Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow register highest 5th-wicket partnership for England at Perth    Getty Images
Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow register highest 5th-wicket partnership for England at Perth Getty Images

David Malan and Jonny Bairstow endured Australia’s hostile pace bowling on a bouncy Perth pitch, steering England to 305 for 4 at stumps on Day One of the third Ashes Test. After making England dance to chin music, Australia could not agitate them further on a drying wicket. Malan and Bairstow exploited the conditions and registered the highest fifth-wicket partnership for England at the venue.

The thin film of grass disappeared as the day progressed. Although the Australian pacers extracted pace from the surface, the seam movement was not favourable enough to threaten Malan who scored his maiden international hundred. The six-feet Malan had a long strong forward when the ball was in the arc to drive. Bairstow, on the hand, remained strong square of the wicket. He completed his 3,000 runs in the format with a flick down leg.

Nathan Lyon surprisingly was not effective on such a wicket. He had his moments, but the hard track did not induce sharp turn.

All this would not have happened had Mark Stoneman not dictated terms in the morning session. After losing Alastair Cook early, the tenacious Stoneman refused to crack under pressure. At the other hand was James Vince, providing ample support .

The left-right combination distracted the pacers, forcing them to bowl more boundary balls to Stoneman. He scored 10 fours in his 56-run knock. Not to disregard the fact that he was dropped by Mitchell Starc at first slip. It was an absolute dolly at that position to grab.

Josh Hazlewood dismissed Vince at the stroke of lunch, but remained the unluckiest of bowlers. Barring the dropped catch, quite a few of them all short fell in no man’s land. It was a magnificent spell that helped Starc dismiss Stoneman. The decision eventually turned out to be controversial as the third umpire Aleem Dar gave him out on the evidence of a faint spike on the Sniko, disregarding no signs displayed on the HotSpot. That, however, was a snorter of a delivery. Joe Root punched the glass door in the dressing room to express his disapproval over the decision. His, to add to his agony, had been the softest of dismissals. Stoneman’s dismissal blended more to Root’s frustration.

Brief scores:

England 305 for 4 (Mark Stoneman 56, Dawid Malan 110*, Jonny Bairstow 75*; Mitchell Starc 2 for 79, Josh Hazlewood 1 for 62) vs Australia.

Full scorecard