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Aus face certain doom in Ashes series

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Published: Tuesday, December 28, 2010, 12:22 [IST]
 
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Aus face certain doom in Ashes series

England are fast approaching victory in the 4th Ashes Test and look extremely likely to retain the much-coveted urn. The tourists posted a gigantic lead of 415 while getting out for 513 on Day 3. Peter Siddle did well to finish off the English first innings as soon as possible picking up 6/75. But England struck back in a robust way to leave the Aussies reeling at 166/6 at stumps on Day 3, still trailing by 249 runs.

In the last 20 overs of the day, Aussie middle order batsman Brad Haddin and Steven Smith couldn't do very much other than put off an inevitable defeat to Day 4. They fended off the English pace battery as best they could and from pitiful 101/4 in the 38th over, built a partnership to take their side to 150 in the 59th over.

But juts a few over befor ethe close of play, England fast bowler James Anderson struck to remove a steady Smith for 38. Eng were smelling victory as Australia stumbled to 159/6 in 761.5 overs. Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin lasted out the day's final couple of overs to take their side to 166/6 in 65 overs. England are just 4 wickets away from a historic win, with nothing left for the Australians to do but get out on Day 4.

After a horrific Day 2 for Australia, where they left England surge to a lead of 346 for the loss of 5 wickets with Jonathan Trott, not out on 141 and Matt Prior, batting on 75, the hosts got off to a slightly more positive start on Day 3. In just the 5th over of the first session of play, Siddle had Matt Prior caught by Ricky Ponting at mid-off for 85 as the core read 459/5 in 141.1 overs. A few quiet overs ensued till Siddle again struck to remove Tim Bresnan for 4 and Australia fancied their chances of effecting a collapse at 465/7 in 145.4 overs.

But Trott and Graeme Swann struck some boundaries to take England past 500. But then Bern Hilfenhaus who had had no success through the match, finally a couple of breakthroughs, getting Swann out for 22 and Chris Tremlett out for 4, before Siddle dismissed James Anderson for 1, to wrap up the English innings at a mammoth 513.

Faced with the challenging task of erasing a deficit of 415, Australia got off to a bright start to their second innings. Phillip Hughes and Shane Watson scored freely and at will to take the hosts past 50 in the 10th over. But shortly thereafter, Hughes was run-out for 23 courtesy a dreadful misunderstanding with Watson and Australia for 52/1 in 11.3 overs.

For a while it seemed that the English bowlers had lost their sting as they were neother able to get through the defences of new batsman Ricky Ponting or Watson, neither were they wale tro draw them into sucker shots. But finall, Tim Bresnan got the breakthrough when he had atson trapped plumb in front for 34 and Australia were 99/2.

In a matter of a few more overs, Bresnan scalped two more batsmen - Ricky Ponting was bowled for 20 and Michael Hussey was pouched by Ian Bell at short cover for a duck. Australia were deeper in trouble at 104/4 in 37.5.

With 20 overs left in the day, Australia were trailing by 295 with 6 wickets in hand. Steven Smith, not out on 8 and Micahel Clarke on 12, had struck up a partnership to take Australia to 120/4 in 45 overs.

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