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Cricket

Ashes victory within Australia's grasp

David Warner ton helps Australia surge to lead of 369 runs on day three of the third Test at the WACA in Perth.

Last updated: 15 Dec 2013 20:59
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Australian batsman David Warner celebrates his century against England at the WACA in Perth [AFP]

Australia are closing in on winning the Ashes Test series for the first time since 2007.

The Australians prepared to go into the day four of the third Test at the WACA in Perth on Monday knowing that if they won this match, they would have clinched the five-match series 3-0.

The hosts took a command of the third Test against England on day three on Sunday, as Australia took six wickets for just 61 runs in the morning session to get England all out for just 251.

To finish day three 370 in front, that's position A. Today was an amazing day.

Chris Rogers, Australia's opening batsman

David Warner and Chris Rogers put on an opening stand of 157 in Australia's second innings on Sunday, as Warner punished a depleted and dispirited England with a brilliant century to help drive Australia to 235 for three and a dominant lead of 369 with seven wickets remaining.

Australia reached stumps with Shane Watson, who had made 29 not out, and Steve Smith, unbeaten on five, at the crease and looking well on their way to a victory which would secure an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

England's hopes of keeping the series alive by avoiding defeat at the WACA had all but melted away in the fierce morning heat when they were skittled for 251 in their first innings.

They plummeted even further when their best bowler Stuart Broad was taken to hospital for scans on an injured foot and was unable to play any part in the final two sessions.

"Something showed up on the x-ray but it was a bit inconclusive so had to have an MRI,'' said Broad, who arrived at a news conference on crutches and wearing a protective boot.

"I'm desperate to play a part in the rest of the Ashes series. I won't be bowling tomorrow, but there's a bit of a break in between this test and the next and I'm desperate to be there."

Warner took full advantage of Broad's absence and, revelling in the lack ofpressure afforded him by another superb performance by his bowlers, bludgeoned his way to his fifth test century in 127 balls with 16 fours and one six.

The 27-year-old brought up the milestone by cutting Graeme Swann for a boundary and celebrated with an extravagent leap into the air and a flurry of bat pointing towards the home dressing room.

It was the opener's second hundred of the series and a sixth by an Australian batsman to none from the tourists, whose entireteam have been outscored by Warner, Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin.

England, a pale imitation of the side that won the home Ashes series 3-0 earlier this year, had their chances to stophis progress but wicketkeeper Matt Prior missed two stumping opportunities when the batsman was on 13 and 89.

They finally had their man for 112 when Warner holed out to Ben Stokes at mid-on attempting to smash Swann for a second huge six in one over.

Rogers said after the day's play he did not think Australia could be in a better position.

"To finish day three 370 in front, that's position A." he said.

"Today was an amazing day."

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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