Australia lead by 221 on Day 3

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Published: Saturday, November 27, 2010, 14:07 [IST]
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Australia lead by 221 on Day 3

On the morning of Day 3 of the first test of the Ashes 2010, Aussie batsmen Michael Hussey who was unbeaten on 80 and Brad Haddin who was still batting on 22, picked up their partnership. But they were a tad circumspect in the initial few overs. In just the third over of the day, the decision review system was called into play with umpire Aleem Dar gave Hussey lbw off James Anderson. Hussey called for the review and replays showed the ball would have gone on to miss leg stump. So he survived and was still in the hunt for that hundred.

The batsmen were batting so cautiously, that the first four of the day only came in the 11th over of the morning: Haddin smacked Steven Finn for a lovely straight drive. Hadden was mainly doing the attacking as he knocked off two more fours in Finn's next over and then when Anderson returned. With the latter shot, Australia had moved to 250 in the 95th over. Hadden once again got stuck Finn in the 98th over, when he smashed him for two boundaries, thus giving Australia the lead in the first innings. Then Hussey notched up his century in the 101st over with a beautiful straight drive off Stuart Broad for four. It was an innings under pressure as only recently his batting had come in for quite some criticism and scrutiny.

The boundaries started coming more frequently off both Aussie bats as the batsmen took their side over the 300-run mark in the 105th over. Hussey went after Anderson in the 115th over, getting him away for two fours. Just six overs later, he repeated that aggressiveness when he again smacked Anderson for two fours to take Australia past 350. Haddin too was on song and brought up his maiden test century with a delightful loft off spinner Graeme Swann for six in the 123rd over. That shot signified the 100-run lead as well. For the next four overs, one boundary came off each over and Australia were clearly in a commanding position, dictating terms to the bowlers.

Desperate to break this seemingly insurmountable stand, English captain Andrew Strauss brought on Paul Collingwood to bowl. But straight away the medium pacer was hit for two fours from the bat of Haddin and Australia had crossed 400 in the 133rd over. There was more carnage in the 150th over, when Haddin once again hit Anderson for two fours. Finally relief came for the English side when Swann got Haddin caught by Collingwood at first slip. Haddin had to depart on 136 in the 146th over after sharing in a mammoth 307-run stand with Hussey. Just a couple of overs later, Hussey joined him back in the hut when Finn had him caught by Alistair Cook at mid-wicket. Hussey was out on 195, painfully close to his double century and Australia were wobbling now at 458/7. Then Finn polished off the tail getting Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Xavier Doherty for relatively low scores and the hosts were all out for 481 in 158.4 overs. They had earned a sizable lead of 221 runs while Finn had picked up 6 wickets for 125 runs.

As England opened their second innings, they are on the backfoot and would have had to blend caution with aggression to claw themselves back into the match. Andrew Strauss and Alsitain Cook got off to a slow start, but there was drama almost straight away when in the first ball, Ben Hilfenhaus rapped Strauss on the pads and appealed for an lbw. Umpire Dar turned down the appeal. The Australians called for the decision review which showed the ball was too high and so the umpire's decison was upheld. After that initial jitter, England went on to close out the day at 19/0 in 15 overs. There is still a lot of work for England that trail by 202 runs. Can they wrest back control of the match on Day 4?


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