England came within sights of a victory in the fourth Ashes test at Melbourne after they reduced Australia to 169/6 at the end of the third day's play with the hosts requiring another 246 runs to avoid defeat.

After Jonathan Trott's unbeaten 168 gave England a lead of 415 runs, Australia required a stern innings from their batsmen. However, Phillip Hughes' (23) run-out didn't help matters thanks to a poor call from Shane Watson at the other end. Watson, who was involved in a run-out mix-up at the same venue a year back, pushed to cover and called for a single which Hughes was never going to make. Trott's quick throw to Matt Prior saw Hughes walking back.

Watson (54) went on to make a half-century though he fell to his old weakness of not converting fifties to hundreds. He went into lunch on 50 but shortly into the afternoon session he padded Tim Bresnan for lbw. He reviewed unsuccessfully, more out of desperation than doubt.  

Skipper Ricky Ponting at the other end seemed determined to dig his side out of the hole. He was the picture of concentration and managed to hold off pressure from Bresnan and Chris Tremlett for 73 deliveries before succumbing to the pressure and being bowled to Bresnan on 20.

Australia required a long-standing innings the likes of which Cook and Trott provides England. However, they had no one to do that as even the in-form Michael Hussey failed to deliver a run before falling to Bresnan having faced just seven deliveries. The veteran drove Bresnan to Ian Bell at short cover and the score read 104-4.

Vice-captain Michael Clarke (13) then edged Swann to Strauss at second slip and England began to sense an early victory. Steven Smith and Brad Haddin showed some fight but Smith (38) eventually fell when he mistimed a pull off Anderson and bottom-edged into the wickets. At stumps on day three, Australia were 169-6 requiring another 246 runs to avoid defeat, with Haddin and Mitchell Johnson at the crease.

However, Australia and Siddle in particular did have something to cheer about when in the day's first session, he completed his second six-wicket haul of the series. He took the wickets of Prior (85), Bresnan (4) and Anderson (1) while Hilfenhaus sent Swann (22) and Tremlett (4) packing. Siddle's other six-wicket haul of the series came in the first innings of the first test at the Gabba. However, just as on that occasion, his efforts look likely to fall in vain.