Ashes 2017-18: Australia close to regain Ashes

Internet Desk: Australia is in a strong position to reclaim Ashes after restricting England to 132 for 4 by the end of the fourth day of the third test in Perth.

Australia took a 259-run lead in the first innings declaring at 662 for 9. England was still trailing by 127 runs when stumps were called early after a rain-interrupted final session. Dawid Malan was on 28 not out and Jonny Bairstow was unbeaten on 14.

Australia leads the five-Test series 2-0 and a win in the last-ever Ashes Test to be played at the WACA Ground would see it regain the urn.

England lost Mark Stoneman, the opener, early when he was caught behind off Josh Hazlewood in the second over. It didn’t help that Alastair Cook too fell early when Hazlewood snared a brilliant one-handed return catch to remove him for 14.

England’s woes were compounded when Joe Root, the captain, was undone by Nathan Lyon’s first delivery of the innings – caught at first slip by his Australian counterpart Steven Smith for 14.

James Vince showed a lot promise in his way to a 95-ball 55, but there was little he could do when a Mitchell Starc delivery hit a crack and deviated sharply to crash into his stumps as England slumped to 100 for 4.

England would hope to stay alive in the series with some help from the weather. More rain is forecast on the final day, although it is only predicted to be a problem before lunch time.

In the morning, Australia scored its highest Ashes total at home on the back of Smith’s brilliant double ton and Mitchell Marsh’s 181.

Mitchell Marsh couldn’t add to his overnight 181 and was the first wicket to fall when he was trapped leg before wicket by Anderson to end a 301-run partnership with Smith.

Smith added just 10 to his overnight total before being dismissed for 239, adjudged leg before wicket off James Anderson.

Mitchell Starc was run out soon after as Australia lost three wickets for 12 runs. But Tim Paine (49 not out) combined for a 93-run stand with Pat Cummins (41) as Australia stretched the lead past 250 before declaring.

Anderson finished with 4 for 116, while Stuart Broad ended with 0 for 142.


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