PERTH: England were all but beaten with Australia on the verge of regaining the Ashes at stumps on the third day of the third Test in Perth on Sunday.
Australia led by 134 runs on the first innings after the England tail folded before lunch for 251 runs.
The hosts were 235 for three in their second innings at the end of play for an overall lead of 369, with two days left to play.
“I don’t think we could be in a better position,” said Australian opener Chris Rogers.
“To finish day three 370 in front, that’s position A. It was an amazing day, probably as good a day as we’ve had in the Ashes so far.”
Opener David Warner (112) capitalised on the shoddy wicket-keeping of Matt Prior, who missed two stumping opportunities from the left-hander, to post his second century of the series and take his tally to 457 runs at 91.40.
England’s highest scorer in the series is Michael Carberry, whose 157 runs at 31.40 is only 10 ahead of Australia all-rounder Mitchell Johnson’s aggregate.
Australia lead the five-Test series 2-0 and can regain the urn which they last won in 2007, with victory in Perth.
As if England’s predicament was not already dire enough, the tourists returned to the field for the Australian second innings without their best fast bowler Stuart Broad.
Broad was trapped lbw by the delivery for five by Johnson and limped to a fitness test in the WACA nets between innings, before being taken from the ground for scans.
Prior endures nightmarish day
To add insult to injury, the embattled Prior, who again failed with the bat earlier in the day, gifted Warner a life when he missed the easiest of stumpings in spinner Graeme Swann’s first over of the innings, the left-hander was on just 13 and was comprehensively beaten in flight by Swann but Prior failed to take the ball.
Prior’s afternoon went from bad to worse when he then failed to react to a thin edge from Rogers, on 26 off Jimmy Anderson, he missed a second opportunity to stump Warner from the bowling of Swann when he was on 89.
Earlier in the day, England resumed at 180 for four, but offered little resistance to the Australian pace trio of Ryan Harris (three for 48), Johnson (two for 62) and Peter Siddle (three for 36).
Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2013.
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