Pick of the day
We review day four of the third Ashes Test in Perth
Last Updated: 16/12/13 1:14pm
The tourists, 2-0 down and needing to avoid defeat in Perth to keep the series alive, conceded 134 runs in 17 overs at the start of the day before Australia skipper Michael Clarke did the merciful thing and declared his side's second innings.
That left England to chase a target of 504 and, by stumps, they had been reduced to 251-5 to leave Australia within sight of regaining the Ashes.
We take a look back on events on day four with a range of opinion, analysis and video.
Shane Watson and George Bailey tore into England's tired and depleted bowling attack at the start of day four. Watson needed only 44 balls to advance from an overnight 29 to his fourth Test century, while Bailey slammed a record-equalling 28 runs from a single over - bowled by James Anderson - to prompt Clarke's declaration at 369-6. After four days baking in the West Australian sunshine, the WACA pitch was by now starting to resemble crazy paving with huge open cracks; hardly the ideal surface on which to attempt a world record run chase. Ryan Harris bowled England captain Alastair Cook with the first delivery of the innings and, at 121-4 early in the evening session, a four-day finish looked a distinct possibility. Ian Bell and Ben Stokes (72no) averted that embarrassment for England but Bell departed inside the final hour to ensure the final day is likely to be short and - from an Australia perspective - sweet. Click here for full report and here for the day in pictures.
Rarely, if ever, has a man with 336 Test wickets been treated with such disdain but, in the context of England's tour, Bailey's over of carnage against Anderson didn't seem that surprising. The scorebook recorded it as 4-6-2-4-6-6. All three of the sixes were lifted back down the ground, including one that carried 105 metres. This was Australia at their most ruthless, three series' worth of pain having been stored up for just such an occasion. Revenge, it is (too) often said, is a dish best served cold. Well, if you're an Australian cricketer, in 40 degree heat probably seemed acceptable as well.
Glass half full
Bell was man-of-the-series when the sides met earlier this year and is again England's leading run scorer with 190 from six innings. The Warwickshire right-hander's fifth-wicket stand of 99 with Stokes during the evening session showed the pitch has not yet become a minefield. Who better then to assess the tourists' task on the final day: "If the two that are in (Stokes and Matt Prior) can carry on for a while and get us to lunch then you never know. There are a few cracks on the wicket but apart from that it is a pretty good surface." Bell even managed to keep a straight face while sticking to the party line...
Man of the day
Watson is not everybody's cup of tea, that probably applies even among Australian fans - and possibly within his own dressing room. But there is no point denying his quality as a cricketer, a genuine Test all-rounder. His morning onslaught with the bat was an innings few others could have played and he followed it up with the wicket of Michael Carberry, trapped lbw via his suffocating stump-to-stump medium pace. He is also the best slip fielder on either side and his running between the wickets is, at least, always good for a laugh... Click here for our full Watson feature.
Another idiot abroad: football manager
If you're an England fan and have managed to read this far down the page then you deserve something to raise spirits. David Lloyd has enjoyed a varied career over the years; professional cricketer, umpire, England coach, TV commentator... But his latest incarnation as a football manager for the England media's Ashes clash with their Australian counterparts is arguably his toughest assignment yet, particularly with Nasser signed up as his assistant. Tune in on Christmas Day to watch the full feature.