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Aussies bounced out

cricket Updated: Dec 17, 2010 01:34 IST

Reuters
Highlight Story

England tightened their grip on the Ashes in Perth on Thursday, restricting Australia to a first innings total of 268 after a feisty rearguard fight-back on Day One of the third Test.

England seamers blasted through Australia’s first four batsmen for only 36 runs during a fiery morning session but were plundered for another 232 by the last six as the green-top pitch flattened out under a baking hot sun at the WACA ground.

Andrew Strauss, on 12, and Alastair Cook (17) survived 12 overs in the last session to see the tourists to 29 for no loss at stumps.

Tail-end cameos by pacemen Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle delighted home fans, but served to underline a missed opportunity by Australia’s top order to weather the early attack and build a big total.

After resuming on 179-6, England quick Anderson struck in the fourth over after tea when wicketkeeper Brad Haddin nicked a thick edge to Graeme Swann at slip to go for 53.

Anderson then bowled paceman Ryan Harris for three in his next over before Johnson celebrated a brave half-century in a solid return to the side after being dropped following the first Test in Brisbane.

Johnson’s heroics were ended by Steve Finn, however, who dismissed the paceman for a top-scoring 62 after enticing him into a poorly hit pull shot straight to Anderson at square leg.

Spinner Graeme Swann then had Ben Hilfenhaus out for 13, caught by Cook at short leg to leave Siddle stranded on 35 not out. Chris Tremlett earlier continued his brilliant return to the Test team by removing Steve Smith for seven shortly after lunch for his third wicket to leave Australia reeling at 69-5.

Hussey threw caution to the wind in a defiant stand with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, however, and brought up his half-century with a boundary off Steve Finn.

It was up to Swann to stop the rot and he duly delivered in his second over after being introduced to relieve the English seamers as the temperature soared above 30 degrees Celsius.

Swann was carted for three boundaries by the enterprising Haddin in his first over but responded by having Hussey caught behind for 61 just before tea. The breakthrough ended a 68-run partnership between Hussey and Haddin and exposed Australia’s long tail with more than a session left to play.