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Saturday, December 18, 2010

England on ropes as batting crumbles after Watson & Hussey set up big target: T3D3

England 187 & 5/81 (27 ov) need 310 more runs with 5 wickets in hand to defeat Australia 268 & 309 (86 ov, M Hussey 116, S Watson 95, C Tremlett 5/87) T3 D3 at WACA ground, Perth.

At the start of play I was hoping that Australia would be able to set England a reasonable target, by lunch hope had become expectation, which the subsequent loss of 6/57 only slightly changed. I didn't even contemplate the prospect of England losing 5 wickets before stumps...I hoped (with fingers crossed) for two or three, but couldn't see the England batting lineup, which in the first two Tests had carried all before it, crumbling on a pitch which while not quite a flat track wasn't a bowler's paradise either.

But it did, and Australia stand on the threshold of a remarkable victory which looked out of the question after Day1 .

Today's heroes were the four quick bowlers, who justified the selectors' decision not to play a specialist spinner, and Mike Hussey and Shane Watson who with their bats fashioned a silk purse out of what could have been a sow's ear.

Watson, perhaps because he hadn't had to bowl in England's first innings, looked on top of his game until, not for the first time, he approached his century when Chris Tremlett had him lbw for 95/174b (11x4). Hussey continued as the England attack, especially Tremlett, regrouped and was last out for a masterly116/172b (11x4). Remember all the calls for his sacking before the series began?

As in they'd done in the first innings, Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook started well, but they only put on 23 before Ryan Harris broke through. Then it was Mitchell Johnson's turn , then Ben Hilfenhaus' (Kevin Pietersen a well deserved wicket caught at slip for 3), then Johnson and Harris each had a second bite of the cherry as the lineup which recovered from a poor start at the Gabba to look invincible at Adelaide fell apart.

The series has been re-ignited. The last rites of this match should be completed early tomorrow.


Scorecard

Fox Sports report
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