| Updated at: 1302 PST, Saturday, December 18, 2010|
PERTH: Another century by the reborn Mike Hussey means England will need to create history to retain the Ashes in the third Test against Australia at the WACA Ground.
At tea on the third day Saturday, Australia were 297-8, an overall lead of 378, with Hussey unbeaten on 111 and Peter Siddle on three after being dropped before he scored.
Australia appeared to be in an invincible position at 252-4 midway through the day, but then slumped to 284-8 as the tail offered scant support to the centurion, falling to some ill-judged shots as recalled paceman Chris Tremlett (4-76) gave the tourists renewed hope.
If England win here they retain the Ashes, while an Australian win levels the series with two Tests to play.
England have only ever successfully chased 300 in the fourth innings three times in Test cricket.
Their biggest ever chase was back in 1928 at the MCG, when they made 332-7 to defeat Australia.
Although the Australian lead may appear daunting in a low-scoring match, England can draw inspiration from South Africa's last-day run chase in Perth in 2008, when they were set 414 to win and did so with six wickets in hand.
Hussey continued his remarkable run of form with his 13th Test century and second of the series to help Australia build a commanding lead.
He brought up three figures with a powerful pull, a shot he played with tremendous success, through square-leg for his 13th boundary off Tremlett, having been at the crease for 261 minutes and faced 136 balls.
Hussey had been given out lbw to Tremlett from the last ball before lunch, but his challenge was successful after replays showed the ball was going over the stumps.
Earlier, opener Shane Watson again fell agonisingly short of a Test century when trapped lbw by Tremlett, who was again very impressive, for 95.
Watson, who was chasing his third Test century and had batted flawlessly, fell in the 90s for the fourth time at the top level.
Watson challenged the decision and was clearly unhappy when it was upheld as he felt he had edged the delivery into his pad, but replays showed his bat actually made contact with the pad rather than the ball.