England's Alastair Cook (C) walks off after being caught by Australia's Steve Smith on the third day of the second Ashes Test
Adelaide (Australia) (AFP) - England’s Ashes hopes nosedived with the loss of key batsmen Joe Root and Alastair Cook as Australia grabbed four wickets early on day three of the second Test in Adelaide on Monday.
Hunting down Australia’s 442 for eight declared, the tourists were fighting to stay in the day-night clash and stop themselves going 2-0 down in the five-Test series.
At tea, England were 128 for five with Moeen Ali on 22 and Jonny Bairstow not out 17 and trailing Australia by 314 runs.
England, who crashed to a 10-wicket defeat in Brisbane last week, cannot afford to lose again in Adelaide, where Australia have won the two day-night Tests they have played, against New Zealand and South Africa.
The third game in the series is next week at the WACA ground in Perth, where England haven’t won a Test since 1978.
Australia broke through for the prized wicket of England skipper Root in the day’s seventh over.
Root shaped to drive Pat Cummins only to get a thick edge to Cameron Bancroft at third slip for just nine.
Root, third in the Test batting rankings, only faced 10 balls and England’s confidence plunged as he departed.
Cook, England’s other big hope, was deceived by Nathan Lyon’s flight and edged to Steve Smith at slip for 37 off 90 balls.
The former captain, who plundered 766 runs when England won in Australia seven years ago, has scores of two, seven and 37 in his three innings in the current series.
It was off-spinner Lyon’s 50th Test wicket against England, with the promise of more to come.
James Vince went in the day’s second over to a poor shot, edging Josh Hazlewood outside off-stump to wicketkeeper Tim Paine for two.
Dawid Malan had a big moment on six when he was given out leg before wicket to Mitchell Starc after a lengthy deliberation by the umpire.
Malan had the decision overturned on review with the Hawk-Eye ball-tracking technology projecting it passing over the top of the stumps.
But Malan got an inside edge to Cummins and was caught by Paine for 19, leaving the tourists flailing at 102 for five in the 38th over.
Moeen and Bairstow batted England to the first break in an unbroken 26-run partnership.