Ashes getting closer as Aussies dominate again
AUSTRALIA requires five more wickets on the final day to take the third Test and win back the Ashes after dominating for most of yesterday in the third Test at the WACA.
The late wicket of Ian Bell - given out caught behind off Peter Siddle after another controversial DRS decision for 60 - made the Aussies overwhelming favourites to recapture the urn for the first time since August 23, 2009.
England was 5-251 at stumps last night still 252 runs behind after Bell and Ben Stokes, who finished on 72 not out for his maiden Test 50, had put on 99 for the fifth wicket to finally show some resistance.
Kevin Pietersen had also taken on the Australian bowling before giving his wicket away for 45 after Shane Watson had earlier had fun in the sun, smashing a century in double-quick time to allow skipper Michael Clarke to set England a virtually impossible 504 to win.
The visitors' task got even harder when skipper Alastair Cook was bowled first ball of England's second innings by a peach of a delivery from Ryan Harris.
It was Cook's first golden duck in Test cricket and he was the first to get a first-baller in his 100th Test.
Michael Carberry made 31 and Joe Root 19 before Pietersen again tried to hit his way out of trouble and was caught on the long-off boundary by Harris off Nathan Lyon to leave the tourists in real trouble at 4-121 before Bell and Stokes led the recovery.
The tone had been set in the first over when Watson smashed 14 off Graeme Swann.
Watson had resumed on his overnight score of 29 and he was intent to put his foot on the gas in the first session as the Australians went in search of a declaration total.
The 32-year-old helped himself to 22 runs off another Swann over as the mayhem continued.
Watson's three sixes and one four were all driven down the ground as he advanced to 82 in double-quick time.
He soon moved on to his fourth Test century (his second 50 coming off 28 balls) and his second in an Ashes encounter following on from his hundred at The Oval in August.
Watson was eventually out for after earlier being caught on 90 by Tim Bresnan but he tumbled over the boundary before completing the catch.
He went for 103 off 108 balls but the bizarre fashion in which he departed encapsulated England's failures this tour.
Watson skied an attempted pull shot off Bresnan but Ian Bell somehow dropped the easy catch.
In his frustration Bresnan threw the ball at the stumps, knocking the stump out with Watson stranded out of his ground.
If England thought the destructive batting was over, however, George Bailey soon brought them back to reality.
The No. 6 maintained the assault and smashed 28 from one James Anderson's over - the final one of the innings - finishing with an unbeaten 39 from 30 balls to allow captain Michael Clarke to declare with a lead of 503. Bailey hit three sixes, two fours and a two to equal Brian Lara's record for the most runs in a Test over to demoralise the England team more as the Aussies declared on 6-369.