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Aus push lead to 200 at stumps on Day 2

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Published: Friday, December 17, 2010, 15:42 [IST]
 
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Aus push lead to 200 at stumps on Day 2

With a valuable lead of 81 runs in the bag, Australia began their second innings in confident fashion, after tea. Opener Philip Hughes got off the mark in a forceful manner, dispatching pace bowler Chris Tremlett for a four past mid on in the 2nd over. His partner Shane Watson seemed content just pushing for ones and twos, when in the 9th over, he came down heavily on seamer Steven Finn, smacking him for three boudnaries - two through midwicket and one past square leg.

In the 13th over, Finn got the opening breakthrough when he had Hughes caught by Paul Collingwood at slip for 12. Australia had put on just 33 runs for the first wicket with an out-of-form captain Ricky Ponting coming to the crease. But Finn ensured that Ponting's misery continued by getting him caught behind for 1. The Aussie captain called for a review with replays showing that the ball had brushed the gloves, so he was on his way.

Then Michael Clarke and Watson decided to up the tempo in a bid to counterattack. The batsmen combined to take three fours off Finn in the 19th over, helping Austraia over the 50-run mark. But Tremlett ended Clarke's belligerence when he bowled him for 20. Australia were in a familiar situation at 64/3. Michael Hussey came to Australia aid and along with Watson took their side past 100 in the 30th over. Watson simultaneously reached his 50. The hosts ended the day on 119/3 with a lead of 200 runs.

Day 2 of the third Ashes Test at Perth, began with England batsmen Andrew Strauss, not out on 12 and Alistair Cook, unbeaten on 17, resuming from their side's overnight score of 29/0 in 12 overs. In just the second over of the day, Strauss edged Harris for a boundary between the wicketkeeper and slip with neither fielder attempting what should have been a straightforward catch. Strauss continued to dominate Harris when in the 16th over, he smacked the fast bowler for three fours, one to deep square and two through midwicket. Those shots brought up England's fifty.

In the 24th over, Mitchell Johnson got the breakthrough. The speedster had Cook caught by Michael Hussey at gully and England were 78/1 in 24.1 overs. Just two overs later, Johnson effected a double strike, getting Jonathan Trott trapped inf front for 4, and then doing the same to the new man at the crease Kevin Pietersen for a duck. England were wobbling at 82/3 in 23 overs.

The top-order collapse continued when in the 32nd over, Harris had Strauss caught behind for 52 and England were in distress at 94/4. The visitors' woes were compounded when in the very next over, Johnson picked up his fourth wicket to trap Paul Collingwood lbw and England had stumbled to 98/5 in 32.3 overs. Ian Bell and Matt Prior played out a few quiet overs to take England to lunch at 119/5.

After the break, it was upto Ian Bell and Matt Prior to stabilise the innings. But Prior didn't get very far in the quest, as in the 46th over, he was clean bowled by Peter Siddle for 12. England had slumped further to a 145/6 and required an knock of character from Bell and the new batsman Graeme Swann. But Swann was only able to hold out for around 10 overs before he edged a Harris delivery straight to the keeper. The off-spinner was on his way for 11 and England were in deeper distress at 181/7 in 57.1 overs.

Just 4 overs later, Bell's valiant stand of 53 was brought to an end by Harris who had him caught by Aussie captain Ricky Ponting at second slip. The visitors had lost their 8th wicket with 186 on the board Tail-enders Chris Tremlett and James Anderson weren't able to add much to the scoreboard as pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson polished the visitors off for 187 in 62.3 overs. Australia had secured a valuable lead of 81 runs with Johnson taking 6/38 and Harris pitching in with 3/59.

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