Alastair Cook made his first Ashes century for almost seven years to lead England’s resurgence on day two of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
The 33-year-old, in his 151st Test, reached his hundred in the final over of the day to take the tourists to 192-2, a deficit of 135 runs.
The left-hander had struggled to make his mark at the top of the England order throughout the series and has only one century to his name in the past 12 months, but day two saw a return to the form that has brought him more Test runs than any other Englishman.
Australia, who have already secured the Ashes, looked set to push on from an overnight 244-3, with Steve Smith (76) and Shaun Marsh (61) extending their partnership past 100.
But when captain Smith became Tom Curran’s first Test wicket, it began a slide that saw the hosts lose their last seven wickets for 67 runs. Cook shared an unbroken stand of 112 with successor Joe Root, who is 49 not out.
On day three, it will be the goal of the third-wicket pair, and the rest of England’s batting, to earn a lead large enough to negate batting last on a surface on which the bounce could get lower.
|Fourth Ashes Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground (day two of five)|
|Australia 327 (119 overs): Warner 103, Smith 76, Broad 4-51|
|England 192-2 (57 overs): Cook 104*, Root 49*|