England's Barmy Army haven't learned lesson

GREG BUCKLE
Last updated 07:21 27/12/2013
Fairfax Australia

After sending England in, Australia claims three late wickets to have the tourists 6/226 at stumps on the first day of the Fourth Ashes Test Match at the MCG.

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England's Barmy Army fans haven't learnt their lesson, or they're happy to just keep mouthing off and seeing what happens.

Australia's players, led by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, were more than happy to gesture in the Barmy Army's direction as England's wickets tumbled during the third Test in Perth and on Thursday in Melbourne the same scenario unfolded.

Left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson may have dominated the series with 23 wickets in the first three Tests and another two scalps on Thursday's opening day of the MCG clash, but it seems the Pommie fans still don't rate him.

So when Johnson sliced through Jonny Bairstow's defences late on the first day to bowl the wicketkeeper/batsman for 10, the Aussies couldn't help themselves.

"They just finished telling us how shit he was bowling and he just smacked back the off stump so we thought we'd let them know as a team," Australia's Ryan Harris said.

"Everyone in the slips cordon and I was at leg gully turned around and gave them the thumbs up."

A world-record crowd of over 91,000 packed into the ground to see Australia invite England to bat first in overcast conditions.

Harris said the massive crowd had lifted the home side, with another big attendance expected on day two.

"The noise out there was unbelievable," said Harris, who also claimed two wickets on Thursday.

"The boys ... they're just so pumped that they played in front of that many people.

"The noise at the end when Mitch was charging in was just enormous."

Australia allrounder Shane Watson limped off during his seventh over with a sore groin but returned to take a catch at first slip in the evening session.

Harris said he was unsure if Watson would bowl again in the match.

Australia could claim first-day honours but not by much, Harris said.

"To have them 6-226 at the end of the day with a couple of chances go down is a pretty good day," said Harris, who had Pietersen missed twice.

England vice-captain Ian Bell said the tourists were hopeful of pushing beyond 300.

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