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Australia poised to regain Ashes as England stumble

Australia's Mitchell Starc celebrates after bowling England's James Vince in the third Ashes Test at the Waca ground in Perth. REUTERS/David Gray

Australia are on the verge of regaining the Ashes trophy after reducing England to 132 for four on the fourth day of the third Test match at the Waca in Perth on Sunday. England, who trail the series 2-0, still need 127 runs to make Australia bat again.

The day started with centurions Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh resuming their mammoth partnership. Marsh departed early without adding to his overnight score of 181 runs while Smith added only 10 runs before getting dismissed for 239 runs.

Tim Paine and Pat Cummins stretched Australia’s lead by scoring 83 runs for the eighth wicket. The home side declared their innings on 662 for nine, securing a 259-run lead.

England’s second innings began shakily, as pace bowler Josh Hazlewood claimed the wickets of opener Alastair Cook and Mark Stoneman. England captain Joe Root didn’t offer much resistance as he fell for 14 runs. James Vince steadied the visitors’ innings with a solid 55 before getting clean bowled by Mitchell Starc.

David Malan, 28 not out, and Jonny Bairstow unbeaten on 14 were at the crease when play was abandoned early due to rain.

Despite a rain forecast for the final day, Hazlewood was confident of Australia’s win.

“I think there is just some rain tomorrow morning, hopefully that doesn't hang around too long and we can get the best part of two sessions in to take these next six wickets,” he said.

Vince said his team believed they could save the game regardless of the weather.

“I think we try and put the rain to the back of our minds. We’ve got to have belief that we can save the series and get over the line tomorrow,” he said.

England won the 2015 Ashes series 3-2.