Live Commentary: The Ashes: Third Test, day three - as it happened

Live Commentary: The Ashes: Third Test, day three - as it happened
© PA Photos
Relive Sports Mole's coverage of day three of the third Test between England and Australia at Old Trafford.

Australia were looking to strengthen their position on Saturday at Old Trafford as the third Test against England continued.

Alastair Cook (62) and Jonathan Trott (5) were both dismissed in the morning session as England slumped to 110-4, with the follow-on looking like it could be a strong possibility at one stage.

However, Ian Bell (60) combined well with Kevin Pietersen, who struck a brilliant 113 as the hosts fought back before further wickets fell later on in the day.

Mitchell Starc (3-75) claimed two wickets in the final session to reduce England to 294-7, with England ending the day 233 runs behind and still needing 34 to avoid the follow-on.

Read below to find out how events unfolded on day three.

10.30amGood morning everyone. It's another gorgeous day at Old Trafford (following some earlier rain) and we have more Ashes cricket to looks forward to over the next few hours. Australia dominated day two, can they make more progress today?

10.31amI'm not a commentator that can give you a batting masterclass, believe me. However, if you want to improve your skills with the bat, do yourself a favour and have a look at Michael Clarke's 187. A truly wonderful innings.

10.34amPlenty of people have said that it will be a struggle to force a victory on this pitch but the fact is that Australia are in control. Peter Siddle's spell of 2-7 yesterday evening means England have a lot of work to do. Alastair Cook (36*) and Jonathan Trott (2*) will begin the day at the crease.

10.36amThe first target for England will be to avoid the follow-on by reaching 328. There's plenty of runs to be made on this pitch. If Cook and Trott get through the first hour, they'll both fancy a big score.

10.39amFor the first time in the series, Australia are in control. The conditions have helped them, but this an improved performance from the tourists.

10.42amWe really do have a fascinating day ahead of us at Old Trafford. If England bat well, and are in a comfortable position at the end of the day, the match is likely to end as a draw. Australia will attack though, they know they need a victory.

10.46amNathan Lyon could have a big role to play today. The spinner was impressive on his return to the side and he caused Cook plenty of problems in that spell just before the close of play. Clarke will have to rely on Lyon for the majority of the day due to the lack of encouragement for the seamers.

10.49amI've just seen a picture of Merv Hughes at Old Trafford. Yes, he still looks as scary as ever. At least England don't have to face him today.

10.52amThe ground is filling up nicely now. Not long left until the start of play. As always the first hour is crucial. Massive day in the series for Australia.

10.56amCook was struggling with a back injury yesterday, but we're assured that the skipper is feeling much better today. The opener hasn't really fired yet in this series. Australia will remember what he can do if he stays at the crease.

10.59amBoth teams are out in the middle. Cook and Trott are greeted with a warm reception from the home crowd. Clarke throws the ball to Harris. The seamer will open the bowling this morning. Cook 36* Trott 2*

ENG 53-2Harris drifts onto the pads early in the over but Trott can't make contact with the ball. The bowler is surprised by some reverse swing and Trott takes the opportunity to pick up a leg-bye for his side. An extra is the only blemish on a good opening over from Harris. It's Siddle's turn now.

ENG 53-2There's a hint of movement for Siddle. Trott looks at the pitch in bemusement when he catches the ball with a leading edge. Siddle follows that delivery with one that nips past the bat outside off-stump. Trott survives the first big test of the day. Excellent start for Siddle.

ENG 58-2Brilliant from Cook. Harris strays onto the pads and his punishment is four runs through mid-wicket off the middle of the hosting captain's bat. A fuller delivery outside off-stump is pushed to cover for a quick single. Good cricket from Cook. He'll keep the strike.

ENG 59-2Siddle wants to push the ball across Cook but there's not much movement away from the left-handed batsman, despite a play and miss outside off-stump. A nudge wide of mid-off brings a single. Trott defends the remaining deliveries.

