Australia dominant despite Finn's six

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Mike Hussey & Brad Haddin

Mike Hussey congratulates fellow centurion Brad Haddin on an afternoon that saw Australia exercise total dominance

Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin shared a record-breaking stand of 307 to put Australia in complete control of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.

The experienced duo surpassed the previous highest partnership in Tests at Brisbane - an alliance of 276 between Don Bradman and Lindsay Hassett against New Zealand in 1946 - as the hosts racked up an imposing total of 481.

Haddin eventually departed for 136 in the sixth over after tea, caught by Paul Collingwood at slip off Graeme Swann, and Hussey’s mammoth innings was brought to an end three overs later as he pulled Steven Finn to Alastair Cook at deep square-leg to fall five short of a maiden Test double hundred.

The breakthroughs provided a modicum of relief to a tiring England attack and Finn then ran through the tail to claim a six-wicket haul on his Ashes debut.

Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook handed the tourists a further boost as they negotiated the remaining 15 overs of the day.

England progressed steadily to 19 without loss by the close, after Strauss had survived a strong lbw appeal from the first ball of the innings, but still require another 203 runs to make Australia bat again.

Hussey and Haddin combined to devastating effect to take the game away from England in the afternoon session, although both men had benefited from several moments of good fortune on a morning that began half an hour early - and with a new ball - to make up for lost time yesterday.

Hussey, who almost departed to his first ball yesterday and was on 81 overnight, had a reprieve in the third over of the morning when he was given out lbw to Anderson, only for the decision to be overturned on review after replays showed the ball had pitched marginally outside leg stump.

Broad then had Haddin, who had resumed on 22 in a total of 220 for five, in all sorts of trouble at the other end, the batsman playing and missing at one ball before driving loosely and seeing an edge drop short of Kevin Pietersen at gully.

Anderson kept up the pressure with two strong lbw shouts against Hussey, the second delivery striking the batsman plumb in front, but umpire Aleem Dar, perhaps suspecting an inside edge, remained unmoved. The tourists had no review left to challenge the decision.

Hussey and Haddin continued to play and miss on regular occasions but gradually found their feet as the morning progressed.

A misfield from Broad allowed Haddin to bring up the 100 partnership - from 241 balls - and he then steered Finn through third man for four before dispatching Anderson over mid-off with a crunching drive.

A powerful cut from Haddin off Finn took Australia into the lead and the right-hander brought up his half-century soon after with a well-timed cover drive.

Hussey then lofted Swann over mid-off before going to three figures in the next over, from 197 balls, as he drove Broad through the covers for his 15th four.

Haddin had another stroke of luck shortly before lunch as a diving Cook - sprinting back from mid-off - could only get his fingertips to a miscued straight drive off Collingwood.

Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Steven Finn & Paul Collingwood

Steven Finn provided some much-needed relief for England late in the day with a six-wicket haul on his Ashes debut

Another uppish shot from Haddin off the same bowler fell marginally short of Anderson at silly mid-on and a hugely frustrating session for the tourists was summed up when Hussey top-edged an attempted pull over the slips off the unfortunate Anderson.

Australia were quick to press home their advantage after the interval and, after Haddin had lofted Anderson down the ground for four, Hussey brought up the 200 partnership with a glorious cover drive off the same bowler.

The following ball also disappeared to the fence as Hussey followed Haddin’s lead by chipping over Anderson’s head.

Haddin then slog-swept Swann for four to move into the 90s before reaching his century with a muscular straight six off the spinner.

Boundaries were coming alarmingly quickly by this stage as England failed to keep a lid on Australia’s scoring rate.

Broad looked to have finally made the breakthrough in the first over after drinks as Haddin top-edged a pull, but Anderson was unable to get his hands to a relatively straightforward chance as he ran around from mid-on.

Hussey went to 150 with a single off Collingwood before bringing up the 250 partnership with a clip through fine-leg for two in Broad’s next set of six.

Another milestone was reached in the next over as Haddin heralded Australia’s 400 with a thunderous swipe through mid-on off Collingwood.

Ben Hilfenhaus & Andrew Strauss

England's second innings gets off to a dramatic start as Ben Hilfenhaus raps Andrew Strauss on the pads first ball. The opener survived and made it through to the close on day three

Bradman and Hassett’s record stand was then surpassed when an Anderson delivery flew to the fine-leg boundary off the inside edge of Haddin’s bat.

But England finally made a breakthrough early in the evening as Haddin pushed at Swann from around the wicket and was caught superbly by Collingwood at slip.

Hussey had proven particularly effective through midwicket during his sensational innings and another powerful pull off Finn took him to 193.

However, the same shot was to finally bring about his downfall later in the over as he picked out Cook in the deep.

Finn then bowled Mitchell Johnson off his pads for a 19-ball duck and secured a five-wicket haul as Siddle gloved an attempted pull to Swann at second slip.

Debutant Xavier Doherty cracked a couple of off-side boundaries in a carefree 16, but then fell in similar fashion to Hussey as England, and particularly Finn, finally found something to smile about late in the day.

The tourists’ second innings almost got off to the worst possible start as Strauss padded up to Ben Hilfenhaus’ first ball and was struck in front of the stumps by a big inswinger.

Dar was unmoved, however, and a review showed he was right to judge that the ball was snaking just over the stumps.

England avoided any major dramas thereafter as they made it through to the close, but a greater challenge lies ahead if they are to haul themselves back into the match over the final two days.

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