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Aussies terrorise England at WACA
Aussies terrorise England at WACA

Australia appear almost certain to regain the Ashes in Perth tomorrow or Tuesday after they put England to the sword on a dominant day three of the third Ashes Test at the WACA Ground today.

The hosts were 3-235 at stumps this evening, with a lead of 369 after dismissing England for just 251 before lunch.

Shane Watson (29 not out) and first-innings hero Steve Smith (five not out) will look to increase that lead when they return to the crease tomorrow morning.

The tourists had some relief as they took three late wickets after a brilliant opening stand from David Warner and Chris Rogers.

Wicketkeeper Matt Prior could have stumped the dangerous Warner in just the ninth over off the bowling of Graeme Swann but the chance slipped through his gloves.

Captain Alistair Cook also dropped Rogers when he was on 27 when he edged to slip in the 22nd over off the bowling of Anderson.

Prior didn’t make a move to take the catch and it spilled out of an outstretched Cook’s right hand.

The pair added 157 without loss before Rogers was out cutting straight to Michael Carberry at backward point for 54.

Warner bought up his second century of the series just three overs later from just 127 balls, including 16 fours and one six.

Warner eventually lost his wicket when he was caught by Ben Stokes off the bowling of Graeme Swan for 112.

Watson and captain Michael Clarke slowly increased the lead with a solid, 40-run partnership before Stokes bowled Clarke for 23.

Adding to England’s woes is a foot injury to key wicket-taker Stuart Broad, who has been unable to take the field after being struck by Mitchell Johnson while batting earlier in the day.

Broad was taken to hospital for scans after hobbling though a fitness test in the nets.

The home side took the required six wickets in just 20 overs this morning to dismiss England 134 runs short of Australia’s first innings score of 385.

Tim Bresnan (21) and Graeme Swann (19 not out) provided the most resistance in the English bottom order as they wilted in temperatures in excess of 35C to add just 71 runs for the loss of six wickets.

Ryan Harris (3-48) and Peter Siddle (3-36) were the main destroyers, while Mitchell Johnson picked up his first wickets of the Test match this morning to finish with figures of 2-62.

Three key wickets in the first 10 overs had England reeling at 7-207.

Despite the Australians being required to bowl 12 overs before the new ball this morning, Clarke chose to open with leading pacemen Harris and Johnson and they didn’t let him down, with Harris claiming the dangerous Ian Bell in the third over of the day and Johnson dismissing young all-round Ben Stokes in the last ball of the sixth over.

Peter Siddle then chipped in with his second wicket of the innings to further sink English spirits.

The visitors began the day at 4-180 with Bell (nine) and Stokes (14) at the crease, still trailing Australia’s first innings score of 385 by 205 runs.

Alastair Cook laments dropped catch with Chris Rogers on 26.

Harris opened the bowling with the temperature climbing towards 35C as play got underway at 10.30am.

But Bell, who had been effectively restricted on day two, got off to a good start, scoring six off the over, including a last ball boundary.

Stokes also started freely, scoring four runs off Johnson’s first over the day.

In the next over Harris went up for a huge LBW shout when his third delivery hit Bell on his pad plumb in front of the stumps.

Clarke decided to refer the decision after the on-field umpire gave it not out. Despite the ball appearing to hit Bell high above the knee roll, Hawkeye showed the ball hitting the stumps, giving the third umpire enough evidence to give the Englishman out.

Bell had to go after adding just 15 runs to his side’s score from 71 balls and 90 minutes at the crease.

A Johnson delivery which hit one of the widening cracks on the WACA pitch in the fifth ball of his third over had Stokes worried when it veered away from the bat.

Johnson then took his 18th wicket of the series with the next ball as Stokes nicked through to Brad Haddin to depart for 18, to leave the visitors at 6-198.

Clarke made a bowling change in the ninth over of the day, bringing Shane Watson in to replace Harris and Siddle in to replace Johnson.

Siddle had an immediate impact, getting Prior nicking through to Haddin while trying to pull him in just his third ball.

Watson bowled just one ball in the 13th over - a delivery which was driven for four runs by Bresnan - before opting to take the new ball.

Johnson made the most of the new nut in the next over, trapping Broad LBW for just five runs with a searing yorker on the toe of all-rounder to leave them at 8-229.

Three overs later, Bresnan couldn’t get his bat out of the way of a Harris delivery his was attempting to leave, departing caught behind for 21.

James Anderson survived several overs as Swann hit out at the other end before popping a short Siddle delivery straight to George Bailey at short leg for a simple catch.