England's bowlers dominate in Perth
England bowled Australia out for 268 on day one at the WACA ground in Perth to seize the ascendancy in the third Ashes Test.
England's pacemen obliterated the hosts’ top order early to leave Ricky Ponting’s side reeling at 65 for four at lunch and, after skittling out all 10 wickets, the tourists were 29 without loss at stumps.
Andrew Strauss sent Australia in to bat on a green-tinged deck at the WACA as he sought to become the first English captain since Mike Gatting 24 years ago to bring the Ashes home.
The decision was immediately vindicated as the returning fast bowler Chris Tremlett clean bowled the recalled Phillip Hughes for two with his sixth ball as softened him up with a series of short-pitched deliveries then delivered a fuller ball that sneaked through the gate and crashed into his stumps.
Tremlett, who replaced the injured Stuart Broad in the lineup, then added the scalp of the desperately out of form Michael Clarke for four, enticing the 29-year-old to feather a catch to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
Ponting, under pressure to score runs after failing twice in the second test, then nicked a James Anderson delivery to the slips shortly after where Paul Collingwood made a superb one-handed catch, leaping high to his right to leave Australia 17 for two in the fifth over.
Watson, who had survived a caught-behind dismissal on his sixth ball from Anderson on review, had his second review turned down when trapped by a yorker from Finn that cannoned into the opener's toe.
The wicket left Australia mired in deep trouble at 36 for four shortly after the drinks break, and England were buoyed by a baying travelling support and their hosts’ incompetence with the bat as the temperature soared above 30 degrees Celsius.
Steve Smith, rather absurdly brought in at number six, elevated above the in form Brad Haddin, could only muster seven from 46 balls before he was snaffled by Strauss off the bowling of Tremlett to leave the Australia wicketkeeper to accompany Mike Hussey and stage a rearguard yet again.
The pair were left to haul their side out of the mire, just as they have been required to do already in the series, and Hussey attacked Finn with abandon for his gutsy 61 before Swann had him caught behind with a snorter of a delivery.
Haddin went on to forge a valiant resistance in partnership with the recalled Mitchell Johnson, who bludgeoned an uncompromising 62, but the keeper was the next to head back to the hutch for 53 after Swann took a blinding catch at second slip off Anderson.
Harris, who became intimately acquainted with the term ‘king pair’ in Adelaide, could only muster three runs from five deliveries before he heard the death rattle behind him, with Anderson again the bowler.
Finn struggled for rhythm all day, but Johnson was his second victim as the penultimate wicket to fall, and Anderson took a sharp catch at square leg to cap a quite exemplary performance from the tourists in the field.
Swann wrapped up the Australia first innings with Ben Hilfenhaus skewing a tentative prod to Alastair Cook at short leg, and England had completed a quite impeccable effort in the field.
The day was completed for Strauss’s side as Cook and the England skipper steered the tourists to stumps unscathed with 29 runs on the board in a tricky 12-over stint, and the hosts were left frustrated and agitated at the close.
England have won just one Test in their last 11 at the WACA, but there is no doubt that the tourists hold the ascendancy after the first day, with Strauss’s side able to retain the Ashes with a victory in Perth.