x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Game on as Aussies fight back

Mercurial paceman Mitchell Johnson has found his inswinging form to help Australia skittle England for 187 and wrest back the initiative on a topsy-turvy second day of the third Ashes Test

Mercurial paceman Mitchell Johnson found his inswinging form to help Australia skittle England for 187 and wrest back the initiative on a topsy-turvy second day of the third Ashes Test in Perth.

Mitchell smashed through England's top order then cleaned up the tail to finish with 6-38 in a brilliant return after he was dropped for the second test in Adelaide following a wayward, wicketless display in the opener in Brisbane.

The 29-year-old Queenslander's efforts sent Australia in to bat with an 81-run lead, but England's seamers hit back with three wickets after tea to leave Australia 119-3 at stumps.

Steve Finn removed Phillip Hughes for 12, coaxing a nick from the 22-year-old opener that went straight to Paul Collingwood's safe hands at third slip.

The young paceman then had Ricky Ponting caught behind for one, the struggling Australian captain feathering a catch off his glove to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Ponting, who has not surpassed 12 runs in his past four innings, was given not out, but England successfully appealed the decision to ensure the embattled 35-year-old receives another harsh reception in Saturday's newspapers.

Michael Clarke smashed four boundaries in an aggressive 20-run cameo but undone himself by chasing a Chris Tremlett delivery onto his stumps as Australia wobbled on 64-3.

Clarke's dismissal brought the hosts' serial rescuer Mike Hussey to the crease and the 35-year-old left-hander proved rock-solid again, adding an unbeaten 24 in a 55-run stand with opener Shane Watson (61 not out) to see Australia to a 200-run lead at stumps.

Trailing 1-0 in the five-test series and harangued by a hostile local media after being bowled out for 268 on Thursday, Australia have seven wickets in hand and every hope of building a match-winning total on day three.

Scoreboard at stumps on the second day in the third Ashes Test between Australia and England at the WACA Ground

Australia 1st Innings 268

England 1st Innings
(Overnight 29-0)
Andrew Strauss c Haddin b Harris 52
Alistair Cook c Hussey b Johnson 32
Jonathan Trott lbw b Johnson 4
Kevin Pieterson lbw b Johnson 0
Paul Collingwood lbw b Johnson 5
Ian Bell c Ponting b Harris 53
Matt Prior b Siddle 12
Graeme Swann c Haddin b Harris 11
Chris Tremlett b Johnson 2
James Anderson c Watson b Anderson 0
Steve Finn not out 1
Extras (8b, 4lb, 1w, 2nb) 15
TOTAL: (all out) 187
Overs: 62.3.
Fall of wickets: 1-78, 2-82, 3-82, 4-94, 5-98, 6-145, 7-181, 8-186, 9-186.
Bowling: Ben Hilfenhaus 21-6-53-0 (1nb), Ryan Harris 15-4-59-3 (1w), Peter Siddle 9-2-25-1 (1nb), Mitchell Johnson 17.3-5-38-6.

Australia 2nd Innings
Shane Watson not out 61
Phil Hughes c Collingwood b Finn 12
Ricky Ponting c Prior b Finn 1
Michael Clarke b Tremlett 20
Mike Hussey not out 24
Extras (1nb) 1
TOTAL: (For three wickets) 119
Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-34, 3-64.
Bowling: James Anderson 11-5-25-0, Chris Tremlett 9-2-20-1, Steve Finn 9-1-48-2 (1nb), Graeme Swann 4-0-26-0.
Overs: 33.

Umpires: Marais Erasmus, South Africa, and Billy Doctrove, West Indies.
TV Umpire: Aleem Dar, Pakistan. Match Referee: Jeff Crowe, New Zealand.
Toss: won by England.
Series: England leads 1-0.