Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day December 18, 2010

England in tatters after Hussey sets up Australia


England 187 and 5 for 81 (Anderson 0*) need 310 more runs to beat Australia 268 and 309 (Hussey 116, Watson 95, Tremlett 5-87)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Australia are closing in on a series-levelling victory at the WACA after ripping out five England wickets during the final session to back up Michael Hussey's 116 which continued his phenomenal series. Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris both struck in the final five minutes of play to finish with two apiece while other scalp, the key one of Kevin Pietersen for 3, went to the hardworking Ben Hilfenhaus as England lurched to stumps on 5 for 81.

Those final few moments did huge damage to England who were already struggling. Jonathan Trott had played well for 31 before fencing at Johnson and, in a sign of how fortunes have changed, Ricky Ponting parried the ball at second slip only for Brad Haddin to snap up the chance. Ponting immediately left the field for treatment on a finger so missed the final-ball drama when the out-of-form Paul Collingwood edge Harris to third slip, the ball after nightwatchman James Anderson declined a single to take the strike off Collingwood.

Hussey and Shane Watson, who fell five runs short of his hundred, were chiefly responsible for building Australia's strong position as they extended their fourth-wicket stand to 113. After that, England staged a fightback with Chris Tremlett claiming his maiden five-wicket haul as the last six wickets fell for 55 but, despite the positive talk of a repeat of South Africa's 414-run chase in 2008-09, history was always unlikely to repeat itself.

Australia were mightily pumped up for the final session, knowing the quick bowlers could go full throttle. Ponting wasn't afraid to switch the bowlers around and it was a change of ends for Harris that brought the first breakthrough when Alastair Cook was struck on the back leg. Cook asked Andrew Strauss if it was worth a review, but wasn't supported by his captain. The ball would have clipped the bails.

Johnson had been brought on in the sixth over and offered a couple of boundary balls, then tightened up to off stump and found Strauss's edge which flew comfortably to Ponting at second slip. Whereas Hussey had given a lesson in what to leave, England's batsmen were far less certain.

Pietersen also chased a wide delivery that he poked to first slip to give Hilfenhaus his first wicket since the third ball of the series. Pietersen had escaped a pair with a pull to fine leg but hadn't settled when he hung his bat out, although it was nothing less than Hilfenhaus deserved for a probing spell. For Pietersen it was his lowest contribution when he has batted twice in a Test. Like his team, it's been quite a comedown from Adelaide.

Throughout the match it has been tough for batsmen when they first come in, which emphasises the importance of the lone hundred so far from Hussey. His latest masterclass made him the first batsman to hit six consecutive fifty-plus scores in a Ashes Tests, a run dating back to his futile hundred at The Oval in 2009. He also became the leading run-scorer in the series, overtaking Cook, and made this the most prolific series of his career. Not bad for a player who nearly lost his place before it all started in Brisbane.

He brought up his hundred with a crunching pull, the manner in which many of his boundaries arrived as England maintained the plan of feeding his strength. He was barely troubled by any of the short-pitched offerings, which although working against some of his team-mates were a futile and wasted effort to Hussey.

Hussey has an impressive conversion rate of fifties to hundreds, but the same can't yet be said of Watson. He'd barely put a foot wrong during his innings, unfurling some thumping drives against Steven Finn as he moved carefully to 95 and within sight of his third Test century. Tremlett then got one to hold its line on middle which Watson missed, but the batsman called for a review thinking he'd hit the ball.

It was a small window for England, which looked to have become a little bigger when Steven Smith was given caught at slip off an inside edge by Billy Doctrove, but this time the UDRS worked in Australia's favour when no nick was detected and the ball was also heading over the stumps. It was a skittish innings from Smith, who could also have been run out, before Tremlett's move to round the wicket worked as Smith gloved down the leg side

Haddin began with a sweep for six over midwicket against Swann, who only bowled five overs in the day and struggled, but got an inside edge into the stumps to give Tremlett a fourth. The lower order couldn't offer Hussey much support as Johnson drove to cover, Harris pulled to deep midwicket and Siddle edged to third to slip to hand Anderson his 200th Test wicket.