ENG 59-2Good pressure from Australia this morning. Harris delivers six almost identical deliveries to Cook, who has no choice but to see out a maiden over.

ENG 61-2Trott shuffles across his crease to clip Siddle into the leg-side for a couple of runs. The bowler can't believe he's been hit through square-leg there. Siddle attempts a slower ball later on in the over but he gets his line wrong. Two from the over.

ENG 62-2Cook considers pulling Harris, but the length of the delivery isn't short enough and the batsman is fortunate not to edge the ball to Haddin. Harris does drop his length slightly, allowing Cook to flick a single to the fielder at fine-leg. Steady start from England this morning.

ENG 62-2Cook fights the urge to play outside off-stump when Siddle pushes a couple of deliveries towards the slips. The bowler straightens his line later in the over, but Cook can only pick out fielders with his shots on the front foot.

ENG 64-2Trott pushes a full-toss straight down the ground for a quick single. Harris struggles to hit a consistent length but Cook can only pick up a single for himself.


ENG 64-3Australia get the wicket their bowling has deserved this morning. Trott hasn't looked his usual assured self at the crease and he's caught in two minds again as he edges a good delivery to Clarke at second slip. Big breakthrough for the tourists.

ENG 68-3Kevin Pietersen walks out to the middle but he's not on strike just yet. Cook refuses to suffer the same fate as Trott. He remains watchful outside off-stump, only playing when it's absolutely necessary. No running from Cook when he drills a full delivery through extra cover for a welcome boundary.

ENG 71-3Pietersen takes a big risk when he flirts with a wider delivery from Harris early in the over. Great bowling from Harris, who takes another ball away before almost sneaking through with a well-directed yorker. Pietersen gets a thick edge on the ball to get off the mark. HALF-CENTURY! Cook reaches 50 with a couple of runs straight down the ground. Muted celebrations from England's skipper as he raises the bat to acknowledge the crowd's applause. Plenty of work to be done.

ENG 75-3Siddle is too straight and Pietersen helps himself to a boundary with a flick through fine-leg. There's a bit of bounce for the bowler but an inside edge drops safely on the leg-side. Decent comeback from Siddle following a poor start to the over. Cook 50* Pietersen 5*

ENG 77-3Lyon comes into the attack for the first time. This will be a crucial period in the match. Cook flicks a straight ball off his pads for a couple of runs. The spinner struggles for consistency but he's not punished by Cook.

ENG 79-3Starc is introduced for his first spell of the day. The left-arm seamer looks dangerous with a full delivery but Pietersen squeezes the ball into a gap on the off-side for a single. Cook is also greeted with a full length and he meets the ball with an angled bat for a single to fine-leg. Two from the over. Time for a drinks break.

ENG 79-3Australia will be pretty happy with their work this morning. They needed a wicket and they removed Trott pretty cheaply. Another dismissal before lunch would be a big blow to England.

ENG 79-3Lyon varies his pace nicely in the over. Cook is eager to stay on the back foot, but when he does lunge forward, he's relieved to see an inside edge save him from an lbw appeal. Clever over from Lyon. It's a maiden.

ENG 79-3Pietersen lives dangerously when he chases after a wide one from Starc. Poor shot in this situation from England's number four. Starc straightens his line but he can't get through the defence. Maiden over.

ENG 87-3Strange decision from Clarke as he replaces Lyon with Watson. The seamer's first ball is guided through mid-wicket by Cook for three runs. Pietersen completes a quick single to cover and he's gifted four more when Warner's throw at the stumps races to the boundary. Neither Watson or Clarke are too happy with that effort. Eight from the over.

ENG 97-3Starc attempts the short ball but his tactic only allows Pietersen to free his arms and pull through mid-wicket for four. The bowler's next delivery is slightly fuller but Pietersen still manages to rock back and club four more runs. A flick off the hip brings two. Huge appeal for lbw but the umpire shakes his head and Pietersen survives.

