Strauss, Cook revive England
Centuries from openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook helped England wipe out the deficit and bring the tourists right back into the first Ashes Test against Australia in Brisbane on Sunday.
Starting the fourth day of the Test 202 runs in arrears, England had reached 309-1 with a lead of 88 at the close of play with Cook on 132 not out and Jonathan Trott (54) at the crease.
Although they could not match the heights of Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin's partnership of 307 that put Australia in charge on the third day, Strauss and Cook's opening stand of 188 could end up being just as important at the end of the five-Test series.
Image: Alastair Cook congratulates Andrew Strauss for his century against Australia during the first Ashes Test in Brisbane
Strauss scores his 4th Ashes ton
Skipper Strauss was the dominant of the two in the morning session as he was severe on Australian bowlers.
Strauss took a liking to Shane Watson as he hit four boundaries in Watson's five overs. He brought up his first century in Australia with a late cut off Xavier Doherty.
Strauss then seemed to lose his rhythm, scoring just 10 from his next 40 deliveries, before a rash cross-batted shot caused his demise.
Cook looked less assured, but ground his way to his second century against Australia. "It was my fourth Ashes hundred and every one of them is very special," said Strauss.
"I had a bit of luck, it wasn't the best technical innings I've ever played, but in terms of importance it's up there," Strauss said.
Image: Andrew Strauss celebrates after scoring his fourth Ashes hundred against Australia in Brisbane
Cook's good form continues
Cook clinched his 14th Test century, only his second against Australia, with a cut shot that sent the ball fizzing to the boundary just after tea to add to his first innings 67.
Cook was joined by Trott, who rode his luck a little with some loose shots but helped put on 121 for the second wicket as Australian heads dropped after a long, hard day in the field.
"It's ebbed and flowed," said Watson.
"And it's always going to be like that throughout the whole series. A couple of little passages will decide it and I hope there's a little passage in it for us tomorrow," he added.
Image: Alastair Cook reacts after reaching his Ashes hundred in Brisbane
Aussies were poor in field
Australia's bowling too was nothing much to speak off as they failed to make an impact.
In a day of few opportunities, Trott gave a slight chance to Michael Clarke at point off the bowling of Peter Siddle.
Australia's hero in England's first innings, Siddle was also unlucky in the morning session as Cook edged just wide of third slip and later Strauss missed his leg stump from an inside edge.
"We weren't able to sustain pressure for long enough," said Watson.
"Unfortunately all of us as a bowling unit weren't able to execute for long enough to build up the pressure," he added.
Even the umpire referral system, which saved Hussey's innings early on Saturday, went against the hosts when umpire Aleem Dar's refusal of Ben Hilfenhaus's appeal for leg-before-wicket against Trott was upheld after the review of the TV footage.
Image: Australia's Brad Haddin tries to stump England's Alastair Cook during the first Ashes Test in Brisbane