Cook, Root fall as Australia close in on win

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Australia moved closer to reclaiming the Ashes as England were left in huge trouble on day four of the third Test in Perth on Sunday.

After the hosts finally declared at 662-9 – a first-innings lead of 259 – England were reduced to 71-3 at tea, called a few minutes early due to rain at the WACA.

Among those wickets were the out-of-form Alastair Cook (14) and captain Joe Root (14) as the tourists face a huge task – still trailing by 188 runs – to avoid defeat and a 3-0 series deficit, although rain is forecast for day five.

Australia added 19 runs to their lunch total before Steve Smith declared, Tim Paine finishing unbeaten on 49 as James Anderson ended up with a four-wicket haul.

A deteriorating pitch, on which cracks continued to open up, assisted bowlers, but England's top-order only had themselves to blame.

Mark Stoneman (3) pushed at a Josh Hazlewood (2-16) delivery to be the first to go, edging behind to Paine.

Cook had looked relatively comfortable, but he was undone by a spectacular return catch by Hazlewood, who stuck out his right hand to take the grab as the batsman trudged off with 83 runs at 13.83 in this series.

Australia also took the big wicket of Root, although they needed some luck.

Root tried to drive the first ball from Nathan Lyon (1-9), only to see his edge come off Paine's gloves and go straight to Smith at first slip.

James Vince (36) appeared in control, needing a partnership with first-innings centurion Dawid Malan (4) to rescue England.