An abysmal batting performance by England has given Australia a commanding advantage in the final Test of their tour, with the tourists eager to end a frustrating summer of five day cricket on a high.
Australia resumed on 287 for three and had a relatively gentle new ball examination from Stuart Broad and Mark Wood.
At tea on the third day, England, following-on, were 123 for three in their second innings – still 209 runs behind Australia´s first innings 481, which featured captain-elect Steven Smith´s 143.
Meanwhile fast-medium bowler Peter Siddle, playing his first Test since facing India at Adelaide in December after Josh Hazlewood was ruled out through injury, had two for 18 in 10.
Earlier, Moeen Ali and Wood extended their ninth-wicket partnership in England’s first innings to 57 with a flurry of boundaries in the morning.
Smith’s century took him past 500 runs for the series – the first Australian to do so in England since Matthew Elliott in 1997. “I’ve been feeling good“, he said.
“It’s disappointing the way we’ve played here, but we have won the Ashes, and no one can take that away from us – no matter how badly we’ve played in this game. We got eight wickets so it speaks for itself”, Smith told reporters.
Peter Siddle began his second innings bowling spell with 34 dot balls and the dismissal of Lyth before he conceded a run, while part-time spinner Steve Smith was the man who got Cook to prod at a ball that looped to Voges at silly mid-off.
Smith’s 11th century came in just his 33rd test & with the captaincy around the corner he will be a thorn in England’s side for many years to come.
He responded by upper-cutting his first ball, from Siddle, over the slips for four.
Siddle, whose recall for this match was deemed a “panic” measure by Australia great Shane Warne had stumps figures of one for 14 in 16 overs – including 10 maidens.
England’s 60 for three became 64 for four when Root, unable to perform his usual rescue act, was caught behind off the lively Marsh for six.
Bell rarely convinced and his luck ran out when he got a brute of a delivery from Mitch Marsh and gloved a simple catch to second slip; then Root’s attempt to counter-attack against Johnson ended with a mishook to fine-leg. Bairstow was unlucky to be given out as the catch by Adam Voges was made following initial impact with the fielder’s helmet.
Possessing a lead of 332, Michael Clarke enforced the follow-on for the first time in his career as a Test captain, to give England the daunting task of needing to bat for at the least the remainder of the day and then hope for a bout of inclement weather.
Ali´s 30 and Wood´s 24 were the two best scores of the innings but they fell to successive Johnson deliveries, with England dismissed for 149.