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Eng 81/5, trail by 309 on Day 3

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Published: Saturday, December 18, 2010, 16:01 [IST]
 
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Eng 81/5, trail by 309 on Day 3

England are facing almost certain defeat after hosts Australia had them at 81/5 in 27 overs on Day 3 at Perth. Opening their second innings after tea, England got off to a positive enough start with Alistair Cook hitting a four off Harris in the 2nd oevr. Captain Andrew Strauss followed, picking fours of Harris and Johnson in subsequent overs, but then in the 7th over, Harris trapped Cook lbw for 13 and England were in some trouble at 23/1.

Strauss tried to go after Johnson in the 10th over, cutting him for four off the fourth ball. But Johnson got his revenge just one delivery later when he had Strauss caught by Ponting in the slips for 15. Fellow-pace-bowler Ben Hilfenhaus came to the party in the 19th over when he had the dangerous Pietersen snapped by Shane Watson in the slips for just 3. England were floundering at 55/2.

Johnson returned to knock off his second wicket of the innings when he had Jonathan Trott caught behind for 31. Paul Collingwood followed the fallen batsmen back to the shed for 11 when he was caught in the slips off the bowling of Ryan Harris. With nightwatchman James Anderson and Ian Bell yet to get off the mark, England Day 3 on 81/5 and facing a crushing loss when they take guard on Day 4.

From the morning of Day 3, Australia lasted out over two sessions to extend their lead over England by a mammoth 390. The English bowlers had to pummel away for nearly 20 overs before they got the opening breakthrough and then gradually chipped away at Australia's defiance to effect a latter-order collapse and bowl out the hosts for 309, with Chris Tremlett taking 5 for 87.

With a lead of 200 already in the bag, Australia was in a strong position at the start of the day. Michael Hussey, batting on 24 and Shane Watson, unbeaten on 61, began business in right earnest. They took Australia to over 150 in the second innings with a flurry of four boundaries between the 46th and 47th overs, England pace bowlers James Anderson and Steven Finn, the victims.

But in the 50th over, their fellow speedster Chris Tremlett avenged their assault when he trapped Watson plumb in front for 95. The 100-plus stand had come to and end with Watson missing out on a century. In the next over, the hosts had a scare when the umpire adjudged the new batsmen Steven Smith caught at slip. But Smith appealed for the review and replays showed he hadn't hit the ball. Thus, he survived and began to build a useful partnership with Hussey. The two took Australia past 200 in the 55th over when Smith hit Tremlett for a boundary, forward of short leg.

Another review went Australia's way after Hussey appealed against being given out lbw to Tremlett. Replays showed he was hit well above the knee roll and that the ball would have gone on to miss the stumps, so he stayed his ground. Australia went into lunch at 211/4 with a lead of 292.

After lunch, Hussey and Smith continued to defy the English bowlers till Tremlett finally severed their stand and got his third scalps by getting Smith caught behind for 36. Australia were in some trouble at 253/5, but Hussey and the new batsman Brad Haddin counterattacked in the next over, taking off-spinner Graeme Swann for a four and a six, respectively. After the 72nd over, there was a flurry of wickets. Tremlett got Haddin bowled for 7, medium pacer Paul Collingwood had Mitchell Johnson caught by Ian Bell at short cover for 1, and Finn had tehe same catcher dismiss Ryan Harris for 1 as well.

England's resurgence would have been complete if Swann hadn't spilled a catch from Peter Siddle at short cover in the 77th over. Hussey and Siddle took their side to 297/8 at tea. But they didn't last out much longer after the break, as Anderson dismissed Siddle for 8 and then Tremlett finished with five wickets, removing Hussey for 116 to wrap up the Australian second innings for 309 in the 86th over.

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