Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell were leading England’s recovery by tea on day three of a well-poised fourth Ashes test, just when a brilliant spell of pace bowling by Ryan Harris had put Australia in charge on Sunday.

England was 32 runs behind after wrapping up Australia’s first innings for 270 with the addition of just 48 from the overnight total of 222-5, but was soon wobbling on 49-3 after Harris removed Joe Root (2), Alastair Cook (22) and Jonathan Trott (23).

Chasing anything more than 200 could be a struggle for Australia, which needs to win the test to keep alive hopes of drawing the five-match series.

Scoreboard

Australia

David Warner b Broad 3

Chris Rogers c Prior b Swann 110

Usman Khawaja c Prior b Broad 0

Michael Clarke c Cook b Broad 6

Steve Smith c Prior b Bresnan 17

Shane Watson c Prior b Broad 68

Brad Haddin lbw Swann 13

Peter Siddle c Cook b Anderson 5

Ryan Harris lbw Broad 28

Nathan Lyon lbw Anderson 4

Jackson Bird not out 0

Extras- (2b, 11lb, 1w, 2nb) 16

TOTAL- (all out) 270

Overs- 89.3.

Fall of wickets- 1—12, 2—12, 3—49, 4—76, 5—205, 6—224, 7—233, 8—245, 9—258.

Bowling- James Anderson 25—8—65—2, Stuart Broad 24.3—7—71—5 (1w, 2nb), Tim Bresnan 19—3—63—1, Graeme Swann 18—5—48—2, Jonathan Trott 3—0—10—0.

England

Alastair Cook c Haddin b Harris 22

Joe Root b Harris 2

Jonathan Trott c Haddin b Harris 23

Kevin Pietersen not out 37

Ian Bell not out 37

Extras- (2lb) 2

TOTAL- (for 3 wickets) 123

Overs- 36.

Fall of wickets- 1—17, 2—42, 3—49.

Still to bat- Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson.

Bowling- Ryan Harris 12—1—40—3, Jackson Bird 9—2—30—0, Shane Watson 5—1—17—0, Peter Siddle 5—1—27—0, Nathan Lyon 5—1—7—0.

Toss- won by England.

Series- England leads 2—0.

Umpires- Aleem Dar, Pakistan, and Tony Hill, New Zealand.

Third Umpire- Marais Erasmus, South Africa. Match Referee- Roshan Mahanama, Sri Lanka.

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