England spinner Graeme Swann has backed his batsmen to match Australia with their batting skills in the third Test match being played at Old Trafford.

Peter Siddle took two wickets shortly before stumps on the second day of the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford to cement a strong Australia position built by captain Michael Clarke's 187, AFP reported.

At Friday's close Ashes-holders England were 52 for two in reply to Australia's first innings 527 for seven declared, a deficit of 475 runs, in a match the tourists, 2-0 down with three to play, had to win to stand any chance of regaining the urn.

England captain Alastair Cook, dropped on 15, was 36 not out and Jonathan Trott two not out after Clarke, whose innings was his highest against England, enterprisingly declared not long after tea.