England continued their domination of Australia in the fourth Test - much to the frustration of Ricky Ponting on a bad-tempered second afternoon at the MCG.

As Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott each posted half-centuries to help stretch England's lead to 246 in a teatime 304 for five, the trying experience appeared to push Ponting too far.

His anger boiled over in an ugly confrontation with both umpires, after DRS procedure ruled in Pietersen's favour over a failed caught-behind appeal.

Pietersen was just one short of his 50 when Brad Haddin convinced his team-mates to review Aleem Dar's not-out decision off the bowling of Ryan Harris. No simulated evidence emerged to support Australia's review, and the initial verdict was duly confirmed.

But that did not stop Ponting, and Peter Siddle, berating Dar - and then his colleague Tony Hill - in an unseemly incident which halted play for minutes rather than seconds.

It was highly likely therefore that the under-pressure Australia captain, and Siddle too, would attract the attention of match referee Ranjan Madugalle. It would be surprising, after such an unedifying spat - in front of more than 50,000 eye witnesses and millions of television viewers - if the umpires did not report the matter.

A resulting Level 2 charge for dissent, under the International Cricket Council's code of conduct, brings with it the possibility of a one-Test ban - although a match fee fine is more often the outcome of a proven case.

Events continued to go largely England's way, though - notably Pietersen surviving his controversial DRS - and Trott needing a third-umpire ruling when he almost ran himself out chancing a third run on Ponting's arm from the outfield to go to 49.

But Siddle got his hands on a nearly new ball, moments after his part in the DRS altercation, and duly saw off Pietersen lbw on the back foot to one that kept low and jagged back. Mitchell Johnson's bouncer tactics then saw off the out-of-form Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell, for a rare failure, when both holed out on the hook at deep fine-leg - each time to Siddle, who could not be kept out of the game on his home ground.

Another kick in the teeth was awaiting Australia too - Dar again taking a central role. The umpire gave Matt Prior out for a routine caught-behind off Johnson, only to belatedly query - as the batsman was walking off past him and Tim Bresnan, next in, was on his way to the middle - whether the bowler had overstepped. Consultation with the third umpire confirmed a marginal no-ball, and Prior survived in unusual circumstances.