Australia close in on victory in Perth

PERTH, (Reuters) – Mike Hussey produced a sparkling   century before Australia’s pace bowlers destroyed England’s   top order to push the hosts to the brink of a series-levelling   victory on day three of third Ashes test in Perth.
The 35-year-old Hussey’s composed 116, as his batting   partners fell like dominoes, propelled Australia’s second   innings to 309 and set England a mammoth 391-run chase with   two days to play.
England lead the five-test series 1-0 and had hoped to   seal the Ashes with a win in Perth but began their chase   disastrously by losing five wickets after tea to limp to 81-5.

Michael Hussey
Michael Hussey

Paul Collingwood was dismissed for 11 with the last ball   before stumps by Ryan Harris, the Englishman nicking an edge   to all-rounder Steve Smith, who took a superb low catch in the   slips.
Night-watchman James Anderson (0) remained unbeaten at   stumps as the last-ball wicket brought raucous cheers from   home supporters on a day of brilliant sunshine at the WACA   ground.
England’s highest successful fourth innings run chase was   the 332 runs they made to beat Australia in Melbourne in 1928   and if they reached 391 in Perth it would be the fifth largest   in tests.
Pace bowler Harris struck first for the hosts, trapping   England opener Alastair Cook lbw for 13 with a quick, fuller   delivery before Mitchell Johnson had captain Andrew Strauss   caught by Australian skipper Ricky Ponting in the slips for 15.
After two days of fruitless toil, Ben Hilfenhaus clinched   his first wicket in the test by removing dangerman Kevin   Pietersen for three, the South Africa-born batsman nicking to   Shane Watson in the slips.
Johnson then picked up his second wicket of the innings   when he had Jonathan Trott caught behind for 31, the ball   ricocheting off Ponting’s hands and popping up for   wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to take an easy catch.
While Johnson’s six-wickets helped Australia skittle   England for 187 to wrest back the initiative on Friday,   Hussey’s brilliant form as a habitual rescuer of Australia’s   brittle batting line-up may prove equally telling.
After pulling England quick Tremlett for four to bring up   his ton, the 35-year-old celebrated wildly, bolting halfway to   the Lillee Marsh stand with arms aloft in celebration.
He earlier resumed on 24 with opener Watson on 61 after   guiding Australia to 119-3 at stumps on day two and the pair   compiled an unbeaten 113-run stand before Tremlett had Watson   trapped lbw five runs shy of his third test century.
Tremlett broke through again after lunch by dismissing   Smith (36) early, the all-rounder gloving a catch to   wicketkeeper Matt Prior, then he trapped Haddin in his crease   and had him play onto his stumps for seven.
Quick bowler Johnson, who was roundly booed by English   fans as he strolled out to the crease at a packed WACA ground,   squandered his wicket for one when he drove an innocuous   Collingwood ball straight to Ian Bell in close at short cover.
Harris, who managed a pair of ducks in the second test at   Adelaide, continued the rot by hooking a short delivery from   Steve Finn high in the air where Bell took an easy catch to   have the quick dismissed for one.

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