x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Australia level Ashes series 1-1

Australia have ruthlessly finished off England's second innings to record a resounding 267-run victory in the third Test.

Australia have ruthlessly finished off England's second innings to record a resounding 267-run victory in the third Test, levelling the five-test Ashes series 1-1.

England was shot out for 123 runs in the second innings after being set improbable 391 runs to win at the WACA Ground.

Ryan Harris took four wickets to quickly clean up England's tail after the visitors had resumed on 81-5. England's final wickets fell in just 50 minutes of the opening session and Harris finished with career-best figures of 6-47.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting watched from the sidelines with fractured little finger on his left hand; suffered when fumbling a catch late on Saturday.

England went into the Perth test off the back of a crushing victory in the second Test, and looked in good shape to win at the WACA to secure an unbeatable 2-0 series lead and ensure it retained the Ashes.

Instead, Australia's authoritative victory squared the series and gave the home team momentum heading into the fourth Test in Melbourne starting on December 26, and with fresh hope of regaining the urn.

England would have harboured hopes of scoring the required 391 in the fourth innings - South Africa chased down more than that at the WACA four years previously - but were undone by loose play by its top order on Saturday, with four of the five dismissals coming from batsmen chasing balls outside off stump and edging to the slips.

The trend continued today as England quickly surrendered.

Harris bowled night watchman James Anderson (3) then claimed the vital wicket of the in-form Ian Bell (16), who was trapped lbw and fruitlessly called for a review.

Wicketkeeper Matt Prior (10) was the eighth wicket to fall, surprised by a Harris lifter, spooning the ball to gully where Mike Hussey took a fine diving catch.

Man-of-the-match Mitchell Johnson (3-44) then removed Graeme Swann (9), who edged the ball onto his stumps, and Harris fittingly ended the match when he got Steven Finn (2) to edge the ball to Steven Smith at third slip.

England skipper Andrew Strauss said there was no need to alter course despite the hammering.

"We will learn lessons from this game and move on quickly," Strauss said. "We have a lot of work to do between now and Melbourne, and no, it's not the time to panic and make changes.

"We'll come back stronger. You must give a lot of credit to Australia the way they played. There were passages of the game we dominated but Mitchell (Johnson) made the difference from the start."

Ponting said his side is finally playing to its true potential and praised the efforts of Johson and Harris, as well as Hussey and Brad Haddin, whose again carried the responsibility for the bulk of the runs while fellow batsmen struggled.

Taling about his injury Ponting added, "I erred on the side of caution. Fingers crossed I'll be ready for Melbourne."

Australia was sent in to bat on a green-top and scored 268. In reply England collapsed from 78-0 to be all out for 187, thanks to an inspired spell of swing bowling by Johnson, who took 6-38.

"To get 270 on the board on that first day was probably the difference in the end, and then Johnson's spell on day two was probably one of the all-time greatest spells in Ashes history," Ponting said.

Australia, boosted by home-town hero Hussey's century, scored 309 in the second innings to set England what proved much too big a target.

Johnson also scored 62 with the bat in the first innings, taking the man-of-the-match award to fully justify the selectors' contentious decision to recall him for this match, after having been left out of the Adelaide test.


Scoreboard at the conclusion of the third Ashes Test between Australia and England at the WACA Ground

Australia 1st innings 268 (M. Johnson 62, M. Hussey 61, B. Haddin 53; J. Anderson 3-61, C. Tremlett 3-63)

England 1st innings 187 (I. Bell 53, A. Strauss 52; M. Johnson 6-38, R. Harris 3-59)

Australia 2nd innings 309 (M. Hussey 116, S. Watson 95; C. Tremlett 5-87, S. Finn 3-97

England 2nd innings (resumed at 81-5):
A. Strauss c Ponting b Johnson 15
A. Cook lbw Harris 13
J. Trott c Haddin b Johnson 31
K. Pietersen c Watson b Hilfenhaus 3
P. Collingwood c Smith b Harris 11
J. Anderson b Harris 3
I. Bell lbw Harris 16
M. Prior c Hussey b Harris 10
G. Swann b Johnson 9
C. Tremlett not out 1
S. Finn c Smith b Harris 2
Extras (8lb 1nb) 9
Total (all out, 37 overs) 123
Fall of wickets: 1-23 (Cook), 2-37 (Strauss), 3-55 (Pietersen), 4-81 (Trott), 5-81 (Collingwood), 6-94 (Anderson), 7-111 (Bell), 8-114 (Prior), 9-120 (Swann), 10-123 (Finn).
Bowling: B. Hilfenhaus 10-4-16-1, R. Harris 11-1-47-6, M. Johnson 12-3-44-3, P. Siddle 4-1-8-0 (1nb).

Australia won by 267 runs

Series level 1-1

Man of the match: M. Johnson

Toss: England
Umpires: Marais Erasmus (RSA), Billy Doctrove (WIS)
TV umpire: Aleem Dar (PAK)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)