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Page last updated at 00:46 GMT, Sunday, 19 December 2010

Ashes: Australia poised to beat England in Perth

Third Ashes Test, Perth (day three, close):
Australia 268 & 309 v England 187 & 81-5
Venue: Waca Date: 16-20 December. Play resumes 0230 GMT on 19 Dec Coverage: Live on Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 LW, 5 live sports extra and online; live highlights and day's review on the TMS podcast ; live text commentary on BBC Sport website; live on Sky Sports 1; highlights on ITV4
Match scorecard

Mike Hussey
Hussey scored his second century of the 2010/11 Ashes series

By Sam Sheringham

England face a monumental task to avoid defeat in the third Ashes Test in Perth after slumping to 81-5 in pursuit of an improbable victory target of 391.

A Mike Hussey century and 95 from Shane Watson lifted Australia to 309 all out in their second innings on day three.

England's Chris Tremlett took his first Test five-wicket haul.

Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris both struck twice as England lost their top five batsmen cheaply, leaving Australia on the brink of squaring the series.

With two matches remaining, a victory would give Ricky Ponting's men the momentum going into the fourth Test in Melbourne, starting on 26 December.

Ponting has a small fracture in his left little finger but may take his place in the field when play resumes, Cricket Australia have confirmed.

TOM FORDYCE BLOG

It was a dismal final session for England, as the fired-up Australia bowlers made hay in the evening sun.

Alastair Cook was beaten for pace by Harris and trapped in front for 13 before Strauss prodded at Johnson and edged through to Ponting in the slips.

That brought Kevin Pietersen to the crease, with England in desperate need of a repeat of his Adelaide heroics, but the batsman could only last 23 balls for three runs before wafting his bat loosely at a Ben Hilfenhaus delivery well outside off stump.

Jonathan Trott worked hard to reach 31 before Johnson struck for the eighth time in match, drawing the edge of the Warwickshire man's blade.

Ponting got his hands on the ball, deflecting it into the air, where it was gratefully taken by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

Tremlett searches for positives

A sensational day for Australia was complete when Collingwood nicked Harris off the final ball of the day, and Steve Smith dived to his left from third slip to take a brilliant catch.

Much of the credit for Australia's position of strength must go to Hussey, who became the first man to go beyond fifty in six successive Ashes innings en route to 116 - his 13th Test century at his home ground.

Australia started serenely on Saturday, building steadily on the lead established on Friday when they turned the match on its head by skittling England out for 187 before advancing to 119-3.

The closest England came to a wicket in the first half hour was an appeal for caught behind after Watson played no stroke to an Anderson delivery.

Replays showed the ball brushed the batsman's elbow before narrowly missing his bat handle, vindicating umpire Marais Erasmus's decision to give him not out.

That scare aside, Watson looked in total control, waiting for anything wide or over-pitched and dispatching it to the boundary.

Australia back in Ashes - Siddle

The opener has taken a particular liking to England's Steve Finn, sending successive balls from the tall seamer through the covers for four before scampering a single to move into the nineties.

At the other end, Hussey's superb series continued, delighting the crowd with a beefy pull off Tremlett which bounced just inside the ropes.

England's breakthrough finally arrived just over half an hour before lunch when Watson missed a straight one from Tremlett and was rapped on the pad. The batsman sent the decision for review and looked very reluctant to walk despite replays confirming no contact with his bat.

Smith had an eventful start to his innings, earning a reprieve on review after being given out caught behind, skying a pull shot that landed just short of a fielder and almost running himself out.

England targeted the new man with a succession of short-pitched deliveries but Smith coped well with the barrage and survived through to lunch.

Just before the interval came a potentially crucial moment as Hussey, backing onto his stumps, was given out leg before by umpire Erasmus. But once again, the review went Australia's way as the replay showed the ball was going just over the stumps.

Smith survived another referral after lunch despite the ball appearing destined for leg stump but his luck finally ran out with a leg-sided glove off Tremlett, through to Prior.

Brad Haddin got off the mark with a six off Swann, who was bizarrely ignored by Strauss until 20 minutes into the afternoon session. But this time, the wicket-keeper batsman's innings did not last as he chopped a rising Tremlett delivery onto his stumps and was out for seven.

Johnson, England's tormentor with bat and ball in the first innings, did not last long second time round as he pushed part-time bowler Collingwood to Bell at short extra cover.

The same fielder proved a reliable catcher once again when Harris was lured into a leg-sided heave and was well-taken at square-leg.

The flurry of wickets almost continued when Siddle drove uppishly at Collingwood but Swann put down a tricky chance at cover.

After tea, Anderson had Siddle caught at slip by Collingwood for his 200th Test wicket, becoming the second fastest Englishman after Ian Botham to reach the landmark.

Then Tremlett brought an end to Hussey's latest vigil, and the Australia innings, as the left-hander launched a pull straight to deep square leg where Swann atoned for his earlier spillage with a tidy catch.

Hussey's work for the day, however, had already been done.

Listen to commentary highlights from day three (UK users only)

TMS podcast: Agnew and Boycott's review (available worldwide)



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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
18 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Justin Langer's key moments
18 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Third Ashes Test in photos
19 Dec 10 |  England
Broad and Finn in World Cup squad
18 Dec 10 |  England
Johnson burst ignites Australia
17 Dec 10 |  England
Tremlett puts England in command
16 Dec 10 |  England
Waugh joins Ponting future debate
16 Dec 10 |  Australia
England complete Adelaide triumph
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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