Cricket Expert & Columnist
Ashes 2013/14: England missed big opportunity by bowling too short
Cook's attack lacks X-factor without either Finn, Rankin or Tremlett...
Last Updated: 16/12/13 6:02pm
Australia, 2-0 up in the series and with the Ashes in their sights, slumped to 143-5 on the opening day in Perth as Stuart Broad (2-78) and Graeme Swann (2-71) struck twice.
But their attempts to wrap up the innings were thwarted by Steve Smith (103no) who put on 124 for the sixth wicket with Brad Haddin (55) and who then shared an unbroken stand of 59 with Mitchell Johnson (39no) to help Australia to 326-6 at stumps.
Former England skipper Hussain said England paid the price for getting their lengths wrong.
"It was a big opportunity because it is a very flat pitch and it was such a hot day that if you have that opportunity I feel that you have to take it," he reflected.
"It has been a little bit like groundhog day here in Perth because the same thing happened at the Gabba, where they reduced Australia to 130-6 and then they went to Adelaide where they dropped catches in that last session on day one.
"They didn't drop catches here but just after getting them 143-5 they started to bowl a little bit too short and Steven Smith, who played really well but is a little bit vulnerable outside his off-stump, enjoyed staying back and pulling and clipping the bowlers to the leg side.
"It was an important innings for him but more important for the team. [Coach] Darren Lehmann was a tough player and I think we are seeing his influence on this side; it's not how you get your runs and wickets, it's when you get them.
"Smith played the pull shot beautifully. You have to pick and choose when to play that shot here at the WACA. He went after Graeme Swann as most of the Australians have done. He's a good player of spin and they were important runs.
"The key for me is what has happened to the three big lads - Steve Finn, Boyd Rankin and Chris Tremlett who were picked for this tour; these are perfect conditions for them to bowl in, on one of the bounciest pitches in world cricket and the difference between the sides is that when Australia have England 140-6, Mitchell Johnson is blowing them away with short, quick stuff. England haven't got that X-factor."
England will lose the Ashes if they are beaten in Perth so Hussain says it is imperative that the seamers regroup overnight and don't concede cheap, quick runs early on day two if the tourists are to get back into the series.
"England just have to be more disciplined in the morning and not get too caught up with what Smith and Johnson are doing," he said. "They have to go back to the top of off stump.
"It will be hard because the pitch is flat and Australia do bat long. They've got Ryan Harris and Nathan Lyon to come, then Peter Siddle - they all bat a little bit.
"Smith and Johnson could hurt England tomorrow. They could really start teeing-off with the lower-order batsmen, so England will have to switch on.
"But, for me, all eyes will be on the England batting. This is a belter of a WACA pitch - one of the best I've seen here - and it's about time England delivered in their first innings."
Watch highlights of today's play on Sky Sports 2 from 11.30am. The Ashes Verdict returns to deliver its judgement at 9pm on the same channel. Our coverage of day two of the third Test begins at 2.25am on Saturday morning.