England sink further after top order failure

Australia surged ahead in their quest to regain the urn as they reduced England to 71 for 3 by Tea on the fourth day in Perth on Sunday (December 17). England still trail by 188 as rain forced an early end to the session but with Alastair Cook and Joe Root back in the hut, their hopes, at best, are hanging by a thread.
After Australia declared on 662 for 9 with an overall lead of 259, England were left with a steep task ahead of them. Things went from bad to worse as Josh Hazlewood dented them early with wickets of Mark Stoneman and Cook with just 29 on the board.
While Stoneman was caught behind, Cook pushed at a delivery and lobbed a catch towards Hazlewood. The pacer stuck his right hand out and plucked out a stunner to extend Cook’s lean patch. Root looked positive during his 20-ball stay but failed to negotiate Nathan Lyon.
The offspinner had Root – caught at first slip – on the first delivery he bowled to leave England reeling at 60 for 3. James Vince and first innings centurion Dawid Malan played through to the break but the hosts continued to boss the game.
Earlier in the day, England made things happen to pick up a few wickets. Mitchell Marsh was trapped plumb in front on the second ball of the day by even before he could add to his overnight score of 181. Trying to find a way to continue, Marsh did review but replays suggested the ball was just clipping the top of off giving James Anderson his first wicket of the match.
The biggest moment of the day came when Anderson had Smith out lbw. The ball started doing a lot more after hitting the crack. Length ball from the England pacer hit one of the cracks and held his line to beat the outside edge of the bat and trap the Australia plumb in front. Though the appeal was turned down, England reviewed to have the decision reversed in their favour.
With the England pacer keeping things tight, Australia had slipped to 560 for 6 but still had a healthy lead of 157. Tim Paine was made to look amateurish as the ball continued to travel on extravagant paths after hitting the cracks. It was his nervous energy that cost Mitchell Starc his wicket.
Paine had been pinged on the wicket and there was huge appeal distracting him from where the ball had gone. He took off for a non-existent single only to find himself next to Starc. The pacer gave up his wicket as England raised some hopes with three quick wickets in the day.
However, that also brought Pat Cummins, who has successfully managed to frustrate the visitors with the bat in hand. He did just that. Paine and Cummins extended their association to 82 by the end of the first session.
Brief scores: England 403 & 71/3 (Josh Hazlewood 2-16) trail Australia 662/9 dec (Steve Smith 239, Mitchell Marsh 181; James Anderson 4-116) by 188 runs.