The Ashes 2017-18

England drop the ball to leave Australia 203-3 after tail collapses following record partnership in third Ashes test in Perth

Record partnership between Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan undone by quick wickets before hosts race past halfway mark of England’s 403 first innings total

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 6:47pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 6:59pm

Australia were 203 for three at stumps on the second day of the third Ashes Test in Perth.

Steve Smith was on 92 and Shaun Marsh was on seven, with Craig Overton having claimed two wickets.

Playing just his second test, Overton removed the dangerous David Warner (22) and local batsman Cameron Bancroft (25) in quick succession to lift English spirits after the visitors suffered a dramatic batting collapse before lunch. Chris Woakes removed Usman Khawaja lbw for 53.

Earlier, England’s tail collapsed dramatically after a record fifth-wicket partnership by centurions Malan and Bairstow had given the tourists the ascendancy on the second day of the third Ashes.

England were all out for 403 at lunch after losing their last six wickets for just 35 runs, having won the toss and elected to bat.

Australia lead the series 2-0 and can regain the Ashes with victory at the WACA Ground, although heavy rain is forecast for the final two days.

Bairstow put a controversial few weeks behind him to notch his fourth test century as part of a 237-run stand with Malan, whose maiden test ton came to an end just before the interval.

The pair notched a record fifth-wicket partnership for England against Australia, beating a long-standing mark set in 1938 by Eddie Paynter and Denis Compton at Trent Bridge.

Having come together with England under pressure at 131 for four shortly after lunch on Thursday, the pair breathed life back into their team’s Ashes defence.

Malan’s wicket was the first to fall on Friday, with his breakthrough innings finally came to an end when he was brilliantly caught by substitute fielder Peter Handscomb from the bowling of Nathan Lyon.

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His departure for 140 had England at 368 for five, and signalled a sudden collapse for the tourists, with Moeen Ali lasting just two balls for his duck and Woakes making just eight runs.

Bairstow was then bowled by Mitchell Starc for 119 as the capitulation accelerated.

The wicketkeeper-batsman had responded to the challenge of being promoted to bat at six with his fourth test century.

It was a welcome tonic for the 28-year-old, who has endured a controversial tour with a bizarre headbutt incident involving Australian opener Bancroft at a Perth bar, and a war of words with the home side, on and off the field.

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The Australians dropped three chances on the opening day, but Handscomb and Pat Cummins both took brilliant catches on Friday.