England expressed their bitter disappointment on Saturday as Australia gained the upper hand following a DRS controversy over the dismissal of Joe Root.
England started the second day’s play in fine fashion by bowling Australia out for 358 with the temperature already in the low 40s at the WACA Ground.
By stumps the momentum had swung back to the Australians as the tourists reached 4-180 on a fast and bouncy pitch.
Kevin Pietersen was out for 19 in 95 minutes, falling to Peter Siddle for the third time in the series and 10th time in Pietersen’s career.
The 102-Test veteran is averaging just 24.00 in the series compared to a career mark of 47.66.
Skipper Alastair Cook’s wicket for 72 was another key victory for Australia, but the departure of Root (four) also caused a massive stir.
The fuming batsman left the ground shaking his head after an unsuccessful review.
“It was a disappointing dismissal for us, and a key dismissal for us,” England opener Michael Carberry said.
“He felt he didn’t hit the ball, so he reviewed it. We’re bitterly disappointed.
“The decision by the third umpire, we don’t control that. It’s one of those things we have to swallow I’m afraid.”
Cook and Carberry (43) shared a partnership of 85 which is the highest opening stand for either side in the series.
Root looked shocked after he was given out caught behind to seamer Shane Watson.
Inconclusive evidence on Real-Time Snicko and Hot Spot meant Root’s fate was in the hands of South African umpire Marais Erasmus, whose original decision stood.
England fans booed as Root made a slow and reluctant exit.
Cook was set for a century in his 100th Test but fell caught at point to spinner Nathan Lyon at 3-136.
Ten runs later came the turning point of the day when Pietersen couldn’t contain his aggression any longer. Pietersen swatted a ball to mid-on where Mitchell Johnson took a high-leaping catch.
Carberry defended Pietersen’s shot selection.
“It’s a shot that many of us have seen him play time and time again and hit it out of the ground,” Carberry said.
“We want people to play how they play naturally. I wouldn’t want to see Kevin put that shot in the locker.”
McDermott said Johnson showed fantastic athleticism to catch Pietersen.
“Great catch and a good wicket for us. Those two last wickets in that last session were very crucial to our day,” he said.
Bowling coach Craig McDermott said the Aussies weren’t celebrating a first-innings advantage just yet and warned that Ian Bell (nine not out) and wicketkeeper/batsman Matt Prior posed dangers to the home side’s attack.
“We’ve just got to play the best we can on that wicket. But it may be better that we’re bowling last on it because the cracks will be even wider, so it will be great,” McDermott said.
Cook’s men dominated the opening session, taking 4-59 to bowl Australia out for 385.
Steve Smith (111) and David Warner (60) were the only two batsmen in Australia’s top six to reach 25.
England trail two-nil in the five-match series and defeat in Perth would mean Australia regain the Ashes.