Australia went into the match without left-handed fast bowler Mitchell Starc, the leading wicket-taker in the series. Starc was ruled out because of a bruised right foot and replaced by Jackson Bird, who hasn't played a Test for 12 months. England also made one change with Curran selected to make his Test debut, replacing Craig Overton, who has a fractured rib. Curran, 22, has played a one-day international and three Twenty20 matches for England, and was only added to England's Ashes squad when Steve Finn was ruled out at the start of the tour due to injury.
The Boxing day Test match saw nothing new except it was vice-captain David Warner who was clobbering up the Englishmen this time. Warner completed his first hundred of the Ashes series on Tuesday after getting a lucky break on 99 before Steve Smith ominously cruised to an unbeaten half-century as Australia took the honors from England on the first day of the fourth Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. With the Ashes already back in Australia's hands after the home side easily won the first three matches of the five-Test series, England toiled hard on a placid surface that offered little assistance to the bowlers but had little to show for their efforts against a ruthless opposition chasing a second straight sweep on home soil.
Warner laid the foundations for Australia's innings with an entertaining 103 after dominating a 122-run partnership with Cameron Bancroft 26, but England succeeded in putting the brakes on Australia's scoring when they removed both openers after lunch then Usman Khawaja 17 after tea. England almost got Marsh before he was off the mark when Stuart Broad struck him on the pads but the appeal was turned down and the Australian knuckled down to share an unbroken stand of 84 with his skipper, who has been a thorn in England's side throughout the series, scoring a hundred in the first Test and a double in the third.
After piling on more than 100 runs before lunch, Australia managed just 43 in the second session and the buildup of pressure eventually told on Khawaja, who was caught behind by Bairstow off Broad after tea. Australia went into the match without left-handed fast bowler Mitchell Starc, the leading wicket-taker in the series. Starc was ruled out because of a bruised right foot and replaced by Jackson Bird, who hasn't played a Test for 12 months. England also made one change with Curran selected to make his Test debut, replacing Craig Overton, who has a fractured rib.
Given a second chance, the left-handed Warner flicked the next ball he faced square of the wicket for a single to post the 21st Test century of his career, and the relief was clear as he leapt into the air and kissed the Australian crest on his helmet. Warner's joy was short lived however as he departed shortly after, edging a catch to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow off James, who joined West Indian Courtney Walsh in fifth place on the all-time wicket-takers list with 519.