ENG 97-3No fireworks from Cook following Pietersen's exploits in the last over. Watson is tight to off-stump and he's rewarded with a maiden over.

ENG 101-3Starc clearly thinks Pietersen may be tempted into a false shot outside off-stump. The batsman isn't interested in playing at the wider balls early on and when he does, the ball travels straight to the fielder at point. However, Starc pushes his luck once too often and Pietersen responds by steering four runs past point.

ENG 104-3Cook latches onto a shorter ball to pick up a single through mid-wicket. There's definitely for some swing for Watson, who is inches away from sneaking past Pietersen's bat. A dance down the pitch follows and Pietersen earns himself two with an unorthodox shot to fine-leg.

ENG 105-3Cook gets off strike early in Starc's over. The left-arm seamer once again goes very wide to Pietersen, who fights the urge to take a risk in the over. Cook 58* Pietersen 27*

ENG 108-3Harris returns for a new spell as Clarke continues to rotate his bowlers. Cook nudges the first ball of the over through mid-wicket for two runs. A pull shot to fine-leg brings another run. Decent return for Harris but he struggles to hit the correct length in the over.

ENG 110-3Cook hands the strike to Pietersen at the start of the over. A short delivery is pulled high into the air but the ball drops well short of Lyon in the deep, resulting in just a single.


ENG 110-4Huge moment just before lunch! Cook gets a feather on a leg-side delivery from Starc and Haddin reacts superbly to take a wonderful diving one-handed catch. Big celebrations from Australia. Bell comes to the crease with his side in a bit of bother.

ENG 114-4Harris looks destined to keep the pressure on with a maiden before Pietersen ruins all the good work with a brilliant straight drive for four. Bell will be on strike to Starc. Eight minutes left in the session.

ENG 118-4Bell isn't tempted into playing until the fourth ball, when he flirts with one just outside off-stump. Haddin is convinced there's an edge but he receives no support from his teammates, who aren't too sure. Bell drives the final ball of the over through cover for four to make sure he gets off the mark in style.

ENG 119-4Lyon is brought back into the attack with lunch fast approaching. Pietersen nudges the first ball to mid-on to steal a quick single. Lyon comes round the wicket to Bell, who uses his feet well to smother the spin. That's the end of a good session for Australia.

ENG 119-4LUNCH: Australia have been very impressive in the first session of the day. They've taken two crucial wickets to continue their progress. England need a big partnership soon. England trail by 408 and they still need 209 runs to avoid the follow-on. Pietersen 33* Bell 4*

1.04pmJoin me in 30 minutes when I'll take you through the second session. Can Australia put themselves into a commanding position before tea? We'll find out soon.

1.34pmWelcome back everyone. Australia are outperforming England once again at Old Trafford. The conditions still favour batting but those two key wickets this morning mean the tourists hold all of the cards at the moment.

1.35pmEngland will want this next session to be as quiet as possible. The hosts need to pass 328 to avoid the follow-on, so a big partnership would be priceless right now.

1.38pmPietersen will begin the session on 33*. It's fair to say that the batsman has taken a few risks in his innings and Lyon may fancy his chances if he continues to attack. The two teams are coming out to the middle now.

1.40pmSiddle will bowl the first over after the lunch interval. Important session in the match coming up. Pietersen 33* Bell 4*

ENG 120-4Pietersen begins the session by hurrying a single to backward point. Siddle goes full to the in-form Bell, who is looking for his fourth hundred in four matches against this opposition. No freedom for Bell. One run from the over.

ENG 123-4Good move from Clarke to start the session with Siddle and now Lyon. Pietersen sits back in his crease to cut but he's almost fooled by one that turns quickly. Clear sign that Pietersen won't let the spinner settle when he skips down the pitch to loft a couple of runs over mid-wicket. A nudge to long-on brings another run. Pietersen vs. Lyon is sure to be an intriguing contest in this session.

