England delayed the inevitable but Australia look destined to reclaim the Ashes on the fifth day of the third Test in Perth.
The tourists, trailing 2-0 in the series after heavy defeats in Brisbane and Adelaide, were set a world record 504 runs to win and finished the penultimate day on 251-5 at the WACA.
|Australia 2nd Inns: 369-6 dec (87 ov)|
|SR Watson||run out (Bresnan)||103||169||108|
|SPD Smith||c sub (JM Bairstow) b Stokes||15||59||50|
|GJ Bailey||not out||39||41||30|
|BJ Haddin†||c Swann b Bresnan||5||14||6|
|MG Johnson||not out||0||0|
|Extras||(b 8, lb 5, w 5)||18|
|England 2nd Inns: 251-5 (67 Ov)|
|AN Cook*||b Harris||0||1||1|
|MA Carberry||lbw b Watson||31||85||53|
|JE Root||c †Haddin b Johnson||19||125||88|
|KP Pietersen||c Harris b Lyon||45||88||57|
|IR Bell||c †Haddin b Siddle||60||140||93|
|BA Stokes||not out||72||96|
|MJ Prior†||not out||7||14|
|Extras||(b 1, lb 11, w 5)||17|
Alastair Cook's men have the huge task of batting through Tuesday's final day with just five second wickets intact or relinquish their hold on the urn they have held since 2009.
1st time ever-EVER-that a team has been set over 500 for 3 Tests in a row.... #Ashes. #— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) December 16, 2013
Their reply got off to the worst possible start as Cook was dismissed first ball as Ryan Harris produced a beauty to clip the England captain's off-stump.
Michael Carberry and Joe Root saw the tourists through to lunch without further loss but the former was trapped lbw by Shane Watson for 31.
WATSON GETS CARBERRY! A brutal inswinger smashes Carberry on the pad and Bowden says he has to go! England 2/62 #Ashes— FOX SPORTS News (@FOXSportsNews) December 16, 2013
Root batted over two hours for 19 but was dismissed when he edged a Mitchell Johnson delivery that was angled across him and keeper Brad Haddin took a flying catch away to his right.
Fantastic catch from Brad Haddin to dismiss Joe Root. Aussie fielding has been stunning in this series. Not quite sure why Root appealed it.— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) December 16, 2013
The visitors advanced to 95-3 at tea but lost Kevin Pietersen for 45 early in the evening session when he tried to smash Nathan Lyon out of the ground, but he only found Harris at long-on.
A promising 99-run partnership for the fifth wicket was ended when Ian Bell attempted to cut Peter Siddle but only managed to get an edge through to Haddin after making 60.
He was originally given not out but the hosts reviewed and Snicko showed a faint top edge by Bell.
1 - Ian Bell and Ben Stokes have recorded England's first fifth wicket 50 partnership of this #Ashes, the sixth for any wicket. Overdue.— OptaJim (@OptaJim) December 16, 2013
Ben Stokes, who finished the day after making an entertaining 72 not out from 96 balls, and the out-of-form Matt Prior saw England through to the close without further loss but they have a mammoth task yet to come.
Earlier, Shane Watson blasted his way to his fourth Test century as Australia declared on 369-6 to give themselves 30 minutes to bowl at England before lunch.
Australia this morning: 134 runs off 17 overs. Almost 8 an over. Video game stuff #Ashes— Chris Robinson (@CJKRobinson) December 16, 2013
Watson hit 74 off 42 balls in 56 minutes before being run out in comical fashion for 103 while George Bailey tied the world record for most runs in a Test over by smashing Jimmy Anderson for 28.