The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ruthless Aussies in charge

Perth: Englandís hopes of saving the Ashes were left in tatters on Friday after Steve Waughís Australians ruthlessly and predictably seized control of the third Test.

Needing to win to keep the series alive after massive defeats in the first two Tests, Englandís fragile batting once again self-destructed as the tourists were bowled out for 185 in less than 65 overs.

In reply, Australia raced to 126 for two at close on the first day, leaving them just 59 runs in arrears.

Ricky Ponting, showing no signs of slowing up after making centuries in the first two Tests, belted six fours and a six to finish the day unbeaten on 43 with Damien Martyn batting on 20.

Englandís injury woes continued when fast bowler Chris Silverwood was taken to hospital after twisting his ankle when fielding in the final session.

Australia lost their openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden cheaply but refused to take the foot off the throttle as they quickly set about wiping out their deficit, scoring at just under 5.5 runs per over.

Langer was run out for 19 attempting a third run and Hayden departed for 30 caught hooking in the deep.

England had begun the day well enough with a solid 47-run stand from openers Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick only for the wheels to fall off again.

The all-too-familiar collapse was not as rapid or spectacular as the falls in Brisbane and Adelaide but the steady trickle of wickets prevented them from posting a decent total on a lively WACA pitch.

Vaughan and Trescothick both made 34 and Robert Key top scored with 47 before being dismissed on the final ball before tea but none of the other specialist batsmen even made double figures.

Brett Lee celebrated his return to the Australian team after missing the first two Tests with three wickets while Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie captured two apiece and Shane Warne and Martyn one each.

England captain Nasser Hussain (8) fell to a wild hook and Vaughan and Alec Stewart (7) both went to undisciplined pull shots.

Mark Butcher was needlessly run out for nine from the non-strikerís end after a terrible mix-up with Vaughan and a brilliant piece of fielding by Australian captain Steve Waugh.

England suffered a setback before play began when strike bowler Andy Caddick failed a fitness test and middle-order batsman John Crawley was ruled out because of injury. But their fortunes appeared to reviving when Hussain won the toss for the third time in a row and opted to bat first.

Trescothick smashed seven fours, including three in one over off Gillespie, before departing with the total on 47 when he edged Lee behind, triggering a slow but steady collapse.

Key, who forced his way into the team before the second Test with an unbeaten century against Australia A, held the innings together with a mixture of patience and aggression, belting five fours and a six over the head of Warne during his 108-ball innings.

But his knock came to an end three short of a half-century when he dragged a ball from part-time seamer Martyn back on to his stumps to underline Englandís bad fortunes.

Richard Dawson also held the tail together after tea with a defiant, unbeaten 19 before running out of partners when Gillespie cleaned up Silverwood and Steve Harmison.

Australiaís reply was quick and brutal, with Langer signalling his intentions by smacking the second ball of the innings to the boundary before his cameo appearance ended suddenly.

The left-hander was given out by the video umpire with the total on 31 after falling short of his ground attempting a third run when Silverwood threw the ball in from fine-leg and Stewart removed the bails.

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