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  Saturday, 30 November, 2002, 11:58 GMT
No miracle for England


It is hard to imagine England being able to stretch this contest out to a fourth day.

If, as expected, Australia do wrap things up on Sunday, it will be the sixth Perth Test of the last 11 to finish within 72 hours.

That says a great deal about Australia's recent domination of the world game, but is of little consolation to England cricket fans who were, yet again, hoping for a miracle.

The loss of Chris Silverwood - after another cursed MRI scan revealed an ankle injury - meant that England's already inexperienced attack would be stretched to the limit.

Alex Tudor
Tudor's effort was sadly faint-hearted

However, it is unlikely that the paceman's absence would have had even the slightest effect on the outcome of the game.

Steve Harmison then gave Nasser Hussain heart palpitations when he completely lost his run up.

Time and again he stuttered, stopped and started and, increasingly, the crowd got on his back.

Harmison, though, showed a great deal of character in the way he soldiered on. He can at least hold his head high.

I was, however, hugely disappointed with Alex Tudor's effort.

On day one he was ruthlessly mugged by Brett Lee, who aimed missile after missile at Tudor's head.

Limp-wristed stuff

When Lee walked out to bat, Tudor was armed with a brand new ball - yet he could not raise enough hostility to even inconvenience the Australian.

It was pretty limp-wristed stuff, and I am sure this lack of fire will have been noticed elsewhere.

After an encouraging performance in Adelaide, Richard Dawson came down to earth with a crash.

His first over conceded three boundaries as he dropped short to Darren Lehmann, and he was given only four more overs, suggesting that Hussain had lost faith in him.

Richard Dawson
It seemed Hussain lost faith with Dawson

This was a shame, especially towards the end of the Australia innings when the lower order humiliated England's seam bowlers by thrashing them all over the ground.

Even Gillespie, whose batting average this year is one, registered his highest Test score. McGrath reached the rarely visited territory of eight not out.

Lee then roared in with the new ball, and it was inevitable that England would lose at least one wicket before the close.

Trescothick fended off a thunderbolt with his glove, only for Gilchrist to take an excellent one-handed catch.

Although this gave Dawson another opportunity to demonstrate his courage with the bat, I can't imagine that he and Vaughan will relish the prospect of continuing the fight on Saturday.

All the reports from the Test match

Day three

Day two

Day one

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