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Waca Woes For Aussies

Ian Ransom

Posted: Dec 17, 2010 at 0200 hrs IST

Perth: England tightened their grip on the Ashes in Perth on Thursday, restricting Australia to a first innings total of 268 after a feisty rearguard fightback on Day One of the third Test.

England's seamers blasted through Australia's first four batsmen for only 36 runs during a fiery morning session but were plundered for another 232 by the last six as the greentop pitch flattened out under a baking hot sun at the WACA ground. Andrew Strauss, on 12, and Alastair Cook (17) survived 12 overs in the last session to see the tourists to 29 for no loss at stumps.

Tail-end cameos by pacemen Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle delighted home fans, but served to underline a missed opportunity by Australia's top order to weather the early attack and build a big total.

After resuming on 179-6, England quick Anderson struck in the fourth over after tea when wicketkeeper Brad Haddin nicked a thick edge to Graeme Swann at slip to go for 53. Anderson then bowled paceman Ryan Harris for three in his next over before Johnson celebrated a brave half-century in a solid return to the side after being dropped following the first Test in Brisbane.

Johnson's heroics were ended by Steve Finn, who dismissed the paceman for a top-scoring 62 after enticing him into a poorly hit pull shot straight to Anderson at square leg. Spinner Graeme Swann then had Ben Hilfenhaus out for 13, caught by Cook at short leg to leave Siddle stranded on 35 not out.

Chris Tremlett earlier continued his brilliant return to the Test team by removing Steve Smith for seven shortly after lunch for his third wicket to leave Australia reeling for 69-5.

No comeback, says Warne

“There will be no comeback in this Ashes series,” said Australian spin legend Shane Warne, putting to rest the frenzied speculation about his possible return to Test cricket due to the team’s continuing slump.

The flamboyant cricketer-turned-commentator, who has been offered a million dollars to come back and rescue Australia’s floundering Ashes campaign, said he is flattered by the attention but it won’t be possible for him to actually return.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there will be no comeback in this Ashes series,” the 41-year-old wrote in his column for The Herald Sun. “I must say I was very flattered and surprised that a lot of you out there wanted me to make a comeback and play in the series,” he said. (Reuters)

Scorecard: Australia 1st innings: S Watson lbw Finn 13, P Hughes b Tremlett 2, R Ponting c Collingwood b Anderson 12, M Clarke c Prior b Tremlett 4, M Hussey c Prior b Swann 61, S Smith c Strauss b Tremlett 7, B Haddin c Swann b Anderson 53, M Johnson c Anderon b Finn 62, R Harris b Anderson 3, P Siddle not out 35, B Hilfenhaus c Cook b Swann 13

Extras (LB3) 3

Total (all out, 76 overs) 268

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-17, 3-28, 4-36, 5-69, 6-137, 7-189, 8-201, 9-233, 10-268

Bowling: J Anderson 20-3-61-3, C Tremlett 23-3-63-3, S Finn 15-1-86-2, P Collingwood 2-0-3-0, G Swann 16-0-52-2.

England 1st innings: A Strauss not out 12, A Cook not out 17

Extras: 0

Total (for no wickets; 12 overs) 29

Bowling: B Hilfenhaus 4-2-5-0, R Harris 4-1-16-0, P Siddle 2-1-4-0, M Johnson 2-1-4-0.

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