The absence of Shane Warne has placed extra pressure on McGrath. Tall, rangy and quick enough to cause outbreaks of buttock-clenching among the lower order, McGrath immediately strengthened Australia's position with his hostility.
First to succumb was Graham Thorpe who, after looking every bit as solid as Mark Butcher, was caught hooking by Justin Langer, positioned virtually in the umpire's pocket at square leg. The hook is one of Thorpe's bread and butter strokes but he was unlucky to find the lone fielder in an otherwise empty quarter of the field.
The success fired McGrath and set up a spiky contest with Dominic Cork. After a series of well-directed short-balls and with a couple of choice words thrown in, Cork took the bait. He ended by splicing a short ball to Stuart MacGill at mid-on.
At 319 for 6, England's deficit was still substantial. In need of support, Mark Ramprakash was joined by Robert Croft, who helped to add 42 runs before chopping on to Mike Kasprowicz. Darren Gough went next, lbw to the third ball of McGrath's second spell for a duck, a score reproduced by Alan Mullally after he skied his first ball to Kasprowicz at mid-on. Fraser survived the hat-trick ball but couldn't last until lunch to leave Ramprakash, stranded unbeaten on 69.
Australia won toss
Fourth day of five: lunchtime board
AUSTRALIA - First Innings 485 (I A Healy 134, S R Waugh 112, A D Mullally 5-105).
ENGLAND - First Innings
(Overnight: 299 for 4; MA Butcher 116)
G P Thorpe c Langer b McGrath 77
M R Ramprakash not out 65
D G Cork c MacGill b McGrath 0
R D B Croft b Kasprowicz 23
D Gough lbw McGrath 0
A D Mullally c Kasprowicz b McGrath 0
A R C Fraser c M Waugh b McGrath 1
Extras (b 1, lb9, nb12) 22
Total (128.2 overs) 375
Bowling: McGrath 34.2-11-85-5; Fleming 27-4-83-0; Kasprowicz 29-7-82- 2; MacGill 24-4-70-1; S Waugh 3-0-17-0; Ponting 3-0-10-0; M Waugh 8-1- 18-1.
Umpires: K T Francis and D B Hair.Reuse content