Day two of third Test leaves Ashes in the balance

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England’s bowlers returned to the WACA and in much better form restricted Australia to a mere 55 runs for the last four wickets in the third Ashes Test.

This Improved showing was followed up by an encouraging opening partnership of 85 runs between Cook and Carberry.

The fall of Carberry’s wicket however was followed by the controversial dismissal of Root, caught behind by Haddin.

Umpire Erasmus gave him out but Root under no illusions that he hadn’t hit the ball reviewed the decision. The third umpire could not confirm or deny the decision using the technology at his disposal and went with the umpire’s decision.

Cook who was batting comfortably was then joined by Pietersen and tight Australian bowling made the Englishmen struggle for each run until Cook on 72 flashed at Nathan Lyon and cut direct to Warner who made no mistake at point.

Bell, currently England’s most consistent performer, now joined Pietersen in what could have been a series defining partnership. Unfortunately for England, Pietersen played another lazy shot and was caught off his nemesis, Siddle, by Johnson.

At close of play England had struggled to 180/4, still over 200 runs behind Australia’s first innings score. Much will now depend on the first hour tomorrow morning when England’s last three accredited batsmen, Bell, Stokes and Prior, face the new ball after 12 overs.

The odds on an England win have shortened to 3/1 but that would be dependent on them passing Australia’s score by the end of the day. A more likely outcome would be a draw, also at 3/1, as Australia will not be able to enforce a follow on and would need to bat for at least a day to set England a target of 300 plus on a wearing wicket.

If a draw results, a 3-0 Australia series win at 10/1 looks highly attractive.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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