ENG 124-4Pietersen is eager to play straight when facing Siddle. The seamer finds a good length to prevent the batsman from playing any big shots down the ground. A flicks off the pads earns Pietersen a single to fine-leg. Tidy over from Siddle. Bell yet to score in the session. Pietersen 38* Bell 4*

ENG 128-4More attacking intent shown from Pietersen when he advances down the track to smash Lyon over mid-off for four runs. Pietersen turns a full delivery into a full-toss with some foot movement but he can't pick the gap at mid-wicket. Good response from Lyon to adjust his length and pace. Five dot balls follows the boundary. Pietersen fancies his chances against the spinner.

ENG 136-4Short and wide from Siddle, allowing Bell to cut powerfully through the off-side for four runs. The bowler changes his position on the crease but his line isn't good enough to invite a false shot. A better delivery catches a thick edge, with Bell earning four through the vacant third-man region.

ENG 148-4Australia ask the lbw question early in the over, but Pietersen's big lunge forward saves him. HALF-CENTURY! Superb batting from Pietersen. Lyon is hit for consecutive sixes when Pietersen clears the rope at mid-wicket, before scoring another maximum straight down the ground. Both shots are met with approval from the Old Trafford crowd. Pietersen moves to 54 and Clarke has a lot to think about. Bell 12* Pietersen 54*

ENG 148-4Superb over from Siddle. Bell defends the first five deliveries but has no idea what to do with the final ball as Siddle gets one to rise and nip away from the outside edge. Great bowling.

ENG 158-4Pietersen hands the strike to Bell, who decides it's his turn to have some fun as he launches a massive six over wide long-off. Clarke keeps attacking with his field, but he's left scratching his head when Bell cuts past point for three at the end of the over.

ENG 159-4Siddle persists with a full length to Bell, who is more than happy to leave the ball outside off-stump. That's something he's done very well throughout the series. Bell wants two when he flicks the ball behind square on the leg-side but Pietersen convinces his partner to settle for a single.

ENG 162-4Clarke decides enough is enough and brings Harris on to replace Lyon. A single to fine-leg for Bell brings up the 50 partnership. Pietersen shuffles across his crease to nudge a couple more to deep square-leg. Decent return for Harris. Very little movement for the bowler though.

ENG 164-4Siddle is slightly too straight to Bell and he concedes a single on the leg-side. Pietersen pulls powerfully but picks out the man in the deep, so he must settle for one. It's another good over from Siddle. Australia will be worrying about this partnership.

ENG 164-4Pietersen plays a couple of drives early on, but he can't pierce the field. The batsman then picks out Watson at short mid-wicket to continue the dot ball trend. Harris completes the maiden.

ENG 172-4Clarke turns to Starc as Australia look for a way to break this partnership. The left-arm seamer comes round the wicket to bowl at Bell, who leaves early on. Starc forces his opponent to play by delivering a good in-swinger. Get your camera out! Bell plays one of the most gorgeous cover drives you're ever likely to see to add four to his total. Starc responds with a wider ball, but it's the same result as Bell opens the face to cut four more through third-man. Fantastic batting. Pietersen 58* Bell 32*

ENG 173-4Pietersen flicks a full delivery to fine-leg for a single. Harris once again goes full to Bell, who looks at ease as he sees out the remaining five balls in the over.

ENG 176-4Superb from Warner at point when he dives to his right to stop Pietersen's sliced drive. The same batsman walks across his crease to whip the ball through mid-wicket for two, with Khawaja cleaning up in the deep. Starc strays onto the pads and concedes another run to fine-leg. Three from the over. Time for another drinks break.

ENG 176-4Great work from the England duo out in the middle since tea. They've wrestled back some of the control by batting positively on what still seems to be a good pitch. Clarke needs a big spell from one of his bowlers but I'm not sure if he'll risk Lyon again.

ENG 177-4Watson is convinced he has Pietersen trapped lbw on his return to the attack but the umpire disagrees. The bowler wants to review the decision. Clarke decides against it, despite replays suggesting the decision would have been overturned. Big opportunity missed for the tourists. Just a single to fine-leg from the over. Watson is clearly angry as he walks back to slip.

