Australia enters Day 3 of the third Ashes Test with the upper hand against England after two late wickets on Day 2. We’ll have live scores from 8.00pm AEST.
Australia will be looking to drive home the advantage on the third day of the third test tonight (Australian time).
After compiling an uncharacteristically mammoth 7/527dec, Australia started well with the ball yesterday – Peter Siddle dismissing both Joe Root and nightwatchman Tim Bresnan.
England will resume on 2/52, still 475 runs behind. With the difficult-to-remove Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott at the crease, they will be looking to consolidate first and foremost, before chipping away at the deficit.
Australia will start fresh and will be buoyed by a deteriorating wicket expected to take increasing turn over the remaining three days.
The weather forecast for Manchester is fine with some cloud and a top temperature of 21- perfect for bowling. There is an outside chance of rain affecting play.
Michael Clarke says Australia haven’t done enough yet to stop the laughter.
The Australian captain was ridiculed at Lord’s when he declared during the on-field presentation that his side could fight back to win the Ashes from 2-0 down.
But Australia’s sustained dominance in the third Test at Old Trafford kept hope of a miracle alive.
At stumps on day two, Australia held a 475-run lead. They declared their first innings at 7-527, before striking down two England wickets to leave the home side reeling at 2-52.
Alastair Cook has back trouble and is 36 not out, and Jonathan Trott was lucky to survive a number of close calls to be unbeaten on two.
But with rain never far away in Manchester, and victory their only option, Clarke says the job isn’t nearly done.
“No, they’ll still be laughing,” he said of the sceptics.
“The team should be extremely proud of the position we are in. It shows a lot of character.
“But we’ve got three tough days of cricket ahead just to win this Test match … before we even worry about the next two Tests.”
The only time a team has recovered from a 2-0 deficit to win an Ashes series, Don Bradman smashed two double hundreds and an unbeaten century.
Clarke finished 13 runs shy of a fifth double ton, but his inspirational captain’s knock was enough to put Australia in a position of undisputed power for the first time this series.
The skipper moved past Mark Taylor into seventh on the all-time Australian run-scorers’ list, but said it would count for nothing unless victory was the ultimate result.
“It doesn’t matter how many hundreds you get. If you’re not winning games of cricket, they’re irrelevant,” he said.
Just as it was no surprise Clarke was the inspiration with the bat, Peter Siddle once again stood up as the leader with the ball.
England were 0-47 and on track to see off the intense pressure applied by the Australian attack, until Siddle (2-7) found something extra on a flat pitch.
Left out of the action for the opening 22 overs, Siddle had Joe Root out nicking for eight in his second over and, 12 balls later, had Tim Bresnan on his way caught behind – even if the nightwatchman was unlucky to be given.
In a bizarre set of circumstances, Bresnan walked and didn’t review, despite replays clearly showing the only contact with the ball was with his hip.
It was the exact opposite to earlier in the day when Ashes villain David Warner inexplicably challenged a clear edge to slip in his eagerly anticipated return to the Test team.
Warner was hammered by the Old Trafford crowd both when he walked to the crease and when he trudged off for five.
Before he became Australian captain, Clarke too was a much-maligned figure, but said Warner wouldn’t need too many hugs.
“I’ve been booed in my own country so I know what it feels like,” he said.
“As a player, you’ve got a job to do. You’re pretty focused when you’re walking out to bat and so I can guarantee you it would not have affected Davey one bit.”
Steve Smith scored 89, and Mitchell Starc (66) and Brad Haddin (65) combined for an outstanding unbeaten eighth-wicket stand of 97 to propel Australia to their best total since Adelaide against South Africa last summer.
Spinner Nathan Lyon (0-21) made an outstanding start to his comeback, while Shane Watson (0-0), Ryan Harris (0-12) and Starc (0-8) also showed Australia mean business.
Earlier, England spinner Graeme Swann took the 17th five-wicket haul of his career.
– With AAP.