Ashes 2013-14: England staring down the barrel of series defeat as Australia close in at Perth
David Warner scored a fine century as Australia took a huge stride towards a series-clinching win on day three in Perth.
Last Updated: 16/12/13 7:23am
After clinically bowling their opponents out for 251 to gain a first-innings lead of 134, Australia reached 235-3 by the close to extend their advantage to a commanding 369.
The abrasive Warner led the way with a typically aggressive knock of 112 from 140 balls, although England had their chance to send him back on 13 only for wicketkeeper Matt Prior to miss a regulation stumping opportunity off the bowling of Graeme Swann.
The wicketkeeper also opted not to go for an edge from Chris Rogers' bat, instead watching on as skipper Alastair Cook failed to cling on as he dived to his right. Again it proved costly as the opener made 54.
Rogers did eventually prove the first Australian wicket to fall as Michael Carberry held on to a diving catch at gully to give Tim Bresnan his second success of the match, although the muted celebrations spoke volumes.
Warner, playing with complete freedom, relentlessly closed in on three figures and brought up his second ton of the series with a cut to the point boundary off Swann - the confrontational left-hander opting to celebrate by pointedly running in the direction of Prior before leaping in the air.
He would launch Swann over the rope for the second time in his innings before eventually falling to the off-spinner after miscuing another attempted big hit, this time being safely pouched by Ben Stokes at long on.
The battling Durham all-rounder enjoyed another moment of personal satisfaction as he comprehensively bowled Michael Clarke for 23, the second time he has picked up the Australia skipper in the last two Tests.
But with Shane Watson (29 not out) and first innings centurion Steve Smith (5 not out) seeing their side through to the close with no further losses, it is now just a question of when the hosts choose to declare.
It all left England, without the services of Stuart Broad due to an injured foot, looking down the barrel of a third successive defeat and the surrender of the urn.
Their hopes of a fightback in Perth disappeared once they lost their last six wickets for 71 in the morning to be bowled out for 251, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle both finishing with three wickets apiece.
Resuming on 180-4, they would have hoped to get somewhere close to Australia's total of 385 to finally put some pressure on their opponents in the third innings of a Test.
Instead they slipped to 207-7 inside the first hour of play on another scorching hot day, Ian Bell (15) the first to go when Australia successfully reviewed an lbw appeal that was initially turned down by umpire Marais Erasmus.
Captain Michael Clarke seemed to call for the DRS more in hope than expectation, but the technology showed the right-hander had been struck in line by a delivery from the excellent Harris that seemed to nip back in off the seam.
Stokes (18) didn't last too much longer, a lazy-looking drive at a wide ball from Mitchell Johnson only resulting in a thin edge through to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
Siddle got in on the act by having Prior caught behind off a bottom edge as he attempted to play the pull stroke, while Johnson accounted for Broad (five) after following up a barrage of short stuff with a yorker that trapped the left-hander leg before. The pain didn't end there for the dismissed batsman, as he was sent to hospital for an x-ray on the foot that had taken the blow.
Bresnan offered some resistance, hitting four boundaries in his 21 before he feathered an edge through to Haddin when trying to leave a delivery from Harris.
The final wicket to fall was that of James Anderson, who was only able to work a bouncer from Siddle, who finished with 3-36, straight up in the air to George Bailey at short leg. Swann was left unbeaten on 19.