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By Abhijit Banare
Dec 13, 2013
Steve Smith‘s half century helped Australia to recover from 143 for five as the hosts reached 220 for five at tea on Day One of the third Test at Perth. An unbeaten 77-run partnership between Smith (58 not out) and Brad Haddin (35 not out) has kept Australia in the hunt.
Before the start of the third Test, there were rumours that England might go with an all-pace attack, thereby leaving Graeme Swann out of the playing XI. But all those rumours were put to rest when England made just one change by excluding Monty Panesar. Swann proved to be the strike bowler.
After removing in-form Australian skipper Michael Clarke with just an over to go before lunch, the off-spinner struck again post lunch with the wicket of well-set David Warner.
Warner had completed his half-century post lunch and looked good for a three-figure mark. After his dismissal, England looked pumped up. They were further encouraged after George Bailey fell to a trap set up by them. Cook brought pacers from both ends who tested the batsmen with short deliveries. Bailey couldn’t resist one of them and awkwardly pulled the ball to Kevin Pietersen stationed specifically for such a shot at deep backward square-leg. Stuart Broad got his second wicket of the day.
Post the fifth wicket, Broad gave a hard time to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin who struggled to defend and evade the short balls comfortably. Smith though managed to pull a couple of short deliveries to the boundary. It was some classic fast bowling on display. Even Ben Stokes challenged Haddin with a few more short ones. But he hung on and fought his way.
Towards the end of the session, Australia accelerated and went past 200. Smith yet again targeted Swann hitting him for a six. Haddin too regained his confidence and started to play his strokes easily.
107 for three was the score at which Australia went in for lunch. In the session that followed, the Aussies may not have slipped but surely denied themselves an opportunity to keep the pressure on England. Every time the visitors were desperate for a breakthrough, the Australians have gifted a wicket away. Smith’s wicket will be the key now as he is not just building a partnership but scoring at a brisk rate. England are well behind the over rate and it is likely to be a long last session.
Australia 220 for 5 (David Warner 60, SteveSmith 58*; Graeme Swann 2 for 45, Stuart Broad 2 for 54) vs England.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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