Starc Pietersen
Mitchell Starc congratulates Kevin Pietersen after dismissing him for 113 [Reuters].

Australia continued to dominate England on day three of the third test at Old Trafford, despite a wonderful century from Kevin Pietersen.

England closed on 294-7, with the wickets shared between Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris.

Left-armer Starc was the pick of the bowlers with 3-75, but Harris and Siddle provided excellent support, claiming 2-50 and 2-53 respectively.

However spinner Nathan Lyon, recalled to the side in place of Ashton Agar, was disappointing on his Ashes debut.

On a helpful pitch Lyon offered little threat and finished wicketless, Pietersen and Ian Bell playing him with often contemptuous ease.

Pietersen's century, his 23<sup>rd for England, was untypically dogged, spanning 312 minutes and 206 balls. However his stoic defence was interspersed with some shots of genuine class, notably two lofted drives of Lyon just after lunch.

Bell, meanwhile, continued his golden form by compiling a near-perfect 60, before he was bowled by a ball from Ryan Harris which nipped back and kept low.

Bell has now compiled 377 runs in this summer's Ashes series at an average of over 75, and reached 50 in eight of his last nine innings against Australia.

Continued dominance

After two days of dominance with the bat, Australia continued their good work on the third morning as the visiting bowlers continued to extract life from the hitherto unresponsive Old Trafford surface.

Starc and Harris, both of whom hit the pitch hard, managed to extract pace and bounce on a regular basis, and made life difficult for the English batsmen throughout.

They were rewarded early on when Trott, whose form has been patchy throughout the summer, nicked Harris to Clarke and fell for just five, a dismissal which brought Pietersen to the crease.

The new arrival built a solid partnership with Alistair Cook until England's captain was superbly caught down the leg side by Brad Haddin, giving Australia an overwhelming advantage at lunch.

Bell and Pietersen patiently rebuilt, but with both batsmen now back in the pavilion along with Jonny Bairstow, who again failed to convince, Australia will be hopeful of forcing a result despite the inclement weather forecast for the remainder of the match.