ENG 178-4Pietersen hammers a pull shot away for a single. Starc continues to come round the wicket to Bell, who is defending as well in this series as I've seen from anyone in recent years. Good bowling from Starc, who is still accurate despite the lack of movement.

ENG 178-4The second new ball is available in six overs. That will be a crucial period in the day. Australia will have to strike then.

ENG 179-4Pietersen is furious with some movement behind the bowler's arm early in the over. He continues to look in that direction even after taking a single to deep mid-wicket. Watson continues to bowl economically, conceding just the one run from the over. He's conceded 13 runs from his 10 overs.

ENG 186-4Pietersen continues to take on the Australian attack but he almost gets himself into trouble when he miscues a pull shot which drops safely on the leg-side. Warner ignores the booing to save a boundary at deep cover when Bell drives a full delivery. A wider ball is cut at the last possible moment and the Warwickshire ace picks up four more. England cruising at the moment, they trail by 341.

ENG 187-4Some more movement in the stands bothers Pietersen again early in Watson's over. A sharp bouncer surprises the batsman, who is forced to take evasive action to dodge the ball. It's another good over from Watson, just a single to square-leg scored.

ENG 187-4Clarke decides it's time for something different and he turns to Steve Smith. Will Pietersen target the leg-spinner?

ENG 190-4Pietersen attacks Smith, but must settle for a single to long-on. The spinner delivers an ugly full-toss, which Bell clubs away for one. Pietersen helps himself to another run when he pushes the ball through mid-wicket. It's a trademark inconsistent over from Smith.

ENG 193-4Lyon is back into the attack for the first time since that Pietersen onslaught. Pietersen begins the over by flicking two to fine-leg, before pushing a single to long-on. Bell gets on the front foot to defend against the spinner. Good return for Lyon.

ENG 196-4Smith finds a great length to Pietersen, who gets off strike with a thick outside edge. Bell is forced to come forward in the middle of the over, before sitting deep in his crease to nudge one behind square on the leg-side. Another run is added to long-off. Good over from Smith.

ENG 198-4Lyon comes round the wicket to Pietersen and gives the batsman less freedom by doing so. A typically flamboyant shot off the toes earns Pietersen a single off the final ball. He'll keep the strike. The new ball will be taken, Starc has it in his hands.

ENG 202-4Australia need some wickets with this new ball. Starc's radar is off early on, forcing Haddin into a good stop down the leg-side. Bell pushes a full-toss straight past the bowler for four to guide England past 200. Starc strays down the leg-side again. Not a great start with the new ball. Pietersen 76* Bell 44*

ENG 203-4Harris is given the job of sharing the new ball with Starc. It's a good start for the seamer as he settles on a good, straight line to Pietersen. A quick single to mid-wicket is the only blemish on the over.

ENG 208-4There's a noise when Pietersen swings at a leg-side delivery from Starc. Haddin's reaction says it all, with replays proving the ball clipped the pad. A full-toss is clipped into the leg-side for a single. Bell edges closer to another half-century with a brilliantly times shot off the pads for four. Starc has wasted the new ball so far. Pietersen 78* Bell 48*

ENG 208-4Harris appeals unsuccessfully for lbw when he hits Pietersen on the pad with one that would have drifted past leg-stump. There's more excitement from the tourists when a thin inside edge saves the batsman from a more realistic appeal. Good bowling from Harris, who completes a maiden. One more over until tea.

ENG 211-4Starc is punished for his inaccuracy, with Siddle coming on to replace his fellow seamer. Siddle starts by beating the outside edge with some swing away from the batsman. 50! Bell continues his brilliant form by recording his 37th Test half-century with three through mid-wicket. That shot also brings up the 100 partnership.

