ENGLAND have fallen further off the pace on the third morning of the third Test at Perth, as Australia moved to 211 for four in their second innings.

The hosts therefore had a lead of 292, giving themselves obvious prospects of setting up a series-levelling victory over the final two days.

England had entertained ambitions of retaining the Ashes before Christmas when they bowled Australia out for only 268 on day one.

But they were undone by Mitchell Johnson's wonderful swing bowling yesterday and have managed only the wicket of opener Shane Watson (95) so far today.

Australia consolidated sedately in the first hour.

A sudden clutch of boundaries took the runs total up to 46 before drinks, to complete a hundred stand for the fourth wicket, and Watson and Michael Hussey (60 not out) were drawing the sting from opponents who needed a breakthrough increasingly urgently.

Chris Tremlett supplied it soon afterwards, though, Watson missing out on a hundred yet again - making today the 14th time he has passed a Test 50 and then failed to convert it to three figures.

He left with a withering look for umpire Marais Erasmus too. But after taking the lbw verdict to DRS, the accepted proof was there that there was no inside edge and Watson was struck in front.

Within minutes, Australia were on the right side of a review when new batsman Steven Smith - on one - was given out by Billy Doctrove.

Whether the decision was for lbw or caught at first slip was not clear, but it was soon evident that Smith was staying put in either case.

The prolific Hussey duly completed his fifth successive 50 in as many attempts in this series, guiding a controlled edge fine of gully off Tremlett for his sixth four from 74 balls.

The left-hander had a significant scare from the final ball of the session, having to go to DRS to show the ball hitting him too high and therefore overturning Erasmus' decision that he was lbw to Tremlett.