Melbourne, December 29: Alastair Cook became the first player to carry his bat in an Ashes series for 46 years, but rain in Melbourne severely dented England's hopes of victory in the fourth Test.
Having already fallen 3-0 down in the series and surrendered the Ashes urn, Cook's double century had put England in a commanding position on 491-9 in response to Australia's first-innings 327 at the end of day three.
James Anderson, who later drew suggestions of ball tampering by thumbing the ball in Australia's second innings, was instantly dismissed at the start of day four as Cook wrote his name into the history books, with the hosts reaching 103-2 to trail by 61 runs before heavy rain brought an early halt to proceedings.
- It took just one ball for Australia to remove Anderson for a duck as England failed to add to their total, Cook becoming the first England player to carry his bat since Michael Atherton against New Zealand in 1997.
- Chris Woakes (1-24) and Anderson (1-20) removed the struggling Cameron Bancroft (27) and Usman Khawaja (11) respectively, with David Warner unbeaten on 40 and captain Steve Smith (25 not out) at the early close.
- Rain twice brought play to a stop and the third interruption proved permanent as play was called for the day at 17:00 (local time).
MOMENT OF THE DAY
Anderson was caught by Bancroft at short leg with the first ball of the day and that allowed Cook to leave the field to a standing ovation after a surviving an entire innings.
- Alastair Cook is the first player to carry their bat in the Ashes since Bill Lawry (Sydney, 1970-71). Geoffrey Boycott (Perth 1979-80) was not playing in an Ashes series, merely an England tour of Australia. - England's 491 is the highest Test score in which a player has carried their bat.
- Chris Woakes and James Anderson (both 6) have taken the most wickets of top-four Australia batsmen in the series (Overton 3, Broad 2, Moeen Ball Curran 1).
"I went to see the umpires. The umpires have got absolutely no problem with it at all. We've had a good couple of days and there hasn't been too much positive press from their point of view. It's a bit of pommie bashing You've got to laugh it off and put up with it," England coach Trevor Bayliss dismisses any talk of ball tampering in an interview with BT Sport.
A DRAW ON THE HORIZON?
It will be now be an early 10:00 (local time) start on day five to make up for the lost time, but England have a mountain of work to do with eight Australia wickets to get and a potential chase. A draw that will only to add to the tourists' frustration seems the most likely outcome.