England lead by 306 at stumps on Day 3

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Published: Monday, December 6, 2010, 11:01 [IST]
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England lead by 306 at stumps on Day 3

If the English batsmen had dominated Australia on Day 2, they had completed decimated them on Day 3. Alistair Cook was unbeaten on 136 while Kevin Pietersen who was not out on 85. The two picked up their stand in right earnest with Pietersen striking a four in the first over to set the tone for the day. Piertsen reached his ton in the 95th over, by first hitting Ryan Harris for a four and then running a single. He and Cook then took England to 350 before Cook was finally caught behind off Harris and had to depart just two short of his 150.

But Pietersen hadn't run out of steam just yet and with Paul Collingwood, began to build another defiant century as the Aussie bowlers toiled in vain. In the 100th over, he laid into Peter Siddle, taking him for two consecutive fours with a couple of powerful pull shots. Left arm orthodox Xavier Doherty was his next target, getting struck for two boundaries in the 103rd over.

Then Collingwood got into the act and went after Siddle in the 105th over, also taking two fours off the seamer. Pietersen continued to be severe on Doherty, carting him for a huge six in the next over soon after England had moved past 400. Collingwood added to Doherty's woes by smacking him for a couple more fours in the 111th over. Then it was the part-time spinner Marcus North who came in for some stick. Pietersen swept him for two more fours in 115th over.

After England crossed 450, there was finally some respite for Australia. Shane Watson returned to trap Collingwood plumb in front for 42. He and Pietersen had put on exactly a hundred runs for the 4th wicket. With Bell as his new partner, Pitersen kept motoring along without any problems. He again took Siddle for two fours in the 126th over.

Shortly afterward, Bell took England past 500 when he crashed Siddle away to the midwicket boundary. In the 134th over, Bell came down heavily on Siddle again, getting him away for two more fours. Pietersen brought up his double ton with a single off Doherty in the 137th over. Then in the over just before tea, Pietersen laid into Doherty again, lofting him for two straight boundaries. With those shots England had moved to 551/4 in 143 overs, leaving Australia wavering in the depths of despair.

Respite emerged for Australia when the skies opened and a downpour ensured that there was no more play for the day. England had completed a fantastic day's work, extending their lead over the hapless Australians from 72 at the start of the day to 306 at stumps. England captain Andrew Strauss might consider declaring early on Day 4 to give his side a shot at wrapping up this Test match and going 1-0 up in the series.


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