Hussey finally departed to the pull, when he picked out deep square-leg to give Tremlett a deserved five-wicket haul, but his innings had set up victory that will arrive on Sunday. And from the position Australia were in on the first afternoon, that's an astonishing turnaround.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sam on December 19, 2010, 4:02 GMT

    If I was (Not that anyone would want to be) Darren Gough, I'd dig myself a hole...Oh wait! I'm already in it. Well done Aussie Cricket team. Mitchell Johnson's first inning swing...we would love to see you come Boxing day. Michael Hussey, all of us who never doubted your abilities are counting on you for another spectacular display of restrained aggression.

  • John on December 19, 2010, 3:05 GMT

    Actually, milepost, if you look at this thread you'll see that most of the English supporters are here, giving Australia congratulations on being the better side in this game. That's more than you can say for the Aussie supporters after Adelaide, who only griped about the bad Australian performance and didn't have much good to say about England. In fact, I thought the English bowlers performed pretty well here. Getting 20 Australian wickets for under 600 runs (only 28 more than in the last test) was a creditable effort. Only Hussey and Watson made runs in the 2nd innings, the other 9 made less than 100 between them. In England's first innings they were 0-78 before Johnson unleashed his brilliant spell. That was good enough to go through any side in the world. That piece of bowling turned the game around and kept the series alive. Now it's on to Melbourne and Sydney with all to play for.

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2010, 2:03 GMT

    Aussie should bring Brad Hodge back. He has beennplaying 20/20 here in New Zealand and has been playing superbly. Hauritz should also come back for the boxing day test

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2010, 1:10 GMT

    No doubt Australia will win today and it is quite the turnaround. One thing though that amuses (more like frsutrates me) is the selfish use of the referal system by certain players. I'd love to see how many times going back however long this technology has been in place that te likes of particularly Ponting, Watson & Pieterson have called for desperate reviews & wasted them when they were plainly out and it should have been saved for more dubious calls.

  • Brenton on December 19, 2010, 0:37 GMT

    Great performance by aussie bowlers and hussey and Watson! Still a few concerns for boxing day however. Unfortunately Aussies need to pick a spinner, and not four quicks. Hauritz HAS to come in over Beer. Smith isn't a test spinner, or batsman for that matter. Love his energy but it's a farce having him at 6. Khawaja needs to play. Go Aussies!

  • Cameron on December 19, 2010, 0:31 GMT

    Where are the all conquering England team? And the mouthy supporters? Probably somewhere eating their words. These are evenly matched teams and both teams look hungrier than ever. Both teams have had great individual performances but the team that clicks and finally plays as one will grab this series.

  • Hollis on December 19, 2010, 0:11 GMT

    Exciting aussies of old will win by tea time ! Didn't hear them last night .Excellent turn around from second test and all pumped up to start the Melboune game and why not a back to back test and start tomorrow ? No man, you guys take a well deserved break and celebrate but not too much. You still have a job to finish and the English will come back because their team is one of the best seen for some time. They did Australia a big favour by hurting their pride in the second test and this no doubt promulgated the team to dig real deep. I have questions about Hughes but hopefully no changes would be made to the winning team. Notice little was said of Smith's contribution in the partnership with Hussey. Good prospect and investment. He will only get better.So from the Caribbean , suck it to them tonight with a biot of sledging ! But remember Test cricket is the winner . Ohh and introduce red cards for umpires ... have never seen so many mistakes. They need to turnaround fast.

  • Craig on December 18, 2010, 22:51 GMT

    Australia have thrown everything they have at England in this test. An admirable effort by an Australian side lacking in confidence. HOWEVER, there is still 2 days of cricket left... It is not over till its over. Australia should not start celebrating, till we have won... Ian Bell is yet to bat and is Matt Prior. Come on Australia!, bowl the right lines and lets bury this England team...... I wouldn't mind seeing SMith get an over or 2 either.

  • Clive on December 18, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    The reasons for this state of affairs are (1)Poor bowling, esp by Flint and Anderson (2)The distraction of wives and others joining the team. I suspect that there was a fair measure of (usual) English overconfidence as well which led to (2) and the poor batting display.

    I disagree that Collingwood is out of his depth; he needs some confidence boost.

  • Dummy4 on December 18, 2010, 22:31 GMT

    There is a great differance between winning a test and winning a series! Yes never underestimate your opponent.Aussie have come back in the series with true grit and determination.The fight will continue in the coming tests.

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