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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Australia odds-on for day five Ashes glory

England's top order fails again

Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan will resume at the Waca
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Resumes 2.30am Monday, BT Sport 1

England are battling to avoid an innings defeat at the Waca but it looks like only the weather gods can stop the tourists from giving up the Ashes as four wickets fell before the close of play on day four.

After toiling in the field for the entirety of day three, the England bowlers finally dislodged Australian centurions Steve Smith (239) and Mitch Marsh (181) in the morning session but Tim Paine and Pat Cummins hung around before the Aussies declared on 662-9 - a first-innings lead of 253.

But Joe Root's team were soon 132-4 and losing their grip on the Ashes urn. Of the top order, only James Vince put up any real resistance, scoring 55 before being undone by a magical Mitchell Starc delivery.

Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan, England's first-innings heroes, were batting together again before play was abandoned due to rain and the threat of the elements intervening on the final day is probably the only reason that Australia are available at 4-9 to seal the victory and take the series.

England, who still trail by 127, are out of the contest while the draw can be backed at 5-2.

The tourists will have to bat for a long time tomorrow if rain fails to arrive and that is something that they've not been able to do on this tour. If one of Bairstow or Malan gets out early then the remaining wickets may soon fall, as was the case when England resumed their innings when aiming to chase down a big target in Adelaide.

Another collapse could be in the offing and Coral's over-under for England's second-innings runs is 275.5. They could well fall short of that mark.

Recommendation
England under 275.5 second-innings runs
3pts 10-11 Coral

The tourists will have to bat for a long time tomorrow if rain fails to arrive and that is something that they've not been able to do on this tour
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