Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day December 15, 2013

England unravel as Warner cuts loose

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Australia 385 and 3 for 235 (Warner 112, Rogers 54) lead England 251 (Siddle 3-36, Harris 3-48) by 369 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

In a similarly lopsided Ashes contest at the WACA Ground nearly 20 years ago, Graham Thorpe dropped Steve Waugh at slip then compounded his error by booting the ball past cover for two. This time England experienced similar extremes of dejection, their hopes of retaining the Urn evaporating under the heat of relentless Australian pressure and a scorching Perth sun.

The tourists' last realistic hopes of keeping the Ashes alive had revolved around a strong batting display from the reasonable overnight platform of 4 for 180. What happened instead was the surrender of 6 for 61 to Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle, a slide made worse by the Johnson toe-crusher that not only pinned Stuart Broad lbw but sent him to hospital, ruling him out of bowling for the rest of the game.

Lacking his best paceman of the tour, Alastair Cook was largely powerless to stop David Warner careering away to another brazen century, while Chris Rogers contributed his own tidy half-century in a stand of 157. Chances went down in a manner predictable for a team so downtrodden, Matt Prior enduring a horrific afternoon with the gloves. At the start of the day England hoped for a contest. Now they wait wearily for another declaration from Michael Clarke.

Ian Bell and Ben Stokes had resumed with high hopes of pushing towards Australia's first innings total, but early swing for Harris with the old ball indicated this would not be an easy task. Running a series of outswingers wide of Bell's off stump, Harris twice tried to pin the batsman lbw with a ball moving back the other way.

The first was glanced to the fine leg fence but the second struck Bell in line. Marais Erasmus declined the appeal, but Clarke's review showed the ball would have struck enough of middle stump to overrule the decision. Australia celebrated raucously, Harris again claiming a critical breakthrough.

Stokes looked solid enough but Johnson's pace provided a different challenge - one ball to Prior hit one of the significant cracks and veered towards first slip. Taking a single after the ball eluded Brad Haddin, Stokes soon offered a distracted waft outside off stump which he edged behind.

Siddle relieved Johnson as the second new ball neared, and a limp attempt at a pull shot by Prior reaped a thin edge behind. With Prior went England's last realistic hope of reducing the deficit sufficiently to stay in the match, given the poor returns by their tail so far.

Clarke called for a fresh projectile once 80 overs had been bowled, and though Tim Bresnan leaned into three cover driven boundaries from a first exploratory over by Shane Watson, Broad had his toe crushed in front of middle stump by a 144kph yorker from Johnson in the next. Bresnan touched Harris behind while trying to leave another away curler, and when James Anderson popped up a catch to short leg, Australia had completed another dominant session in the field.

Opening up after lunch, Warner and Rogers were opposed by Anderson and Bresnan but not Broad, who gingerly attempted to bowl in the nets then went to hospital for scans on his foot. In the absence of their most potent paceman, England looked flat, and were unable to grasp the chances that came their way.

Warner was intent on destruction, but when, on 13, he sallied forth to drive Graeme Swann and missed, Prior was unable to glove the ball let alone complete the stumping. Prior missed a sharper stumping chance when Warner had 89. The reprieves allowed Warner to go on his merry way, hitting over fielders as well as between them to build the lead.

Rogers was more circumspect, but on 27 edged a fine delivery from Anderson that moved across him. It was Prior's catch, but the missed earlier chance perhaps kept his feet frozen as the ball whirred behind, leaving Cook to make a late and unsuccessful attempt for the catch with a dive to his right. Australia's openers relished in their opportunities, going on after tea until their stand had passed 150.

Eventually it was Rogers who let his guard down, cutting Bresnan in the air behind point, where Michael Carberry held a decent catch. Warner was unperturbed, rolling along to his second century of the series and delivering his trademark flying punch in celebration.

His exit, skying another attempt to hit Swann onto the WACA's grass banks, coincided with a slackening of the scoring rate, and following a reserved stay from Clarke, whose slightly loose drive was perforated by a nip-backer from Stokes. Time remained for one more moment of English chagrin before the close - an lbw review against Shane Watson for a delivery pitching and hitting the batsman well outside leg stump. It really had been one of those days.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    It's sad to see a side which played so well three years ago be so poor on this tour.

    Jimmy Anderson just doesn't have it anymore, Stuart Broad does, but the captain (Cook) doesn't support his bowlers by having defensive field placings all of the time. For example, he could have made it difficult for Shane Watson yesterday if he put the pressure on early but he (Cook) was all about saving runs instead of letting Watson off the hook! Incredible!

    As well, Matthew Prior is awful as 'keeper and has done nothing with the bat. All in all, England has been woeful! Australia has outplayed them in all facets of the game and deserves to win 5-0.

  • Nicholas on December 16, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    @Jono Makim (post on December 15, 2013, 20:15 GMT): Re. Warner - sure, over the moon! That Barry Manilow CD I lent him is doing him the world of good...

    Re. KP vs. Bell: In tests, runs scored are far more important than strike rates, and currently one of those players is way ahead in recent games than the other. Neither JG2704 nor myself are afraid to drop class players in very poor form, so get over it.

  • Andrew on December 16, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    @Haiphong on (December 16, 2013, 2:57 GMT) - I prefer not to bag our players out of respect & also the fact that they are a 100 times better at cricket than me. So I am happy that Watto has got the ton, however, there are plenty of valid reasons to question why he has been constantly selected - particularly when returning from injury (should find form & fitness in the Shield in the past). But..... when you say "....NO ONE else in the team has the potential to tear an opposition down like him..." - you have to be kidding, - did you not see Warner's knock, a knock when there was still hope for England of winning the match??? Watto cemented what Warner's knock started.

  • Suren on December 16, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    @Sammy K .... Clarke has been batting extremely well in Tests since the last couple of years and is deserves to be the #1 in ICC rankings. I have great respect for Amla ... he is definitely among runs ... but most of it is in ODIs.

  • M on December 16, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    @Haiphong; youre kidding right? England have just had the biggest victory over Australia - they let Watson score some runs... now he will be entrenched as the 'all-rounder' at least until the end of the 2015 WC season... A tragedy for Australian Cricket and a masterstroke by England... will stop Australia from moving up in the world rankings for another two years...

  • M on December 16, 2013, 4:14 GMT

    In my experience, when the batsmen haven't been able to get a total on the board, the bowlers struggle as they haven't got anything to work with, the few risks the batsmen take pay off and before you know it, they have passed your total and you are on the defensive... that has been the way this series... In contrast, Australia have put on some good runs and allowed the bowlers the continual freedom to bowl to their plans... Anderson hasn't bowled any worse than he did in England, but the batsmen have been pathetic.

    @Ed Gordon; yes Anderson moved the ball last series but also recognise that Australia was enduring it's wettest Summer in decades so pitch and atmospheric conditions were the closest they would ever get to English conditions... and he was younger and a little quicker...

  • Xiong on December 16, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    Pretty close morning session, I think Australia just edging the honors.

  • Peter on December 16, 2013, 4:02 GMT

    an absolute peach from Harris - would have got anyone out - except 4 Bradman

  • Peter on December 16, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    The main problem with the English is they have no grunt. They have not got the guts to tough things out.

    out: Pietersen, Swann, Anderson, Bresnan

    in: 4 guys who try their guts out

  • Humayoon on December 16, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    This one's for all you guys "bagging" Watson day and night! NO ONE else in the team has the potential to tear an opposition down like him...

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