Ashes 2013: Australia dominate England in third Test
|Third Test, Old Trafford (day two):|
|Australia 527-7 dec v England 52-2|
Australia continued to dictate the course of the third Test as captain Michael Clarke posted his highest Ashes score before Peter Siddle made early inroads into England's reply.
Clarke made an imperious 187 and was backed up by half-centuries from Steve Smith, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Starc in Australia's first-innings 527-7 declared.
Siddle then removed Joe Root and night-watchman Tim Bresnan to leave England 52-2 at the close of the second day.
Captain Alastair Cook survived two near-misses to reach 36 not out, with Jonathan Trott on two.
On a pitch offering little to the seamers but plenty to the spinners, England were reliant on Graeme Swann, who took advantage of considerable turn to take 5-159, his 17th five-wicket haul in Tests.
Stuart Broad's 200th Test wicket aside, it was a difficult day for the England pace attack.
James Anderson was particularly innocuous on his home ground, recording his worst Test figures of 0-116 two days after being described as the best bowler of his era by Pakistan legend Wasim Akram.
Clarke's declaration 15 minutes after tea gave Australia more than two hours to bowl before stumps and they almost claimed the prized wicket of Cook early on.
A fizzing delivery from spinner Nathan Lyon in his first over of the series grazed the edge of Cook's bat before cannoning off wicketkeeper Haddin's pads and landing just short of Clarke's despairing dive from slip.
Root played with extreme caution to make eight off 57 balls, but succumbed half an hour before the close when he edged Siddle behind.
The seam bowler then had Bresnan caught on the pull. He opted against referring the decision, only for replays to show the ball brushed his thigh.
There was more drama in the penultimate over as Trott called Cook through for a sharp single, leaving his captain at the mercy of David Warner's throw, which came within a whisker of hitting the stumps.
Earlier, Clarke - 125 not out overnight and 14 short of his previous highest score against England - continued to make good on his pre-match promise that Australia would fight back from 2-0 down in the series with three Tests to play.
Setting an aggressive tone, he cracked consecutive fours off Anderson followed by three in a row off Tim Bresnan as he and Smith set a new record fourth-wicket partnership at the ground of 214.
Smith, who resumed on 70, had moved to within 11 runs of a maiden Test century when he aimed a swipe towards cow corner and holed out to Jonny Bairstow at midwicket.
Warner was greeted like a pantomime villain as he strode out for his first Test innings since he infamously punched Root in a Birmingham nightspot.
He was soon departing to an even louder chorus of boos after penning a whole new chapter in the decision review system sub-plot that is fast becoming a major diversion from the main narrative.
Given out for five to a slip catch off Swann, Warner risked Australia's last remaining referral and was made to look foolish when replays revealed a clear edge on to Matt Prior's pad before the ball looped to Trott at slip.
Despite the England fans' delight in seeing Warner so embarrassed, there was no shift in the momentum as Haddin attacked the home side's bowling in a sixth-wicket partnership of 62 with Clarke.
Clarke's downfall, gloving Broad on to his stumps, and the castling of an over-ambitious Siddle by Swann, also proved to be momentary blips as Haddin and Starc kept Australia on top with an entertaining unbroken stand of 97 off 118 balls.
Starc, in particular, belied his position at number nine with some straight drives reminiscent of former Australia opener Matthew Hayden and had hit nine fours in his 66 not out by the time Clarke called time on the innings.