The Ashes: Cook's struggles continue as Australia hone in on the urn

The Ashes 2017

Josh Hazlewood holds up the ball after taking 5 wickets against England during the final day of the Ashes Test in Perth

The last man out on the fourth day was James Vince for a neat 55, bowled when a Mitchell Starc ball jagged off a crack and crashed into his stumps.

Trailing 2-0, England must cobble a draw to keep the five-test series alive to Melbourne and their hopes may rest on the weather, with more showers forecast on day five.

"But these two (Malan and Bairstow) especially showed in the first innings that they can occupy the crease for a long time, so hopefully they get off to a good start in the morning".

Josh Hazlewood, bowling with the confidence created by a first-innings lead of 259 runs, dismissed both openers in a fired-up opening spell.

Tim Paine and Pat Cummins further demoralised England in a 93-run stand, during which Root set defensive fields and opted against taking the third new ball as he waited for Smith to declare. "We'll obviously continue to do that and hopefully have the same results".

As a result Smith and Marsh have put up a 301-run partnership and Australia has overtaken England's first innings total for a lead of 146 runs with six wickets still in hand.

Cook has looked a shadow of his former self in his 150th Test match and despite his determination to play on, the wolves are now at the door.

Root is averaging 29.33 this Ashes series; his predecessor Cook a meagre 13.83.

The drums are beating even louder for Broad - the fallen Ashes pantomime villain who appears all but out of steam. - Josh Hazlewood reflects on Starc's jaffa to remove Vince.

Anderson ultimately finished with four wickets, but like in Adelaide, it was too little too late by the time he found his mark.

The dismissal of Stoneman brought the crowd to its feet but it was the removal of Alastair Cook (14) that whipped the WACA faithful into a frenzy when he brilliantly shifted low to his right to claim a one-handed catch from his own bowling.

Australia's extraordinary batting performance eclipsed the 8-659 they scored against England at the SCG in 1946 when Bradman made a Smithesque 234. The match will then likely come down to whether or not England's top order can settle in as they did in their first innings, or be taken down more quickly.

Anderson is 35 and Broad 31, and while they might have another burst left on home soil where the ball swings, there must be serious doubts about whether they can be risked away from home.

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