Australia Five Wickets From Ashes Success

Australia celebrate
Australia celebrate the wicket of Ian Bell late in the day
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australia 385 & 369-8 dec. (Warner 112) v
England 251 & 251-5 (Stokes 72no)
Third Ashes Test, Perth, day four
Scorecard | Day One | Day Two | Day Three

Australia need five further wickets to win back The Ashes after England closed day four of the third Test in Perth on 251 for five after being set 504 to win.

Shane Watson blasted a quickfire century early in the day as Australia took England's bowlers apart before declaring on 369 for eight.

For the third Test in a row, England were asked to chase down a score bigger than has ever been achieved in the history of Test cricket and they started poorly.

Alastair Cook fell for a golden duck but half-centuries from Ian Bell and Ben Stokes at least took the game into a final day with Stokes unbeaten on 72.

Australia began proceedings on 235 for three and wasted no time in extending their advantage. Watson batted brutally, hitting 11 fours and five sixes on his way to 103 in 108 balls.

Graeme Swann (1-92) bore the brunt of Watson's assault and after Steve Smith was caught by substitute fielder Jonny Bairstow off Stokes for 15, he was finally run out by Tim Bresnan.

Bresnan had picked up the ball close to the stumps after Bell had dropped Watson, who had not expected to be given a reprieve and was nowhere near his ground.

George Bailey then smashed a swift 39 not out in 30 balls and when Brad Haddin was caught by Swann off Bresnan, Michael Clarke decided that Australia had enough runs on the board and he declared the innings.

It had been a stunning assertion of Australia's dominance. When the dust settled, they had struck 134 runs in 17 overs and Bailey smashed James Anderson for 28 runs in one over - equalling the world record.

England couldn't have got off to a worse start when Cook was bowled by Ryan Harris with tethe first ball of the innings, a fine delivery that just flicked his off bail on the way through.

Michael Carberry (31) and Joe Root (19) then put 62 together but fell in quick succession when Carberry was trapped in front by Watson and Root edged Mitchell Johnson to be brilliantly caught by Haddin diving in front of his slip cordon.

Kevin Pietersen then batted fluently to make 45 in 57 balls but was unable to go on. One over after hitting Nathan Lyon for six, he went for a repeat but failed to clear the ropes, instead picking out Harris at long on.

Then came the partnership that put Australia under some pressure as Bell and Stokes batted with freedom and style, the former making 60 in 93 balls and the pair putting on 99 together.

However, they were prevented from reaching a century partnership when Bell attempted to upper cut Siddle but got a faint edge through to Haddin, which was originally called not out, but Australia were celebrating after their review.

Stokes though, played exceptionally well, hitting 12 fours including two down the ground that were as good as anything his more experienced colleaues had managed and he was swift to capitalise as Australia erred in length.

Nevertheless, in losing Bell late on, that put the brakes back on England, and Australia will expect to regain The Ashes at some point on the final day.

© Cricket World 2013

Fixtures & Results

21st-25th November: 1st Test, Gabba, Brisbane
AUS 295 & 401-7d. beat ENG 136 & 179 by 381 runs
5th-9th December: 2nd Test, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
AUS 570-9d & 132-3d beat ENG 172 & 312 by 218 runs
13th-17th December: 3rd Test, WACA, Perth
AUS 385 & 369-8 d. beat ENG 251 & 353 by 150 runs
26th-30th December: 4th Test, MCG, Melbourne
AUS 204 & 231-2 beat ENG 255 & 179 by 8 wickets
3rd-7th January: 5th Test, SCG, Sydney
AUS 326 & 274 beat ENG 155 & 166 by 281 runs