Australia punish careless Pietersen to take control
The Ashes were slipping from England's grip yesterday as Australia took control of the third Test despite dogged resistance from captain Alastair Cook.
Cook made his highest score of the series, 72, and Kevin Pietersen passed 8,000 career Test runs as he battled for an hour and a half before giving his wicket away again with a careless stroke to hand the initiative to Australia in the evening session with England, on 180 for four, trailing by 205 runs.
Pietersen fell to Siddle for the third time in the series and the 10th time overall as Australia's bowlers strangled the scoring options of England's most free-spirited batsman, making run-scoring hard in temperatures in Perth that reached 104F.
England were also left baffled by the Decision Review System after Joe Root was given out caught behind for four off Shane Watson. Root reviewed the decision and there was no mark on Hot-Spot but real-time snicko, the audio detection tool being used in a Test series for the first time, detected a faint noise after the ball passed the bat. Third umpire Tony Hill upheld the decision of on-field official Marais Erasmus.
"It was a disappointing dismissal for us, and a key dismissal for us," England batsman Michael Carberry said. "He obviously felt he didn't hit the ball, so he reviewed it.
"What the decision made by the third umpire was, I'm not fully aware of because I wasn't there. The decision is made by the third umpire, we don't control that, so it's one of those things we have to swallow I'm afraid."
On a gripping day, England tried everything to shake off Australia, taking early wickets only to see the home side's final pair add 31 crucial runs to take the score to 385.
Cook and Carberry got off to a flying start, scoring at more than four an over before Australia squeezed the rate. Cook fell for 72 when he cut off-spinner Nathan Lyon to backward point. Pietersen became the fifth, and fastest, England batsman to reach 8,000 Test runs in his 176th innings but as the Waca crowd got behind the Australia side, he fell to the sixth ball he faced from Siddle, top-edging the ball to mid-on, where Mitchell Johnson leapt spectacularly to take the catch.
"I thought it was a fantastic piece of athleticism -- great catch, and a good wicket for us," said Australia bowling coach Craig McDermott, who also believes they have perfected their method of dismissing Pietersen.
"He [Siddle] bowls very tight to Pietersen and has patience," McDermott said. "He was four off 40 balls, he was digging himself a fair hole from my perspective, and then he started playing a shot a ball. Sidds has tied him down time and time again and then the release valve comes and Sidds cracks him open. That's great for us, we hope it continues."