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Monday, 27 December 2010

England edge closer to Ashes

England edged closer to retaining the Ashes as Australia closed Day Three of the fourth test in Perth on 169-6, still 256 behind.

The tourists begun the day on 444-5 but were quickly bowled out for 513 with Jonathon Trott finishing unbeaten on 168 and Peter Siddle took 6-75.

In reply, Australia started well with openers Shane Watson and Phill Hughes by putting on 53 before the later was run-out for 23.

Tim Bresnan, playing in his first Ashes test, then took three quick wickets which was then followed by a wicket each for Graeme Swann and James Anderson.

It looks almost certain now that England will wrap up an innings victory on the fourth morning that would mean they would retain the Ashes.

And they may only need three more wickets as Ryan Harris may not bat after picking up a stress fracture of his ankle.

England coach Andy Flower would have been extremely happy with the way his team bowled in good batting conditions, Bresnan being the stand-out performer.

The day began badly for England as Matt Prior and Bresnan both fell early on before Graeme Swann hit a quick-fire 22.

Trott passed 150 but couldn't prevent wickets falling at the other end with Australia restricting England to 513, a monumental lead of 415.

The hosts got of to a flyer in response, bringing up the 50 partnership in just the 10th over before Hughes was run-out by a precise throw from Trott.

Australia survived until tea but afterwards Bresnan took three quick wickets. First he had Watson lbw when he left a ball that swung back in before Ponting dragged onto his stumps and Mike Hussey drove into the hand of Ian Bell and cover.

Swann picked up the wicket of Michael Clarke, caught at slip by Andrew Strauss, while Steve Smith fell late on as he imitated the dismissal of his skipper by also dragging on.

It was the third straight day that England dominated and it puts them on the edge of an historic achievement.

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