Australia level series after England collapse

Australia v England, Third Test, fourth day
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The Independent Online

England have lost the Third Test by 267 runs to leave the Ashes series level at 1-1. The tourists lost their last five wickets in a mere 50 minutes on the fourth morning showing no inclination to fight.

The defeat in Perth was as abject as the victory in Adelaide a fortnight earlier had been splendid. Although the match had begun well for England, from the afternoon of the first day Australia were in the ascendant and their star kept rising.

Most of the late damage was inflicted by Ryan Harris who finished with career best figures of six for 47 and found opponents only too ready to assist his cause. England were dismissed for 123 to follow their first innings 187. Their batting which had looked so formidable coming into the game was brutally exposed.

All England could realistically aspire to on the fourth day was to keep Australia waiting for victory by displaying some resilience. Their top five batsmen had already been dismissed. Resilience came there none. It took Australia only ten overs to capture the wickets they needed for victory.

After England resumed on 81 for five, the nightwatchman Jimmy Anderson was the first to depart, leaden footed and bowled by Harris. Ian Bell played some typically elegant drives before playing round a straight one from Harris and was bowled.

Matt Prior fended off a ripsnorter of a short ball for Mike Hussey to take a diving catch in the gully, Graeme Swann was bowled off an edge by Mitchell Johnson and the Steve Finn edged Harris to third slip.

The result, as one-sided as that in Adelaide where England won by an innings, showed how close the sides are. The next Test starts in Melbourne on Boxing Day. England need only to draw the series to retain the Ashes. That seemed a distinct prospect in Perth.