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ashes, the ashes, Ashes, The Ashes, England in Australia, Michael Hussey
Australia's Michael Hussey (R) celebrates reaching his century as England's Chris Tremlett looks on. -Photo by Reuters

PERTH: Australia's pacemen removed England's opening batsmen Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss in quick succession late on day three to tighten their grip on the third test in Perth on Saturday.

Ryan Harris trapped Cook lbw for 13 with a quick, fuller delivery before Mitchell Johnson had captain Strauss caught by Australian skipper Ricky Ponting in the slips.

The wickets left England reeling at 37-2 as they seek to chase down a fourth innings target of 391 to win the test and seal the Ashes with two tests left to play.

England lead the five-test series 1-0 but will need to break new ground as they bid to take home the Ashes for the first time in 24 years.

England's highest successful fourth innings run chase was the 332 runs they made to beat Australia in Melbourne in 1928.