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Ashes slowly slipping away from England after a batting collapse

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The Ashes might well be over in this third Test at the WACA in Perth with the Australians grabbing their opportunity with both hands following a disappointing batting show from England. The tourists can still come back into the match but for that they need wickets in a hurry on the third day’s play which doesn’t look that good with Australia sitting pretty at 119 for 1, a lead of 148! If the Australian batsmen can pile up the runs then their side would be in a great position to wrap up this edition of the Ashes 3-0 with still two more tests to go. There is lot of time left in this test match as well, three complete days and the weather remains bright and sunny.

One thing that England could do was to get really close to Australia’s first innings total of 244. They fell short by it by just 29 after they found themselves in a disastrous position at 128 for 7. Big Kevin Pietersen was the only man standing tall among the batsmen, fighting all alone to score 70 precious runs. It was Glenn McGrath and Stuart Clark who started the slide this morning with the two wickets of the overnight batsmen – Collingwood and Strauss. Collingwood was dismissed in just the fourth over of the day by McGrath while Strauss had an unlucky caught behind decision after there was some daylight between the bat and the ball as seen in the TV Replays.

Skipper Andrew Flintoff was expected to give the much needed support to Pietersen but he fell to the medium pace of Andrew Symonds. So was Geraint Jones, out for a fourth ball duck driving away from his body off Symonds. Wickets kept on going down and Pietersen was left with no options but to attack. It wasn’t easy to find the boundaries with Ponting putting up lots of men patrolling the boundaries. Pietersen had to finally fall, the ninth wicket to go down as he miscued a big shot off Lee. Just when everyone thought the English resistance was over, Steve Harmison (23) and Monty Panesar (16*) put on a stubborn last wicket partnership that took England from 175 for 9 to 215. Andrew Symonds’s two wickets were crucial in the outcome of the day’s play, he had bowled just four overs for that!

Matthew Hoggard provided a dream start for his side by going through the defences of Justin Langer to clean him in the very first ball. But Flintoff’s team had to spend the rest of the day waiting for a breakthrough. They were kept at bay by Hayden and Ponting who saw the rest of the play, little under 36 overs through a solid partnership of 119. Both Hayden and Ponting remain unbeaten on the same score of 57.

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