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ENGLAND’S miserable tour took another turn for the worse yesterday when Stuart Broad was taken to hospital after being struck by a Mitchell Johnson yorker and David Warner piled on the pain at the WACA in Perth.
Australia reached 3-235 at stumps on day three of the third Test to lift the home side to a 369-run lead.
On the ground on which he made a jaw-dropping 180 against India two summers ago, Warner (112) combined with opening partner Chris Rogers (54) to push the lead past 300, aided by two dropped catches and a botched stumping by England wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
The crystal Ashes trophy is not scheduled to be presented to its holder until after the fifth Test in Sydney next month, but the one-way traffic was again such that it may as well have been handed over immediately.
England was diabolical with the bat against an excellent Australian attack and just as sorry in the field.
If that was not bad enough, it was forced to slog it out on Sunday without its best bowler, Broad.
Given the hostility with which he has bowled, it was probably only a matter of time before Johnson inflicted some damage and it happened to be on Broad, the token England villain, before lunch.
Much of Johnson’s handiwork has been done with the short ball.
He took an alternative route to Broad, firing a sandshoe crusher into his right boot to trap him lbw.
Broad did not appear for the start of Australia’s second innings after lunch and after being seen limping around in the practice nets was taken to hospital for an X-ray on a foot injury.
In another blow, Graeme Swann was hit on his spinning finger while batting, although he later did bowl.
It is far from the first time Johnson has inflicted injury on a batsman.
Only last summer against Sri Lanka at the MCG, he fractured the right thumb of wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene and, later, the finger of Kumar Sangakkara.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith has also felt the brunt of Johnson at full steam — a broken bone in his hand — twice — when struck by the left-armer.
Broad’s absence rubbed salt into the England wounds, which faces another heavy defeat after losing by a combined 599 runs in Brisbane and Adelaide.
“I’m finding this hard to comprehend. It’s almost embarrassing,” legendary England all-rounder Ian Botham said.
“England has been bullied.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan was in no doubt.
“This is now officially embarrassing,” he tweeted.
As Warner and Rogers made the tourists sweat in the heat, the under-manned England attack was again let down by its men in the field.
Prior had a shocker. He had a stout verbal exchange with Warner that led to the intervention of umpires Marais Erasmus and Billy Bowden early in the Australian innings but had little to utter after a couple of gaffes with the gloves.
Prior has had a nightmare series with the bat, averaging 16, and things got worse when he made a meal of a stumping chance that would have sent Warner packing on 13.
The keeper again appeared accountable when Rogers finely nicked Swann when on 31 and Prior couldn’t hold it. It was not the first time in the innings the opener had been spared.
On 26 he was dropped at first slip by Alastair Cook, although it could be argued Prior was again to blame as the ball was in his range.
Even when Warner and Rogers had a mid-pitch mix-up, leaving an opportunistic Warner stranded way out of his ground, Australia got away with it.
England was bowled out for 251 in its first innings, with Ryan Harris (3-48), Peter Siddle (3-36) and Johnson (2-62) dominating the visitors.