ENG 211-4TEA: Australia are still in control, but Pietersen and Bell showed their class in that session to halt the progress made by the tourists this morning. Not many players you'd rather watch when they're both at their best. England need 117 more runs to avoid the follow-on. Pietersen 78* Bell 51*

3.49pmAustralia do still hold a lead of 316. Despite that fact, the draw is looking increasingly likely. There's been no sign that this pitch will get any worse and it will take a lot to bowl out a side twice.

3.52pmThe problem for Clarke is that England have looked confident when Lyon has been bowling. If the spinner can provide a bigger threat, it would allow Australia to rotate their seamers at one end.

3.53pmRemember, Bell (51*) is chasing a century for the fourth successive Ashes Test. I'm not going to back against him after seeing how he compiled the first 51 runs.

3.55pmAustralia need a special session to give themselves the best chance of winning this Test match. If Pietersen and Bell are unbeaten at the end of day, England will be on course to retain the Ashes this Monday.

3.57pmGet to the kitchen quickly and make yourself a cup of tea. The evening session is just a few minutes away.

4.01pmThe players are back out in the middle. Both umpires are in place. Harris has the ball in hand. Play.

ENG 212-4Bell is encouraged to play a loose cut shot but there's no edge involved. Harris is slightly off target throughout the over. Bell nudges a quick single to extra cover to ruin a potential maiden.

ENG 216-4Siddle continues his spell from before the tea break. The seamer is slightly too short midway through the over, which allows Bell to free his arms and cut through third-man for four runs. Siddle continues to change his position on the crease but Bell is equal to every threat that comes his way. Just the boundary from the over.

ENG 221-4Pietersen collects a single at the start of a new over from Harris. The seamer goes very full to Bell, who punishes the error with a textbook cover drive for four runs. England straight back to business following the break.

ENG 225-4Siddle attacks the stumps with every ball in the over. Pietersen fights the urge to drive for most of the over, and when he finally does attack, a thick edge races past the slips for four.


ENG 225-5Beauty! Harris produces a brilliant delivery to beat Bell's defence and knock back off-stump. Huge celebrations. Big, big wicket.

ENG 225-5Jonny Bairstow is the new batsman. The Yorkshire ace chases after a wider one from Harris and he's fortunate not to send an edge towards the slips. Bairstow looking nervous as he sees out the rest of the over. Great stuff from Harris.

ENG 231-5Siddle's frustration is clear to see when Pietersen opens the face enough to earn four through third-man. Bairstow is handed the strike midway through the over. Siddle gets one to move away off the seam as Bairstow continues to feel for the ball outside off-stump. The new batsman steals the strike with a run to fine-leg off the final ball.

ENG 231-5Kevin Pietersen is now England's leading run-scorer in all formats, with 13,194 international runs. Graham Gooch is 2nd (13190) and Alec Stewart 3rd (13140).

ENG 231-5Bairstow looks much more solid as he blocks out a maiden from Harris. Good opportunity for the batsman to make big runs if he can get in this evening. England need 97 more runs to avoid the follow-on.

ENG 232-5Starc returns and he's so close to taking a wicket! Pietersen is relieved to see an inside edge cannon into his pads when he attempts an expansive drive. A push straight back past the bowler gives the strike to Bairstow. Starc fires in a short ball, which Bairstow cuts powerfully into the air. There's a shout for a catch but the ball drops just short of Warner at point.

ENG 239-5Pietersen moves into the nineties by whipping Harris through the leg-side for four runs. The duo in the middle react well to complete a quick single when Pietersen nudges the ball to mid-on. Harris attempts the yorker, with Bairstow being forced into an awkward shot to pick up a single. One more run makes it seven from the over. Pietersen 95* Bairstow 2*

ENG 245-5A single means Pietersen is just four away from a boundary. Starc strays down the leg-side, allowing Bairstow to earn a single to fine-leg. CENTURY! Pietersen reaches three figures in brilliant style when he lofts a wide short ball over point for four runs. That's his 23rd Test century and what a time to deliver a score for your side. Superb batting. Pietersen 100* Bairstow 2*

ENG 248-5Lyon is back into the attack for the tourists. Bairstow advances down the pitch and picks up two runs to fine-leg despite not making contact with the ball. He'll thank the umpire for that one later. Australia appeal for lbw when Lyon finds some big turn but there's a firm shake of the head from the umpire. A short delivery is then pulled through the leg-side for a single.

