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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stokes century keeps England sort of in game until Johnson and Lyon wrap up Ashes and series after lunchT3D5

Australia 385 & 6/369 dec def England 251 & 353 (103.2ov. Stokes 120/195b/1x6 18x4, Bell 60, Pietersen 45, Johnson 25.2-6-78-4, Lyon 22-5-70-3) by 150 runs T3/5 D5/5 at WACA Perth. Australia lead series 3-0 and therefore regain Ashes. Man of the match: Steve Smith.

Ben Stokes who , on the evidence of his appearance in Adelaide, I didn't rate as a Test no6 batsman, proved me wrong with a pugnacious century which kept Australia in the field until the second session before what had for some time looked obvious, the England lower order crumbled. Thechief destroyers this time were Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon.

England now head back east for the two big Test matches in Melbourne and Sydney with their collective tail between their legs. Australia will be looking hungrily for the 5-0 whitewash. Barring injuries to key players it's not out of the question, though England (or some of the team) fought gamely at times in this match. That sounds patronising, but there's only just over a week to reverse what, even with the second innings fightback, looks like a demoralised team. Matt Prior, Jimmy Anderson, Graeme Swann and yes Kevin Pietersen to name a few have  underperformed. They and the selectors will need to think hard about the composition of the Boxing Day Test XI. Surely they must make changes. Australia will only do so if injury makes them do so

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