England perish in Perth

2010-12-18 15:03
Mike Hussey
Perth - A resurgent Australia looked set to level the Ashes after a century by the reborn Mike Hussey in the third Test against England at the WACA Ground on Saturday.

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At stumps on the third day, England were in disarray at 81-5 in their second innings, chasing 391 for victory with nightwatchman James Anderson yet to score and two full days of play remaining.

But there was an injury scare for Australia as captain Ricky Ponting went off late in the day after injuring his little finger while trying to take a catch to remove Jonathan Trott.

Australian paceman Peter Siddle said Ponting, who has scored just 83 runs so far in the series at 16.60, had been sent for x-rays but said he was hopeful the injury would not put the skipper in doubt for the last two Tests, in Melbourne and Sydney.

The Ponting injury was one of the few disappointments for Australia on the third day, as the tourists watched their ascendancy in the series slip away.

Up 1-0 in the series, England began the second innings facing their biggest ever run chase to win the match and their hopes appeared forlorn after the top five -- Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood -- all went cheaply late in the day.

Cook was trapped lbw by Ryan Harris for 13 and Strauss (15) became Mitchell Johnson's seventh victim in the match when he nicked a ball to Ponting in the slips.

Pietersen, dismissed for a duck in the first innings, made just three before being caught by Shane Watson at first slip from the bowling of Ben Hilfenhaus.

Just minutes before stumps, Trott fell to Johnson (2-28) for 31, caught by Brad Haddin on the rebound off the hands of Ponting.

Then from the last ball of the day Collingwood (11) was brilliantly caught by a diving Steven Smith in slips from the bowling of Harris (2-22).

Siddle clearly believed the match was over and hailed it as a turning point in the series.

"There was a lot of pressure on us in this match to get a result and one that was our way," he said.

"It has opened it up massively, two to go now and there is still a lot of work to be done, but it has started to turn for us."

But England's recalled pace bowler Chris Tremlett, who picked up 5-87 in the Australian second innings to tally eight wickets for the match, refused to concede defeat.

"All you can do in these situations is believe. It's a long shot but it only takes one partnership. Stranger things have happened in this game," he said.

If England can somehow conjure an unlikely win here they will retain the Ashes, while an Australian victory will level the series with two Tests to play.

England have only ever successfully chased 300 in the fourth innings three times in Test cricket, their biggest chase coming back in 1928 in Melbourne, when they made 332-7 to defeat Australia.

The Australian second innings of 309 was anchored by another brilliant effort from Hussey, last man out for 116, who now has 517 runs in the series at 103.40.

The left-hander, who was close to being dropped for the first Test at the Gabba, also became the first batsman in Ashes history to pass 50 in six consecutive innings.

Hussey, who was Tremlett's fifth scalp of the innings, batted for 315 minutes, faced 172 balls and hit 15 boundaries.

He was given out lbw to Tremlett from the last ball before lunch, but his challenge was successful after replays showed the ball was going over the stumps.

Opener Watson again fell short of a Test century when trapped lbw by the impressive Tremlett for 95 -- the fourth time he has fallen in the 90s at the top level.


PJ Hughes, SR Watson, RT Ponting (captain), MJ Clarke, MEK Hussey, BJ Haddin (wk), SPD Smith, MG Johnson, RJ Harris, PM Siddle, BW Hilfenhaus

AJ Strauss (captain), AN Cook, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, PD Collingwood, IR Bell, MJ Prior (wk), GP Swann, JM Anderson, ST Finn, CT Tremlett


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