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 total 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 with some support from Mitchell Johnson.
After a horrific Day 2 for Australia, where they let 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 score 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. However, soon after, Ben Hilfenhaus who had had no success through the match, finally got a couple of breakthroughs. He got 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 were 52/1 in 11.3 overs.
For a while it seemed that the English bowlers had lost their sting as they were neither able to get through the defences of new batsman Ricky Ponting or Watson, nor were they able to draw them into sucker shots. But finally, Tim Bresnan found the answer when he had Watson 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 Michael Clarke on 12, had struck up a partnership to take Australia to 120/4 in 45 overs. England are just 6 wickets away from retaining the Ashes. Will they accomplish the feat today itself?