England fight back in Durham

Alastair Cook (AFP)
Alastair Cook (AFP)

Chester-le-Street - The fourth Ashes test was evenly balanced at lunch on day three after England quickly wrapped up the final five wickets of Australia's first innings but lost Joe Root cheaply to lie eight runs behind.

Resuming Sunday 16 runs adrift on 222-5, the Australians added just 48 before being bowled out for 270, with overnight centurion Chris Rogers (110) one of two batsmen to fall to offspinner Graeme Swann before the new ball was taken.

James Anderson also had a double for his first wickets of the match before Stuart Broad completed his ninth five-wicket haul in tests by trapping Ryan Harris (28) lbw.

However, a satisfying morning's work by England was tarnished when Root was bowled by a pearler from Harris for just 2, leaving Alastair Cook on 17, Jonathan Trott on 5 and the team on 24-1 at lunch.

The English lead the five-match series 2-0 and have already retained the urn as holders. A draw or victory in Chester-le-Street's first Ashes test will seal a third straight series win over their great rivals.

Rogers had been a thorn in England's side on Saturday as he battled to a maiden test century in the face of hostile bowling — particularly from Broad — and overcast conditions but could only add nine runs under much sunnier skies before the "sweetest innings" of his career ended.

Swann had already removed Brad Haddin lbw by the time he found the faintest glance on Rogers' glove, with the ball hitting his pad and rearing up to the short-leg area where wicketkeeper Matt Prior darted forward to take a wonderful diving catch. Australia reviewed but the much-maligned Hot Spot did its job and Rogers departed head down but to a warm ovation from spectators.

A back-foot slog for four by Harris gave Australia the lead but his fellow bowlers couldn't cope with a resurgent Anderson. He finally found the line and length missing on Saturday to force Peter Siddle's edge to Cook at first slip.

Nathan Lyon was unlucky to depart lbw as Anderson's delivery was sliding down the legside, but Australia chose not to review, and umpire Tony Hill made another error when he gave Harris not out to Broad when the ball was hitting middle stump.

England reviewed and there was laughter around the Riverside ground when replays showed how plumb it was. Harris didn't even wait for the reversal of the decision by Hill, with the players already on the way to the pavilion by the time Hill raised his finger to an empty wicket.

Cook looked in decent touch during the reply, the first of his three boundaries, but Root's dismissal has set England back.

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