ENG 248-5Pietersen has certainly played better in an England shirt, but he's showed great determination to keep out an Australian attack hungry for wickets. It's a great time for KP to find some form.

ENG 249-5Bairstow pushes Starc to cover for a quick single to get off strike. Starc angles the ball across Pietersen, who misses a loose drive and grimaces as he reflects on the failure. He's still there though. One from Starc's over.

ENG 255-5Australia are left cursing their luck when Bairstow takes a huge risk by chipping the ball over Siddle at mid-wicket for two runs. Lyon, from round the wicket, drifts down the leg-side and Bairstow responds by reaching the rope for the first time with a powerful sweep. The Yorkshire youngster then keeps one out which keeps low and threatens the stumps.

ENG 259-5Watson returns to the attack, with Clarke hoping to build some pressure to allow Lyon the freedom to attack. Pietersen has a look at the first two balls of the over before drilling the third delivery through cover for four. Great response from Watson to beat the outside edge with a bit of movement off the seam. Pietersen plays and misses again outside off-stump to leave Clarke with his hands on his head at slip.

ENG 265-5Bairstow punishes a short ball by pulling the ball behind square on the leg-side for four. Great running from the England duo results in two following Bairstow's nudge through square-leg. Lyon comes back over the wicket later in the over and, as a result, finds some extra bounce to make life uncomfortable for his rival.

ENG 267-5Pietersen knocks the ball away from his pads to add two to his total. Watson is pretty straight for the majority of the over, but when he does drift wider outside off-stump he's left angered by Pietersen's missed drive. Time for a drinks break at Old Trafford.

ENG 267-5Just over an hour left in the day. England still trail by 260 runs, but it doesn't look like Australia will be given the option of enforcing the follow-on. The hosts need 61 more runs to avoid that. Pietersen 106* Bairstow 18*

ENG 271-5Fantastic cricket from Bairstow. The batsman defends well early in the over before launching a fuller delivery straight over Lyon's head for four runs. That'll do wonders for his confidence.

ENG 271-5Watson continues to be economical as he forces Pietersen back slightly to block out a maiden over. The deficit is 256. It looks like Starc is coming back on.

ENG 271-5There's a bit of reverse swing for Starc, but Bairstow isn't tempted into playing. Close! Starc produces a wonder delivery that nips back off a good length to beat Bairstow's inside edge. Nod of approval from Bairstow. Groan of despair from Starc. Maiden over.

ENG 277-5Watson's face tells a story of woe when Pietersen collects four runs with an inside edge through fine-leg. Harris fields well in the deep when Pietersen hammers a pull shot away for two. Not much out there for Watson at the moment. Nothing compared to the drastic movement we saw from Starc.


ENG 277-6Just as Bairstow had begun to look assured at the crease he's gone. Starc invites the loose drive with a wider delivery and Watson is left to do the rest at first slip. Bairstow will be furious with himself after doing all the hard work. Prior in next for England.

ENG 277-6Starc starts with a few wide deliveries to Prior, who refuses to suffer the same fate as the man he just replaced out there. Great work from Starc. England still need 51 more runs to avoid the follow-on.

ENG 277-6Siddle is back into the attack for a new spell. Good move from Clarke at this stage of the day but there's no drama in the over. Pietersen refuses to offer any chances. Maiden.

ENG 279-6Prior gets off the mark with a push to deep cover for one. Pietersen shuffles across the crease to nudge a single behind square on the leg-side. Prior is beaten on the outside edge on two occasions, with neither the cut or the drive resulting in a successful shot. Clarke is disappointed, but Starc deserves credit for this spell of bowling with the old ball.

