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Waca a huge obstacle for misfiring English

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England have paid dearly for a few dreadful sessions and the scoreline has, to an extent, flattered Steve Smith’s Australia

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England’s hopes of clawing their way back into an Ashes series fast slipping from their grip will be put to the ultimate test at the Waca where the tourists have won only once in nearly 50 years.

The Waca bore witness to the meek surrender of the 2013/14 series by Alastair Cook’s England, and at 2-0 down after Brisbane and Adelaide, Joe Root’s men face a similar predicament when the third Test starts tomorrow.

With its traditionally quick and bouncy wicket playing to the strengths of home pacemen, the Waca has been a house of pain for English cricket and Australians will be hoping for more of the same when the ground hosts its final Test.

Australia have beaten England in their last seven matches at the Waca and with the hosts’ pacemen licking their lips, it may take something truly special from Joe Root’s men just to keep the series alive to the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

Managing that would be a victory of sorts, given England need only to square the five-Test series at 2-2 to keep the coveted urn.

Having fought hard but ultimately crumbling at both the Gabba and the Adelaide Oval, England’s chances of rallying at the Waca have been given short shrift by bookmakers.

England have paid dearly for a few dreadful sessions and the scoreline has, to an extent, flattered Steve Smith’s Australia.

The vulnerability of the home side’s batting was on full display in the second innings at Adelaide Oval as they crashed out for 133 to raise England’s hopes of an unlikely victory.

More will be needed from the English batsmen, though, given none have managed a century this series. Root and his most senior batsman Alastair Cook have been particularly culpable for failing to set the benchmark by converting promising starts into big scores. Both were present for England’s last capitulation at the Waca and will be desperate to make a contribution to avoiding another.

The match starts at 4.20am SA time. – Reuters