Malan, Bairstow lead England fightback in Perth

Dawid Malan celebrating his century on day one of the Perth Test
Dawid Malan celebrating his century on day one of the Perth Test

England 305-4 (Malan 110no) v Australia
Third Test, Perth, day one

Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow shared an unbeaten 174 run stand for the fifth wicket as England made a tremendous comeback to end the opening day of the Perth Test against Australia with a score of 305 for four in the 89 overs possible.

England won the toss and decided to bat first with an unchanged line-up while Australia brought in Mitchell Marsh for Peter Handscomb.

Mark Stoneman (56) signalled his intention and made use of the fast outfield at WACA with three consecutive boundaries off Mitchell Starc (2-79) in the third over but his opening partner Alastair Cook (7) had another failure.

Playing his 150th Test, Cook was trapped LBW by Starc in the fifth over and now has scores of 11, 23, 10, 17, 2, 7, 37, 16 and 7 since his double century against West Indies in Birmingham.

However, Stoneman along with James Vince (25) thwarted the Aussie new ball attack with the former looking good especially when sweeping Nathan Lyon (0-61).

Both Stoneman and Vince frustrated the home side with a 63 run stand for the second wicket before Josh Hazlewood (1-62) had the latter caught behind at the stroke of lunch during which England were 91 for two.

Skipper Joe Root (20) looked positive from the outset and struck a boundary to kick the proceedings in the second session and Stoneman too repeated the same in the final delivery of the over to bring his third Test fifty.

Root struck two more boundaries in the next three overs making most of the pace but Stoneman was handed a reprieve when he dropped off Josh Hazlewood in the slips by Mitchell (0-25). Hazlewood responded back with a fierce bouncer that struck him on the helmet and the incident did affect his concentration.

It was Cummins, who took the first wicket in the session when he had Root caught down the leg and Australia tried to welcome Malan (110 not out) with a barrage of bouncers but anything off target was put to the boundary by the stylish left-hander.

Stoneman reached his highest score in Test cricket but could not kick-off after he was controversially given out caught behind following a bouncer from Starc. With the original decision not out, Australia opted for a review and third umpire Aleem Dar was quick to overturn the decision which was not conclusive at that stage but later on the replays showed the correct decision was made.

Malan was joined by the newly promoted number six Jonny Bairstow (75 not out) and the duo took the score to 175 for four at tea.

Malan brought his fourth Test fifty in the sixth over into the final session and it was one way traffic as the Australian bowlers had to toil hard on a pitch that had flattened.

With no pressure whatsoever, both Malan and Bairstow brought the 100 run stand in the 71st over and few minutes later - England's leading run-scorer in 2016 - Bairstow brought his half-century.

Australia did have a chance when Starc got the edge of Malan's willow in the first delivery with the second new ball but was put down by Cameron Bancroft at third slip. He was at 92 at that stage.

Nevertheless, Malan showed great maturity and soon crossed his maiden Test century with England going on to post 305 for four at stumps on day four. Bairstow provided solid support and will be eyeing his maiden Ashes ton when they return to action on day two at the WACA.

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