Aussies stage mini fightback

2010-12-16 10:29

Perth - England captured two more wickets in a baking hot session after lunch but were frustrated by a plucky rearguard defence by the Australians, who moved to 6-179 at tea on the first day of the third test on Thursday.

Chris Tremlett continued his brilliant return to the test team and England's blitzkrieg attack of the morning session by removing Steve Smith for seven shortly after lunch for his third wicket to leave Australia reeling for 69-5.

Hussey, who had resumed on 28, mounted a feisty counter-attack with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, however, and brought up his half-century with a boundary off Steve Finn.

It was up to spinner Graeme Swann to stop the rot and he struck in his second over after being introduced to relieve the English seamers as the temperature soared above 30 degress Celsius.

Swann was carted for three boundaries by the enterprising Haddin in his first over but bounced back to have Hussey caught behind for 61 just after the drinks break.

The breakthrough, confirmed by a TV review on appeal, ended a 68-run partnership between Husssey and Haddin and exposed Australia's long tail with more than a session left to play.

Haddin provided the deflated home crowd at the WACA a rare reason to cheer by bringing up his half-century as he and Mitchell Johnson frustrated the English bowlers by adding another 42 runs to survive to the tea-break.

Haddin, on 52, and Johnson (25) still faced a mammoth task to lift Australia to a competitive total on a lively green-topped wicket.

Australia trail the five-test series 1-0 but already appear in survival mode with England needing victory in Perth to take the Ashes home for the first time in 24 years.

Tremlett, who had bowled Phillip Hughes for two in his sixth ball of the day, needed only three after the break to deceive Smith into chasing a delivery moving away, the all-rounder caught smartly by England captain Andrew Strauss at first slip.


Strauss landed the first psychological blow by winning the toss and sending Australia in to bat.

The call proved spot on as Tremlett celebrated his return to the test side by bowling Hughes and the towering seamer then removed Michael Clarke for four in his fourth over.

In between, James Anderson clinched the key wicket of captain Ricky Ponting for 12, while Steve Finn trapped Shane Watson lbw for 13 to leave the large English contingent in the packed crowd singing in ecstasy under blinding sunshine.

The fiery morning spell recalled England's furious attack at Adelaide Oval that saw the hosts lose three wickets for two runs within three overs of their first innings of the second test.

Ponting, under pressure to score runs after failing twice in the second test, then nicked a James Anderson delivery to the slips where Paul Collingwood made a superb one-handed catch, leaping high to his right to leave Australia 17 for two in the fifth over.

Tremlett, who replaced the injured Stuart Broad in the lineup, removed Clarke for four, enticing the 29-year-old to feather a catch to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Shane Watson, who had survived a caught-behind dismissal on his sixth ball from Anderson on review, had his second review turned down when trapped by a yorker from Finn that cannoned into the opener's toe.

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