England face uphill battle to save Test

Australia

England reached stumps on day three of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane in a precarious position, recording 24 for two and still trailing the hosts by a nigh-impossible 537 runs with two days to go at the 'Gabba.

England reached stumps on day three of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane in a precarious position, recording 24 for two and still trailing the hosts by a nigh-impossible 537 runs with two days to go at the 'Gabba.

Australia declared their second innings on 401 for seven an hour before stumps, holding a mammoth lead of 560 runs and giving England 15 overs to face at dusk. Michael Carberry and Jonathan Trott both fell for single figures.

Centuries from Michael Clarke and David Warner were the highlights on day three, as the England attack found themselves treated like ODI net bowlers by that duo, as well as by Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson before the declaration.

The hosts started the day on 65 for none and holding a lead of 224 already, after bowling England out for 136 on day two. Warner was on 45 overnight, and Chris Rogers on a very supportive 15 off 70-odd balls.

Rogers did not last long in the morning, adding just one run to his tally before becoming Stuart Broad's seventh wicket of the match, caught by Carberry. Shane Watson departed soon after, caught for six off Chris Tremlett.

This left Warner and the skipper to continue building a lead that would be almost impossible to chase unless an England batsman stuck around for two days. Warner reached lunch on 83, while Pup was on 34.

The afternoon session saw both men record fairly quick centuries, with Warner's coming off 134 balls and Clarke's off just 115 deliveries. Warner's was his maiden Ashes ton, and his delight was obvious, given his trials this past year.

He struck 13 fours and a six by the time he departed, having made 124 runs before edging Broad behind to Matt Prior. Steve Smith followed soon afterwards, to Tremlett for a duck.

This left Clark and fellow skipper, and debutant, George Bailey to further the knock. Clarke brought up his ton with a three to take him to 99 and then a single a few balls later, his fifth triple-figure Test score at this ground.

He lasted only 13 more runs though, before coming down the track to Swann and finding his bails dislodged as he missed the ball. Bailey, meanwhile, was lucky twice, as he was dropped by Ian Bell at short leg, and then umpire's call saved him from a close LBW dismissal.

After tea, Bailey and Haddin continued to push the pace, taking the lead to the 500 mark before the debutant was dismissed for 34, bowled by Swann. This was the spinner's 250th Test wicket, the third-fastest spinner to reach that tally for England.

Haddin and Johnson put on 90 for the seventh wicket, at a whopping six runs to the over, and Haddin recorded his second fifty of the match, the first time he had made two half tons in one game.

Johnson added 39 not out to the half ton he made in the first innings, off 45 balls, before Clarke called the batsmen back to the dressing room. No team has ever scored more than 541 runs to win any first class match, and the Test record is 418.

With that in mind, England got off to the worst possible start as the flood lights came on. Carberry was bowled by Ryan Harris for a duck in the second over, before Trott made just nine runs and then swiped a Johnson delivery to Nathan Lyon at mid wicket.

This left Alastair Cook (11) and Kevin Pietersen (3) to see out the evening, and KP nearly ran his skipper out as soon as he got to the middle. Luckily for them, a fumble in the field saw the bails dislodged by hands rather than the ball.

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