England’s Craig Overton appeals for LBW to dismiss Australia’s Cameron Bancroft during the second day of the third Ashes cricket test match during the Ashes test match between Australia and England, at WACA Ground, Perth, in Australia, on December 15, 2017. Photo: Reuters
PERTH: Paceman Craig Overton removed both of Australia’s openers but the hosts pushed to 88 for two at tea in reply to England’s first innings 403 on day two of the third Ashes test on Friday.
Overton had David Warner caught behind for 22 and Cameron Bancroft lbw for 25 to leave Australia wobbling at 55 for two on a warm and breezy day at the WACA, where England must avoid defeat to stay alive in the five-match Ashes series.
Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja steadied the innings for the hosts, with the skipper on 24 not out and number three Khawaja on 14 at the break as Australia cut England’s lead to 315 runs.
Jonny Bairstow earlier completed a sparkling century in a record-setting 237-run stand with Dawid Malan before England lost 6-35 in a huge collapse to be bowled out by lunch.
Promoted up the order to six, wicketkeeper Bairstow’s 119 gave him his first test ton in 18 months and England’s second of the series following Malan’s hundred on day one of the test.
The pair had pushed their team past 350 with six wickets to spare and the partnership was England’s highest at the WACA.
But Nathan Lyon broke the stand when Malan miscued a shot into the air to be caught for 140, triggering a surprising rout.
Mitchell Starc finished with 4-91 and Josh Hazlewood 3-92 as Australia’s bowlers hit back after being dominated by Malan and Bairstow earlier in the morning.
Tail-ender Stuart Broad smashed a six to drive England past 400, the first time the tourists had reached that mark in Australia since January 2011, but became Starc’s fourth victim when he miscued a hook to be caught for 12 and end the innings.
England had resumed on 305 for four, and it took Malan and Bairstow 27 balls to add to the overnight total but they took to Australia’s relief bowlers with a gusto.
Bairstow smashed quick Pat Cummins for consecutive boundaries, and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh came in for a similar hiding.
Bairstow’s first visit to Perth after the squad’s arrival Down Under was a cause of embarrassment to the team following revelations he ‘head-butted’ Australia opener Cameron Bancroft by way of greeting at a local bar.
Humiliated by the attention at the time, Bairstow was overjoyed after stroking a single off Marsh to bring up his fourth test century.
He bounded down the pitch, leapt in the air and after ripping off his helmet, he nudged his forehead against the crest a few times, leaving his team mates laughing in the dressing room.
His batting partners fell around him quickly, though, with Cummins having Moeen Ali caught by Smith at first slip for a duck, and Chris Woakes then snaffled in the deep for eight off Hazlewood.
Starc ended Bairstow’s 215-ball innings by removing his middle stump in the following over, with Hazlewood dismissing tail-ender Overton for two.