ENG 280-6Lyon does superbly at mid-on to restrict Pietersen to a single off Siddle. Prior plays another drive and makes good contact this time, only for the ball to race straight to the fielder at cover. Siddle delivers a beauty from wide on the crease to beat the edge as Prior continues to paint picture of a man struggling for form. Pietersen 113* Prior 1*


ENG 280-7Huge wicket! Pietersen must depart, despite reviewing an lbw decision. Starc gets the ball to pitch in line and nip back to trap the centurion in front of his wickets. Pietersen walks off to a standing ovation. Superb innings. England need 48 more to avoid the follow-on.

ENG 284-7Stuart Broad is the new batsman. I wouldn't be surprised if he attempts to counter attack. Broad gets off the mark with a boundary through square-leg late in the over. Starc now has figures of 3-71. That's a great effort from the left-arm seamer.

ENG 288-7Prior has a big role to play now. He begins life with a new partner by scoring four through third-man off a thick edge. Siddle is angered by the boundary and responds brilliantly to beat the outside edge once again. England trail by 239 runs, they need 40 more to avoid the follow-on.

ENG 292-7Broad reaches the rope again with a flick off the toes for four. Starc pulls his length back slightly, before testing the left-handed batsman with a sharp bouncer. Broad survives. Just the boundary from the over. Prior 5* Broad 8*

ENG 292-7Full and straight is the way to go against Prior, especially early in his innings. Siddle clearly knows this weakness too and he proceeds to target the stumps throughout the over. No mistake from Prior just yet. It's a maiden.

ENG 292-7Lyon is back into the attack. The spinner comes round the wicket to Broad, who has a tendency to play the slog-sweep as a release shot early in his innings. Good line and length from Lyon, nothing too crazy from Broad. Maiden over. Pressure is building again.

ENG 294-7Harris is back for one final burst with 15 minutes remaining in the day. Prior cuts hard outside off-stump and a fumble at backward point gifts the batsman a single. Broad gets stuck on his crease and is fortunate to see a thick edge squeeze into a gap for a run. Decent over from Harris, who continues to be accurate even at this stage of the day.

ENG 294-7Testing times for Broad against Lyon. The batsman does well for the majority of the over, but almost makes a mistake when he fishes at one wide of off-stump. Broad must leave those deliveries. Lyon looking dangerous. Maiden over.

ENG 294-7Prior looks hopelessly out of form at the moment. Harris beats the bat with two gorgeous deliveries outside off-stump. There's a smile from the bowler, but no reaction from Prior. Haddin reacts superbly to take the ball when Harris strays down the leg-side. Prior will be desperate to be out there tomorrow morning. Maiden over.

ENG 294-7Much better technique shown by Broad. The Nottinghamshire ace leaves well and only blocks when it's absolutely necessary. Not huge turn for Lyon, who is probably a slightly bit too full. It's a maiden, again.

ENG 294-7Harris is given the responsibility of bowling the final over of the day. Three full deliveries are followed by a sharp bouncer, which strikes Prior in the chest. Prior survives the over to make sure he'll be there tomorrow.

ENG 294-7CLOSE OF PLAY: Australia walk off the field and the bowlers will finally get a deserved rest. England end the day 233 runs behind the tourists and they still need 34 more to avoid the follow-on. Prior 6* Broad 9*

6.34pmWe've got two more days left in this match and all three results are still possible. Australia are doing everything possible to force a victory. However, Kevin Pietersen's brilliant century today has halted their progress slightly.

6.35pmAustralia will return in the morning fresher and they'll be desperate to take those three wickets quickly. Is there enough time left in the match for them to pull one back in the series?

6.37pmThanks for joining me today. It's been an intriguing day of Test cricket and the good news is that we've got two more days to come. Come back tomorrow at 10.30am for coverage of the fourth day. Goodbye.

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England's Joe Root during the Second Test match against New Zealand on May 25, 2013
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