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Cricket

Australia poised for Ashes triumph

Shane Watson scores 73 off 40 balls for a spectacular century as Australia dominate England and move closer to victory.

Last updated: 16 Dec 2013 14:33
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Australia captain Shane Watson during day four of the Third Ashes Test Match against England [Getty Images]

A dominant Australia are five wickets away from reclaiming the Ashes, after hammering England at the end of the fourth day of the third test.

England were 251 for five on Monday at Perth's WACA, while Australia declared at 359 for three before lunch.

England's Ben Stokes, who is 72 not out after scoring his maiden test half-century, and Matt Prior resume batting on Tuesday with the team trailing by 252 runs and needing to bat through the final day to keep the series alive.

Earlier on Monday Australia's Shane Watson scored 73 runs off 40 balls for a spectacular century and George Bailey equalled the test record for the most runs from a single over.

England, requiring 504 runs to triumph over their opponents, lost their captain when Ryan Harris bowled Alastair Cook for a golden duck with the first ball of the innings.

Watson sure of win

"To have a licence to take on the game was a lot of fun," said all-rounder Watson, whose 103 included 11 fours and five sixes.

"We're confident. Absolutely. A good night sleep will freshen our bowlers up to be able to have a really good crack first thing in the morning.

"We have to bowl really well to give ourselves the best chance to be able to achieve a few dreams, for a lot of us who've been involved in the last few series especially."

England, shell-shocked after the morning assault, managed to slow down the home side's momentum after lunch with Michael Carberry (31), Joe Root (19) getting starts.

Kevin Pietersen was also well set on 45 when, in a move unlikely to appease his critics, he strode down the wicket to take on spinner Nathan Lyon, sending the ball high into the sky but failing to clear Harris at the long-on boundary.

Ian Bell's 99-run partnership with Stokes for the fifth wicket ended when the TV umpire determined his attempted uppercut had nicked a Peter Siddle delivery to Haddin for 60.

"We're still hanging in there, and that's the important thing. We need to take tomorrow as deep as we possibly can, keep showing some fight," said Bell.

"We need the two guys who are out there now to take it to lunch. We've just got to keep on fighting."

The morning of intense drama and high farce has put Australia firmly track for a victory that will give them an unassailable 3-0 series lead and ensure the return of the urn.

The hosts resumed 369 runs ahead at 235 for three and Watson, who started the day on 29, signalled his team's intent with two fours and a six off the first over from spinner Graeme Swann.

England were left cursing their luck when Tim Bresnan caught Watson on 90 only to tumble over the boundary rope and the Australian soon captured his fourth test century with a clipped four to fine leg.

485

Source:
Reuters
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