Aussies strike back after England surge

Stuart Broad celebrates after taking the wicket of George Bailey
Stuart Broad celebrates after taking the wicket of George Bailey
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England exposed some unexpected Australia vulnerability to take five wickets by tea on day one of the third Ashes Test at the WACA.

Graeme Swann had a hand in three of the first four as Australia made plenty of their own trouble, before Steve Smith (58no) redressed the balance in an unbroken stand of 77 with Brad Haddin in a total of 220 for five.

There was no onus on the hosts to make the pace here, from 2-0 up with three to play.

But after Michael Clarke won the toss on a searingly hot day, Australia gave England a possible route back into this series as they sought to dominate but shot themselves in the foot with some poor strokes along the way.

England struck early, in unexpected circumstances, when James Anderson’s speed and accuracy ran out Chris Rogers.

From 13 for one, David Warner (60) kept the pressure on with some fierce driving among his seven fours as well as one dismissive six over long on off Tim Bresnan.

But Shane Watson and Clarke both contributed to their own downfall, and even more so Warner and George Bailey after lunch as Australia faltered to 143 for five at one stage.

Rogers clipped Broad off his legs for the first four of the match, and next ball glanced fine for another to set the frenetic tempo.

That was as good as it got for Rogers, because an attempted sharp single next ball did not account for the athleticism of Anderson.

Rogers’ dive was in vain, after Anderson moved quickly to his left and transferred to his right hand for a direct hit at the non-striker’s end.

It was a bonus wicket, and so too was that of Watson, who tried to drive the previously expensive Stuart Broad but instead speared an edge high to Swann at second slip.

The length was wrong for the shot, especially at this venue.

Clarke soon appeared in ominous form but left many of the big shots to Warner - who brought up their 50 stand and Australia’s hundred with that back-foot six off Bresnan.

The introduction of Swann, however, for one over before lunch brought England the wicket they craved most.

Trying to milk a single into the leg side, Clarke chipped low to the off-spinner’s standard man at short midwicket.

Cook was the catcher, winning the first exchange between the two captains in their 100th Test.

Warner completed his 57-ball fifty soon after lunch, and Smith got off the mark from the 16th delivery he faced when he was up the wicket to deposit Swann into the Lillee Marsh stand for six.

But a lame shot from Warner presented Michael Carberry with an unmissable catch at point off Swann, and then Cook’s decision to immediately replace the off-spinner with Broad paid off when Bailey ducked two bouncers but took on a third and holed out to a tumbling Kevin Pietersen at deep square leg.

Both Smith and new batsman Haddin mishooked Bresnan but got away with it, early in a stand which took the sting out of England.

Shortly before tea, as the tourists began to flag in the heat, Smith reached a deserved 76-ball half-century full of on-side fluency and some especially strong pulling off the front foot.