ENGLAND encountered resistance from Brad Haddin and Michael Hussey but were still on top against Australia, thanks largely to Chris Tremlett, by tea on day one of the third Test at Perth.

Haddin (52no) and Hussey (61) made contrasting half-centuries, the latter reaching the milestone for the fourth successive time in as many attempts in this Ashes series, as Australia tried to recover from another nightmare start.

Their sixth-wicket pair very nearly doubled the total, from 69 for five - and after two sessions at the WACA, Australia battled on to 179 for six, despite Tremlett's three for 41.

The 6ft 8in fast bowler marked his return to Test cricket with two of England's four wickets before lunch as, for the second match running, the tourists made immediate inroads with the ball against opponents who must avoid defeat here to stay in with a chance of winning back the Ashes.

Tremlett, back in place of the injured Stuart Broad for his first Test since 2007, struck twice with the new ball on a helpful surface.

Recalled opener Phil Hughes, Australia captain Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and finally Shane Watson were the men to go on a bright morning - as England's pace bowlers found the assistance in a green pitch that Andrew Strauss was hoping for after winning the toss.

Just as at Adelaide two weeks ago - where England went on to win by an innings to go 1-0 up with three matches to play - Australia were very soon in trouble.

James Anderson thought he had Watson in the first over, but umpire Billy Doctrove's caught-behind verdict after a brilliant take down the leg-side by Matt Prior was overturned on review when video replays showed the ball hitting only the batsman's thigh pad.

At the other end, Hughes could manage only two runs before Tremlett - who had worked him over with short balls - pushed one further up and clean-bowled the left-hander, as he aimed to leg.

Watson escaped barely a half-chance on two, Strauss unable to cling on one-handed high above his head at slip, off Anderson.

Then when the same bowler found more extra bounce, Ponting also edged high - and Paul Collingwood leapt athletically to take a wonderful one-handed catch at third slip.

Clarke poked an edge behind, pushing away from his body in back-foot defence off Tremlett and, after Steven Finn replaced Anderson at the Lillee Marsh Stand end, he produced a memorable piece of bowling to have the determined Watson lbw with an inswinging yorker.

The opener went to DRS, but it was no surprise when simulation indicated Doctrove had got his decision right this time.

Hussey duly dug in alongside Steven Smith for the remainder of the morning and was rewarded shortly before lunch with a mistimed hook off Finn which flew straight over the wicketkeeper's head for six.

But Tremlett had his third wicket in his first over of the afternoon, again profiting from bowling an ideal length at this venue.

Like Hughes before him, Smith was pinned back for several deliveries before Tremlett went fuller and got the edge to slip.

Hussey and Haddin responded in a counter-attacking stand until the left-hander - having reached his 50 with a cut off Finn for his seventh four from 98 balls on his home ground - went caught behind to Graeme Swann.

The off-spinner conceded a six over long-on to Haddin among 10 runs in his first over, but hit back in his second with a perfect delivery from round the wicket which took the edge of Hussey's back-foot defence for a neat catch by Prior.

Doctrove did not detect the deflection. But after Prior had insisted on DRS, Hotspot did.

Haddin, joined by Mitchell Johnson, continued to play some adventurous strokes - and although he slowed with his 50 in sight, he still reached the mark 31 balls quicker than Hussey had.

It was England's turn to struggle a little, and the sight of Finn hobbling with a calf problem - in only a three-man pace attack - was worrying.