England take upper hand

Graeme Swann (AFP)
Graeme Swann (AFP)

Perth - A revitalised England gave notice they would not be giving up the Ashes without a fight and reduced Australia to 220 for five at tea on a sweltering opening day of the third Test at the WACA on Friday.

Australia, who will recapture the urn with victory in Perth, were scoring at five runs an over at one stage of their innings but also contributed to their own downfall with some rash strokes.

Steve Smith, who was unbeaten on 58 having opened his innings with a booming six and reached his sixth test half century, will resume for the final session with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (35).

David Warner's attempted cut to be caught at point for 60 would contend for the worst dismissal of the day but George Bailey (seven) came close to claiming the honours with an attempted hook that saw him hole out on the boundary.

Captain Michael Clarke (24) will also be disappointed with the stroke that led to his departure just before lunch, a dismissal which followed the early losses of opener Chris Rogers (11) and Shane Watson (18).

Clarke, leading an unchanged side, had won the toss for the third straight match and had no hesitation in deciding to bat first on what looked like an excellent batting surface.

Warner, playing on the ground where he scored his Test best innings of 180 against India two years ago, might have been expected to take the game to the English bowlers but initially it was Rogers who showed more attacking intent.

The 36-year-old hit successive fours off Stuart Broad in the third over but his decision to take a single off the next ball proved fatal to his innings as James Anderson's direct hit found him well short of the crease.

Watson, under pressure after failing to shine with the bat in the Brisbane and Adelaide victories, had the perfect opportunity to put together a good score in the Perth sunshine.

Broad switched ends, though, and from the third ball of his fourth over induced the all-rounder into an attempted drive that took a thick edge and was well caught over his head by Graeme Swann in the slips.

Warner then put together a 50-run partnership with his captain before Swann came on for his first over five minutes before lunch.

Clarke came down the wicket to attack the spinner's second delivery only to steer the ball to midwicket where England captain Alastair Cook got down low to take a fine catch and send his counterpart back to the dressing room.

With the temperatures climbing towards 40 degrees Celsius, Warner reached his 10th Test 50 with a single to backward square leg in the second ball after lunch.

He added just 10 more runs to his tally before a tame attempted cut from a Swann delivery was snaffled up by Michael Carberry at point.

Bailey followed him soon afterwards after tiring of a barrage of short bowling from Broad and trying to hook the seamer only to find Kevin Pietersen's safe hands on the boundary.

Australia were now rocking at 143 for five but Smith and Haddin steadied the innings with their partnership of 77.

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