After losing 3rd test match at WACA, England is determined to make a comeback in the Boxing Day test match at MCG. Test match wins always depends on how well you play in each session and each session has its own importance. One brilliant session puts you on the road of victory then one poor session can spoil your chances of winning, so you have to dominate all the session you play and certainly England failed to do so in Perth. England started well by reducing Aussies to 59 for 6 but after that they became complacent and couldn't stop lower-order Aussie batsmen from scoring runs and as a result Mitchell Johnson scored half-century and helped Australia to post fairly competitive total on the pitch which had something in it for the bowlers. England dominated first session of the test match but allow Aussies to dominate next one and that proved costly to England at Perth as Aussies got the chance to make a comeback in the test match.
England started well in their response to Aussie total and were 78 for 1 but comeback man Mitchell Johnson proved too dangerous for them as he was allowed to gain the confidence while batting and that reflected in his bowling as he tormented English batting badly and reduced England for 187 and allowed Aussies to take a decisive lead of 81. Mitchell Johnson ended up with figures of 38 for 6 in first innings and that spell of Johnson gave momentum to Aussies to dominate the rest of the match and that eventually resulted in victory for Aussies. Now series is squared.
England must have learnt lessons from the 3rd test match and will not going not make the same mistakes again but bad news for them is injuries to their main bowlers. Anderson and Finn are doubtful starters for the Boxing Day test match and if they will not take the field then that will cost England badly. Staurt Broad is already out of the series due to injury. On the other hand situation of Australia is also not good because captain Ricky Ponting is also suffering with finger injury and doubtful starter for the Boxing Day test match. Uncapped 24-year-old Usman Khawaja, a Pakistan-born top-order batsman, has been named as stand-by for the Boxing Day Test if Ponting fails to prove his fitness. Simon Katch is already out of the series due to injury and replacement Phil Hughes failed to live upto the expectations in Perth as he got out cheaply in both the innings. Vice-Captain Michael Clarke's form is also a concern for Australia. So worries is on both the sides. Although England's middle-order batsman Kevin Pietersen is confident of bouncing back in the series.
From England's point of view good thing for them is the form of their opening batsmen. Both Strauss and Cook had given them good starts in the series and hopefully will continue the same. From Australian point of view form of Watson and Hussey is a matter of joy as both of them got the runs in the series. Especially Mike Hussey batted brilliantly in the series and he played major role in Australian victory at Perth. England have to find out ways to get Hussey's wicket cheaply if they want to win Boxing Day test match and the series. For Ponting it is important that they don't lose Boxing Day test match if they lose then Engalnd will retain the Ashes and that will end the career of Ponting as well. So Boxing Day test is crucial for Ponting's career and win or loss will decide his fate as a captain and batsman.