• Sat
  • Apr 19, 2014
  • Updated: 5:26am
SportOther Sport

David Warner's century puts Australia on the brink of winning the Ashes

Opening batsman helps home team strengthen their lead in the second innings after England's struggling line-up fold tamely on day three

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 December, 2013, 9:46pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 December, 2013, 9:46pm

David Warner punished a depleted and dispirited England with a brilliant century to help drive Australia to 235 for three and a dominant lead of 369 after the third day of the third Ashes test yesterday.

The hosts reached stumps with Shane Watson, who had made 29 not out, and Steve Smith, unbeaten on five, at the crease and looking well on their way to a victory to secure an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

England's hopes of keeping the series alive by avoiding defeat at the Waca had all but melted away in the fierce morning heat when they were skittled for 251 in their first innings.

They plummeted even further when their best bowler Stuart Broad was taken to hospital at lunch for scans on an injured foot, which will prevent him from bowling for the remainder of the match even if he might bat again.

"I don't think we could be in a better position, that's for sure," said Chris Rogers, who shared an opening partnership of 157 with Warner. "Today was an amazing day. Probably as good a day as we've had in the Ashes so far."

Warner took full advantage and, revelling in the lack of pressure afforded him by another superb performance by his bowlers, bludgeoned his way to his fifth test century in 127 balls with 16 fours and one six.

The 27-year-old brought up the milestone by cutting Graeme Swann for a boundary and celebrated with a leap into the air and a flurry of bat-pointing to the home dressing room.

It was the opener's second ton of the series and a sixth by an Australian batsman to none from the tourists, whose entire team have been outscored by Warner, Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin.

England, a pale imitation of the side who won the home Ashes series 3-0 this year, had their chances to stop his progress but wicketkeeper Matt Prior missed two stumping opportunities when Warner was on 13 and 89.

"The heat and being so far behind, it takes its toll," said Rogers. "It's almost they realised perhaps that a victory is out of their grasp. From there you get a bit defensive and someone like Davey is going to take advantage of that."

England finally had their man for 112 when Warner holed out to Ben Stokes at mid-on attempting to smash Swann for a second huge six in one over.

Rogers scored his fourth test half century before being caught for 54 by Michael Carberry at point off Tim Bresnan's bowling.

Australia captain Clarke left for 23 as the evening shadows crept across the sunbaked ground, being bowled by Stokes.

England had resumed on 180 for four in reply to Australia's first innings 385. It was not much of a chase as they lost their last six wickets for just 71 runs as Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle reprised their pace assault.

Ian Bell was out leg before for 15 in the third over and his overnight partner Stokes followed for 18 soon afterwards to give Johnson his first victim in more than 40 overs of play.

Prior (eight) was caught behind to give Siddle his second wicket and Broad (five) lasted 23 minutes before out lbw by Johnson (2-62) with a full delivery that smacked into his boot.

That dismissal took on an extra dimension after lunch when Broad failed to come out having been sent for an X-ray.

Harris (3-48) had Bresnan caught behind for 21 to take the first wicket with the new ball and Siddle finished with three for 36 after James Anderson (two) spooned one to George Bailey at short leg to bring an end to the innings.

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