Australia Leave England On The Brink Of Defeat

Australia Leave England On The Brink Of Defeat
Australia Leave England On The Brink Of Defeat
©REUTERS/Tim Wimborne (AUSTRALIA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET) Picture Supplied by Action Images

Australia 268 & 309 (Hussey 116, Watson 95) v
England 187 & 81-5 (Harris 2-22)
Third Ashes Test, Perth, day three

England closed day three of the third Ashes Test against Australia in Perth in the desperate position of 81 for five having been set 391 to win and move into a 2-0 lead in the series.

Having set the pace on day two, Australia stretched further clear as a century from Michael Hussey and 95 from Shane Watson ensured that England would chase a huge target as the home side reached 309 in their second innings.

Two wickets apiece from Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris then left England in disarray and their hopes of retaining the Ashes before Christmas hanging by a thread.

England failed to get a breakthrough until Australia had advanced their score to 177 when Watson was trapped in front by Tremlett, a wicket which broke a partnership of 113 between Watson and Hussey.

Hussey went on to stroke 116 in 173 balls before he was the last man dismissed, caught by Swann as Tremlett picked up a maiden five-wicket haul in Tests with figures of five for 87.

Australia's lower order offered little resistance with Brad Haddin (7), Johnson (1), Harris (1) and Peter Siddle (8) falling cheaply after Smith had made 36.

England's top order then did much the same, Andrew Strauss (15) and Alastair Cook (13) providing rare failures at the top, followed by the wickets of Jonathan Trott (31), Kevin Pietersen (3) and then on the stroke of stumps, Paul Collingwood (11).

Johnson had Strauss and Trott caught by Haddin and Ricky Ponting respectively while Harris had Cook  trapped in front and Collingwood caught by Smith.

Pietersen was caught by Watson off Ben Hilfenhaus as England were left with James Anderson unbeaten on nought and requiring the likes of Ian Bell, Matthew Prior - the two remaining recognised batsmen - to play the innings of their lives to salvage anything from the match.

England had started the Test strongly, winning the toss and bowling Australia out for 268. However, on day two, they could only manage 187 in reply and Australia then began to build their substantial lead.

England lead the five-match series 1-0 following a draw in Brisbane and an innings win in Adelaide.

© Cricket World 2010