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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 December 2006, 10:06 GMT
Awesome Gilchrist savages England
THIRD TEST, PERTH, DAY THREE (CLOSE):
AUSTRALIA 244 & 527-5 dec v ENGLAND 215 & 19-1

By Anna Thompson

Adam Gilchrist celebrates his century
Adam Gilchrist celebrates his century with Michael Clarke

Adam Gilchrist scored the second fastest Test century in history as Australia took total command of the third Ashes Test at the Waca.

He reached his ton in 57 balls, one behind Viv Richards' 20-year-old record as Australia declared on 527-5, a lead of 556, on day three in Perth.

Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey also completed centuries as Australia moved closer to regaining the Ashes.

In reply, England were 19-1 at stumps with Andrew Strauss out lbw for a duck.

Gilchrist, who finished unbeaten on 102, set a series of records as he raced to his 17th Test hundred in spectacular fashion, with 12 fours and four towering sixes.

The wicket-keeper equalled Graham Thorpe's record for the fastest Ashes fifty when he reached the milestone off just 40 balls.

The 35-year-old also set a record for the most runs off a single six-ball Ashes over when he plundered 0-2-6-6-4-6 off spinner Monty Panesar.

It's an incredible challenge that we have to undertake

Duncan Fletcher

Gilchrist said afterwards he did not know about the details of Richards' record, but his stunning 98-minute display was almost enough to eclipse it.

His innings overshadowed the achievements of his fellow batsmen.

Hussey hit his first Test ton on his home ground and Clarke completed an accomplished fourth Test hundred, finishing unbeaten on 135 off just 164 balls.

Earlier, Matthew Hayden (92) and Ricky Ponting (75) narrowly missed out on centuries as England's attack was taken apart.

The Australians amassed 408 runs in the day off just 66 overs to leave England needing to bat out two days - or score a record 557 - to keep the defence of their Ashes crown alive.

And the tourists were up against it from the start of their reply when Strauss was deemed out lbw to a rising Brett Lee delivery by umpire Rudi Koertzen.

606: DEBATE
AC

It was the second time in the match that Strauss had been out to a dubious decision and it came after the umpires had turned down some good shouts for lbw in the Australia innings.

Although the bowling figures make ugly reading for England, they actually bowled pretty well for most of the day.

Hussey batted beautifully but had luck on his side at times before being caught behind off Panesar for 103 on the stroke of tea.

Most significantly, on 15, he was ajudged not out when England appealed for a bat-pad catch off Panesar.

Koertzen deemed the ball had only flicked his pads, although replays showed there was probably a bit of bat too.

Mike Hussey
Hussey hit a Test ton on his home ground the Waca

Hussey had another life when he skied a shot while reaching his half-century but Geraint Jones, sprinting towards square-leg, could only get his finger tips to the ball.

Strauss also dropped a difficult chance at first slip when Hussey edged the new ball.

Australia began day three on 119-1, a lead of 148.

Steve Harmison gave the tourists early hope in the sixth over of the day when he dismissed Ponting for 75 thanks to a catch by Jones.

Hayden, who also had the benefit of a close lbw decision, was furious with himself when he departed eight runs short of his century, a great catch by Paul Collingwood at slip off Panesar ending his innings.

But by then he had added 62 for the third wicket with Hussey and Australia at 206-3 were already in position to put the match out of England's reach.

The next partnership was the most significant, Hussey and Clarke adding 151 as England suffered in the hottest conditions of the series.

After removing Hussey just before tea, Panesar struck for his third wicket of the innings - and eighth of the match - soon after the interval.

Andrew Symonds gave Collingwood another slip catch - but there were to be no further wickets for England as Gilchrist ran riot.

SEE ALSO
Panesar makes dream Ashes debut
14 Dec 06 |  England


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