Two late England wickets helped Australia keep alive their hopes of claiming victory at the end of day two of the third Ashes test at Old Trafford.

Peter Siddle claimed the scalps of opener Joe Root for eight and night watchman Tim Bresnan in controversial fashion for just one at the end of the day as the tourists tried to put themselves into a match-winning position following their best batting performance of the series.

Australia had started the day on 303-3 with the aim of turning the tables on England who have dominated the five-test series so far.

Captain Michael Clarke, who's brilliant 125 on the first day had put his side in control in the first place, pushed on as he looked to guide his side to an unassailable position, reaching 150 mid-way through the morning session.

His partner-in-crime on day one Steve Smith looked set to follow his captain to claim Australia's second ton of the series, only for Swann to toss one up for the 24-year-old to sky down the throat of Jonny Bairstow at mid-on.

There was to be no collapse that has typified Australia's batting performance this time, although there was more than a hint of comedy about the pantomime boos that greeted David Warner on his return to the test arena for the first time since he was dropped for punching Joe Root in a bar, and his subsequent decision to review a clear nick which was snaffled up by Jonathan Trott at first slip via Matt Prior's leg.

Siddle fell cheaply in Australia's middle order but either side of him his team-mate's piled on the runs as Clarke reached 187 before Stuart Broad claimed the batsman's wicket and his 200th career test victim.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin hit a typically aggressive 65 from 99 balls while Mitchell Starc did more than his fair share to help the game progress with a quick-fire 66 from 71 deliveries.

Clarke took the decision to declare on 527-7 after tea, leaving England with the task of batting out 32 overs.

They got off to a steady, if not spectacular start as captain Alastair Cook's 34 took England to 47 without loss after 22 overs.

However Root rarely looked comfortable at the crease and he edged a fine Siddle delivery to Haddin behind the stumps to prompt wild Australian celebrations.

Bresnan was sent to the crease to see off the last half-hour but he failed to that, although replays suggested that he was hard done by -the noise as the ball past the bat was from his trousers rather than the willow.

Cook and new partner Trott helped England limp home but it was undoubtedly the tourists' day, as they go in search of not only their first test match victory in seven, but also the win that keeps alive their hopes of reclaiming the famous urn.

Topics:
#Australia cricket
#England cricket
#The Ashes
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