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27/12/2013 06:16 GMT | Updated 27/12/2013 06:21 GMT

England Enjoy Best Ashes Day In Melbourne (PICTURES)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 27:  Jonny Bairstow of England celebrates with team-mates after taking a catch to dismiss George Bailey of Australia during day two of the Fourth Ashes Test Match between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 27, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)
Robert Prezioso via Getty Images
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 27: Jonny Bairstow of England celebrates with team-mates after taking a catch to dismiss George Bailey of Australia during day two of the Fourth Ashes Test Match between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 27, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

England's bowlers could hold their heads high after ensuring day two of the fourth Ashes Test was by far the best of a sorry series to date for Alastair Cook's tourists.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad shared six wickets for 80 runs as Australia faltered to 164 for nine in reply to 255 all out at the MCG.

It was a heartening improvement in fortunes, if too late to affect the residence of the Ashes for the next 20 months after England lost the urn with three shuddering defeats down under already.

Melbourne Ashes Test, day 4

Anderson alluded to that frustration, and suggested he himself was possibly flattered by his figures of three for 50.

Even so, after Mitchell Johnson (five for 63) had yet again set an ominous tone with another rush of wickets on a cloudy morning, England bowled with great discipline to at last give themselves something to smile about.

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"Days like that have been few and far between on this trip," said Anderson. "(But) we're just really hungry to get something out of this tour, and we showed that today.

"Cooky set really good fields; we bowled to them, and it was a really complete performance."