ASHES LIVE: Swann on sidelines as Hussey continues, Perth, day three, afternoon

From Sam Collins in Perth

Tea: third Test, day three, Perth
Match score: Australia 287-8 (Hussey 111*, Siddle 3*) and 268 (Hussey 61, Haddin 53, Johnson 62; Anderson 3-61, Tremlett 3-63) lead England 187 (Bell 53, Strauss 52, Johnson 6-38) by 378 runs
Session score: Australia 86-4 Australia win
Session in six words: Hussey goes on as Swann sulks

Graeme Swann won’t be filming a video diary tonight. He’s had a horrible day in Perth – emasculated by his captain, ineffective when he did get the ball, and then off-colour in the field.

Is this the day that Andrew Strauss loses his halo? Strauss is renowned for being more conservative than a 4pm watershed – but unflappable temperament and a winning team have helped to obscure questionable tactical decisions.

His treatment of Swann here has been curious and most probably not to England’s advantage. Forget how ineffective Swann was in four overs last night and that (first-innings here apart) Mike Hussey has enjoyed batting against him, he has a record that demands use as an attacking option. And yet throughout a first session when England needed wickets and inspiration Swann stood and watched.

When he did get thrown the ball after lunch, behind the expensive Steve Finn, it was almost as a last resort. Swann glowered at Strauss, his subsequent performance inadvertently proving the captain right. A few overs later, Siddle stuck one to him at short extra-cover, and Swann grassed it. The supportive pats that have characterised England’s fielding were not forthcoming. Whatever the conditions, in a four-man attack England require each bowler to be able to function as defensive or attacking weapon, and that hasn’t happened here.

As so often this series, the hacks will be readying themselves for a Mike-Hussey press conference tonight. His unbeaten 111 takes him to 512 runs so far in the three Tests. He would be looking at many more but for some astonishingly poor shot selection from Mitchell Johnson and in particular Ryan Harris, who chose to take on the hook shot when Strauss had optimistically stationed three men back. Hussey has been chanceless at the other end – a lesson to Alastair Cook that you can never score too many runs. England kept going gamely – impressively motivated in the field despite a worsening situation.

Australia now lead by 378, and will hope that Johnson’s bowling does not mirror his batting in this second innings.

Sam Collins is TWC‘s man in Australia and will be blogging on TWC and sampsoncollins.wordpress.com throughout the Ashes

Read more on the Ashes:

What the Aussie press said on day two: columns of conviction
Benj Moorehead feels the joy in England’s pain
John Stern at Perth takes a walk round the ground and triggers wickets
The second day from Perth session-by-session
Why it’s good for English players and Anderson to go home
The real Australian selection policy: Alex Bowden
Aussie press round up, day one: columns of conviction
The A-to-Z of the Australian cricket in 2010 by Alan Tyers

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