England is facing an innings defeat to Australia in the third Ashes cricket test on the crumbling WACA pitch Sunday. Facing a deficit of 259 runs, England's day was saved by rain as it finished on 132-4 with Dawid Malan 28 not out and Jonny Bairstow 14 not out taking the game into the fifth and final day. England needs to survive 95 overs over three sessions Monday to stop Australia from reclaiming the Ashes.
Australia leads the three-match series 2-0 following wins in Brisbane and Adelaide by 10 wickets and 120 runs, respectively. The cracks claimed an unlucky victim in James Vince 55 when a Mitchell Starc delivery darted from leg to uproot the right hander's off stump.Vince held the innings together for two hours while the rest fell around him, and hit 12 fours off 95 balls. Vince's dismissal is a sign of the difficulty England will face on a surface that is notorious for cracking and producing a disconcerting bounce.
Batting the second time after Australia had hit 662-9 declared, its highest total in Ashes tests at home, England was reduced to 29-2 as fast bowler Josh Hazlewood 2-23 made inroads. Hazlewood had Mark Stoneman 3 caught behind, and then grabbed a one-handed return catch to dismiss Alastair Cook 14 to remove the former skipper and extend his miserable form with the bat. Cook, the senior batsman, has managed 83 runs in six innings, averaging 18.33.Then, skipper Joe Root fell for 14 as he tried to hit off-spinner Nathan Lyon's first delivery and edged to slip Steve Smith via wicketkeeper Tim Paine's gloves.
Swing bowler James Anderson returned 4-116, including 2-6 in an 11-ball spell to remove Marsh and then Smith, both trapped lbw after Australia resumed the day on 549-4. If Australia wins, England's first innings of 403 will be the highest total for any losing side at the WACA since India made 402 and lost by 2 wickets here in December 1977.