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Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day

Australia's nearly man and a three-week wait

Peter English and Andrew Miller at the WACA

December 18, 2010

Comments: 3 | Text size: A | A

Ben Hilfenhaus roars his delight at taking his first wicket since the third ball of the series, Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day, December 18, 2010
Ben Hilfenhaus knows wickets are all the sweeter when you've waited three weeks for one © Getty Images
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Australia's nearly man
Shane Watson has twice as many scores in the 90s as he does centuries after his latest near miss. Watson was only five from a hundred when he was given out lbw to Chris Tremlett in the first session. A referral was called immediately because Watson thought he had hit it, but the replays revealed his bat brushing his pad instead. Watson walked off showing his blade to the umpire, frustrated at his mistake, the perceived injustice, and his fourth score in the 90s in just over a year.

Swann is sunk
Graeme Swann's anonymity was one of the most notable features of Australia's second innings. He did not bowl at all in the morning session as Hussey and Watson extended their stand, and when he did appear he was beaten back out of the attack after five forlorn overs, in which Michael Hussey and then Brad Haddin refused to allow him to settle. His sense of disappointment was best telegraphed by a rare lapse in the field, when Peter Siddle, on 0, swiped a pull to wide mid-on, where Swann leapt to his right but grassed a two-handed chance. After the scorcher he intercepted at slip on the first day, he returned to earth with a bump.

Mitch's miss
Mitchell Johnson was kept waiting for just five overs before being thrown the ball in England's second innings, as Ricky Ponting tapped into his confidence at the earliest opportunity and set him the task of unsettling England's openers. All he needed was one delivery to instil panic in the ranks. Alastair Cook hopped onto the back foot to defend a first-ball lifter, and set off for a crazy single in a bid to escape the strike. As Johnson hurtled past in his follow-through he soon recognised his error ... but slipped as he tried to abort. Sadly for Johnson, his sidefoot skidded inches past the stumps, but England's collective cage had been rattled.

Ben breaks through
Ben Hilfenhaus started the series with a third-ball wicket but it took him more than three weeks to gain his second. It was a good one. Kevin Pietersen was pushing outside off stump late in the day, his bat a long way from his body, when he nicked Hilfenhaus to Watson at first slip. Hilfenhaus seemed to sprint to the cordon as quickly as he bowls after finally getting a result following some handy work over the first and third games.

Replay reprieves
The umpiring technology helped Steven Smith twice on his eventful ride to 36. When he was 1 he was ruled caught at first slip, but the challenge showed the ball had hit the inside of his front knee. That meant he was vulnerable to an lbw until Hawkeye calculated the ball was going over the stumps. After lunch, Smith was not given out lbw on 28 and England appealed. He survived by millimetres when the video showed the ball would have just struck outside the centre of leg stump. The original decision was therefore upheld.

Haddin survives, then falls
Paul Collingwood had a chance for a run-out when Hussey hit to him at cover, leaving Haddin stranded if the fielder had hit the stumps. He didn't, but the miss wasn't costly. Next ball Haddin was bowled, playing-on after playing back to Tremlett. Haddin has been a problem for England throughout the series but when he departed for 7 England's spirits rose.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo, Andrew Miller is UK editor

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2010, 23:25 GMT)

That's funny, Collingwood gets himself out and Anderson gets the blame. Who should we blame for the dismissal of Kevin Pietersen a few minutes and six balls earlier, Ian Bell or Jimmy Anderson for not being sent in ahead of Pietersen? Please, last ball of the day coming up and at that point, Collingwood had faced 26 balls including the first five of the last over and Andersen but the one. If anyone deserves to be blamed for Paul Collingwood getting out to the last ball of the day it is Paul Collingwood, but these things do happen!

Posted by   on (December 18, 2010, 18:39 GMT)

I agree with Daniel. How on earth could that NOT be the play of the day??

Posted by   on (December 18, 2010, 14:36 GMT)

Play of the day HAS to be nightwatchman Anderson refusing a single second last ball of the day only to watch Collingwood nick the very next one to slips.

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