England 16/1 to win third Test and now relying on Bell
England face an almighty challenge if they are to win the third Test against Australia after being reduced to 81/5 in their second innings at the WACA and still needing 310 to secure an unlikely victory.
Andrew Strauss’ team are now 16/1 to emerge victorious in Perth after two late wickets left England in dire straits.
England were already reeling from the losses of Alistair Cook, Strauss and Kevin Pietersen for relatively low scores, before Jonathan Trott and Paul Collingwood fell in the final two overs, with the latter caught behind off the final ball of the day.
The pressure will now be firmly on Ian Bell, in particular, to maintain his strong form in the series if England are to fight back, as he has averaged close to 100 with the bat so far.
Bell, who will begin day four at the crease with night watchman James Anderson, is 5/6 to score a minimum of 31 runs, but England will want far more.
He realistically needs a big hundred and some steady partnerships with the likes of Anderson, Matt Prior and Graeme Swann if England are to complete their highest fourth innings run chase ever.
A victory for England would also put them 2-0 ahead in the series and guarantee that they retain the Ashes after their victory two years ago in home soil.
The positives for Bell is that the shine has virtually worn off the new ball that will make batting easier, while Australia’s Mike Hussey has already proved that a century can be scored on the WACA pitch.
Hussey managed 116 as Australia made 309 in their second innings.
Australia may also be without the leadership skills of skipper Ricky Ponting on the fourth day as he injured a finger in the dismissal of Trott.
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