable number eight with a failed attempt to counter-attack against Johnson.

The ambition and method appeared unrealistic, and ended with an astounding mow across the line which resulted in the loss of leg stump to the left-armer's extreme pace.

After Pietersen's hard graft on day one, it was a bizarre change of tack - even with the tail exposed and few remaining candidates to bat with him for any significant time.

Broad did stay long enough to collect two fours off Harris, and survive a caught-and-bowled chance to the same bowler, before Johnson produced a searing yorker to have him lbw.

It fell to Nathan Lyon, though, to complete the innings when Monty Panesar was bowled shouldering arms.

Australia's reply, as skies brightened, was soon minus Warner - whose skittish stay ended when he mistimed an attempted flick to leg off Anderson and skied an edge almost perpendicular in the crease to be caught by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Watson appeared slightly discomforted by the groin injury he had suffered bowling, and he fell to stiff drive and inside-edge behind off Ben Stokes.

Michael Clarke tried to get himself established either side of lunch, but lost his off bail when he left alone a delivery from Anderson which jagged in off the pitch.

Anderson almost pulled off a brilliant catch to then get rid of Steve Smith, too, but instead the batsman saw the ball pop from the fielder's grasp after he dived full length to his right to get a hand on a fierce pull at a Bresnan long hop.

Rogers carried on regardless, albeit with little fluency, and just managed to reach a near-three-hour 50 before tea - having hit seven fours from 133 balls.

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