The Ashes: Australia Draw Level in Third Test at the WACA

Joe WhitworthCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2010

Australia celebrate a Ryan Harris wicket
Australia celebrate a Ryan Harris wicketMark Dadswell/Getty Images

Australia gave England a taste of their own medicine and hit back at their critics as they hammered the tourists by 267 runs with more than a day to spare at the WACA to level The Ashes at 1-1 ahead of the Boxing Day Test Match at the MCG.

England's bid to go through the series undefeated is now over and their record at the WACA in Perth now reads one victory in 12 visits, ahead of the Fourth Test starting on December 26 in Melbourne.

England won the toss and opted to field first which looked like a brilliant decision, as Australia slumped to 69-5 but Mitchell Johnson (62), Michael Hussey (61), Brad Haddin (53) plus a last wicket stand of 35 helped the home side to 268.

James Anderson shrugged off speculation that he would be rusty after flying back home to attend the birth of his child behind the match began to take 3-61, Chris Tremlett, who replaced Stuart Broad, took 3-63, an expensive Steven Finn returned 2-86 while Graeme Swann managed 2-52.

England looked to be coasting at 78-0 but the Aussies hit back in style, especially Johnson, whose top score in the Australia first innings must have given him confidence with the ball.

Only Andrew Strauss (52), Ian Bell (53) and Alastair Cook (32) put up real resistance with only two more players scoring double figures as England were bundled out for 187.

Johnson was the pick of the seamers with 6-38, but he was backed up by Ryan Harris 3-59, Peter Siddle 1-25 and Ben Hilfenhaus 0-53.

England again had the hosts wobbling at 64-3 in the second innings but Shane Watson (95), Hussey again (116) and a useful 36 from Steven Smith propelled Australia to 309.

Phil Hughes was brought into the team but failed both times, making just two and 12, Ponting only managed 13 runs in two innings and Michael Clarke got just 24 so it wasn't all rosy for the hosts but the in-form Hussey kept the runs flowing.

Tremlett was the pick of the bowlers with 5-87, Finn was again expensive with 3-97, Anderson claimed 1-65 and Paul Collingwood 1-3. Swann went wicketless from nine overs and for 5.66 runs per over.

England needed an improbable 391 for victory and never looked like getting anywhere near the target as Jonathan Trott top scored with just 31, and the tourists were rolled over for just 123.

The England batting, which had looked so settled and strong in the last test was hopelessly exposed to swing bowling with Kevin Pietersen making a match total of just three runs despite his double hundred in the last test.

This time Harris was chief destroyer with 6-47, Johnson grabbed 3-44 and Hilfenhaus took 1-16.

Ponting faces a fitness battle to make the Melbourne Test after injuring a finger parrying a catch on Day Three but otherwise Australia may go into the Fourth Test unchanged.

England, after looking so composed in the first two tests, have some thinking to do but have said they are not going to panic despite the thrashing. Finn may make way for Tim Bresnan while Paul Collingwood's batting is cause for concern with his series tally at just 62 runs.