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England on the brink in Perth
England were in grave danger of losing the Ashes in Perth after conceding a first-innings deficit of 134 and then rendered powerless as David Warner rubbed in Australia's advantage.
The tourists faltered from 190 for four to 251 all out on the third morning of the third Test, as Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle finished with three wickets each.
Then, in temperatures once again soaring cruelly above 100 degrees and in the absence of injured frontline seamer Stuart Broad, Warner bullied his way to an unbeaten 81 in a teatime 123 for none - an overall lead of 257.
Broad was sent for an x-ray on a foot injury and in his absence, England missed their opportunity to negate the combative opener on just 13, when Matt Prior failed to stump him in Graeme Swann's first over.
Chris Rogers also escaped on 26 when the wicketkeeper left a catch to Alastair Cook at slip, but the captain could not react quickly enough to the edge off James Anderson.
The two left-handers therefore raced to the first century opening stand of the series, by either team, and it was hard to see how England might avoid defeat here - let alone have any chance of victory.
They had earlier lost their remaining frontline batsmen long before the second new ball was available - and despite a modicum of defiance from Tim Bresnan and Swann, they faltered tamely.
The tourists have hardly helped themselves, but little has fallen in their favour since their arrival down under eight weeks ago.
Continuing that theme, it seemed the definition of misfortune - with a viable match situation still not that far from reach - to lose a key batsman lbw via DRS at the WACA, this venue where almost every delivery can safely be assumed to be clearing the stumps.
On that basis presumably, and perhaps a suspicion of bat on ball, Marais Erasmus gave Ian Bell not out pushing forward to a Harris inswinger.
But Australia felt they could chance a review, under new regulations which reinstate their quota after 80 overs - and to general surprise, Hawkeye simulation depicted the ball clattering into the top of middle-stump.
At the other end, Mitchell Johnson then struck for the first time in more than 40 overs - counting back to the second Test.
Ben Stokes, perhaps spooked by a delivery two balls earlier which hit a crack and diverted at an impossible angle high past Prior for a bye past the slips, wafted a drive at a wide one to be caught-behind.
Michael Clarke decided on a double-change with the old ball, and Siddle (three for 36) duly came up with another wicket - Prior going for the pull but managing only an under-edge behind.
England had lost three wickets for 27 runs - and with only the tail left, their chances of getting even within a hundred runs on first innings were fading fast.
Bresnan greeted the second new ball with the second and third of three cover-driven boundaries in the same Shane Watson over. But Johnson made short work of Broad, forcing him back in the crease and then surprising him with a full delivery which pinned him lbw barely an inch or so in front of the stumps.
Bresnan was then ninth out to the admirable Harris (three for 48), caught-behind even as he tried to leave another testing delivery, and Swann was left unbeaten when Anderson fended a catch to short-leg off Siddle.