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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Ashes PHOTOS: Watson shines as Australia close in on victory in Perth

Ashes PHOTOS: Watson shines as Australia close in on victory in Perth

Last updated on: December 16, 2013 16:12 IST

Ashes PHOTOS: Watson shines as Australia close in on victory in Perth

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Shane Watson blasted a quickfire century before taking a wicket with the ball as Australia inched closer to victory, against England on the fourth day of the third Test at the WACA in Perth on Monday.

- Scorecard

Australia were five wickets away from reclaiming the Ashes after reducing England to 251 for five, who are chasing a massive 504 for victory.


Image: Peter Siddle (centre) celebrates with his team mates after getting the wicket of Ian Bell
Photographs: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

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Australia continue domination

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Australia's bowlers continued their domination as they kept picking wickets at regular wickets in the England second innings.

The cracks at the WACA pitch began to open up and the batsmen had a tough time negotiating the uneven bounce from the Australian pacers.

It was another day of intense drama and some high farce, though, that put Australia on track for a victory that would give them an unassailable 3-0 lead and ensure the return of the Ashes.


Image: Television commentators Ian Healy (left) and Michael Slater place a mobile phone into a crack on the pitch before start of play on day four
Photographs: Paul Kane/Getty Images

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Watson's blast flattens England

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The hosts resumed on another sweltering morning at 235 for three and Watson, who started the day on 29, signalled his and his team's intent by smashing two fours and a six off the first over from spinner Graeme Swann.

The big all-rounder reached his fifty with a single off the first ball of the fourth over and took Australia's lead past 400 inside the first 20 minutes of the day.


Image: Shane Watson
Photographs: Paul Kane/Getty Images

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Watson blasts century to put Australia in control

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Watson has the reputation of being unable to convert 50s into centuries but there seemed little doubt he would do it as three sixes and a four off another Swann over took him from 60 to 82.

England were left ruing their luck when Tim Bresnan caught Watson on 90 only to tumble over the boundary rope and the Australian soon captured his fourth Test century when he clipped a four to fine leg.

Watson's departure for 103 was as remarkable as his sparkling innings, which included 11 fours and the five bludgeoned sixes.

Ian Bell waited for an age for a skied ball to come down only to drop it but Watson, not expecting the error, had stopped running and sharp-witted bowler Bresnan ran him out at the non-striker's end.


Image: Shane Watson celebrates after completing his century
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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Bailey hits a world record 28 runs off Anderson

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George Bailey smashed a record-equalling 28 off a James Anderson over to take Australia's lead past the 500-mark, before captain Michael Clarke called his players in.

Bailey's 4,6,2,4,6,6 matched West Indies great Brian Lara's 4,6,6,4,4,4 off South African Robin Peterson in the Johannesburg Test in the 2003-04 season.


Image: George Bailey
Photographs: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

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Cook dismissed for a golden duck

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Pacer Ryan Harris produced a peach of a ball to remove Alastair Cook's off bail, the first time the England captain had been dismissed by the first ball he faced in his 100 Tests.


Image: Ryan Harris (centre) celebrates the wicket of Alastair Cook
Photographs: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

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Carberry wastes another good start

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Opener Michael Carberry continued his habit of getting a start before departing in the 30s and 40s when he was adjudged leg before wicket off the bowling of Watson with 31 runs to his name.


Image: Shane Watson appeals for the wicket of Michael Carberry
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Haddin's brilliant catch sends back Root

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Joe Root had dug in and scored 19 off 88 before he was brilliantly caught behind by Brad Haddin off Mitchell Johnson to leave a shell-shocked England reeling at 95 for three at the tea break.


Image: Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (right) takes a catch to dismiss Joe Root
Photographs: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Pietersen falls for 45

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Kevin Pietersen stroked a fluent 45 before his dismissal left England in complete disarray.

Pietersen, who hit six fours and a six in 57 deliveries, attempted another huge shot off Nathan Lyon but was caught by Ryan Harris at long-on as England slipped to 121 for four.


Image: Australia's players celebrate as Kevin Pietersen walks back after his dismissal
Photographs: Paul Kane/Getty Images

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Stokes hits maiden Test fifty

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Ben Stokes, who had scored his maiden Test half-century and was 72 not out, and Matt Prior, unbeaten on seven, were at the crease but the tourists were still 252 runs behind and will need to bat through the final day to save the Test and keep the series alive.

Ian Bell put on 99 runs with Stokes for the fifth wicket before an Australian challenge overturned a not out verdict when the TV umpire determined his attempted uppercut had nicked a Peter Siddle delivery to Haddin for 60.


Image: Ben Stokes
Photographs: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

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