Five Ashes talking points as England stare down barrel of defeat on day four

England began day four of the second Ashes Test against Australia staring down the barrel of a heavy defeat and the prospect of going 2-0 down in the series.

They did get off to an excellent start, though, with veteran seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad leading the way.

Australia's nightwatchman, Michael Neser, survived a run-out chance off the first ball of the day, before getting bowled by Anderson for three in the second over.

Marcus Harris departed in the next over, with Jos Buttler taking a brilliant diving catch off Broad to remove him for 23.

The following ball, Buttler dropped a much simpler chance which would have sent Steve Smith packing for a golden duck.

The ball after that, Broad pinned Smith on the crease and was convinced he had him out LBW, wheeling away in one of his trademark celebrappeals.

However, umpire Rod Tucker gave it not out and a review judged the impact to be umpire's call.

Smith was not able to take advantage though, getting strangled down the leg side by Ollie Robinson for just six.

Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head then shared an important partnership as they extended Australia's lead to well-beyond the 350 mark.

Head departed for 51, with Ben Stokes taking an excellent diving catch on the boundary off Robinson.

Labuschagne was also dismissed for 51, holing out in the deep to hand Dawid Malan his first Test wicket.

Cameron Green finished on 33 not out, while Joe Root and Malan took three more wickets between them before Australia decided to declare on 230-9 with a lead of 467.

In response, Haseeb Hameed fell to Jhye Richardson for nought, with England rapidly closing in on 50 ducks this calendar year.

Rory Burns and Dawid Malan shared a useful 44-run partnership, but that was broken when Neser got Malan LBW for 20.

Burns followed not long after, with his 95-ball vigil ending when Smith caught him at slip for 34.

Root and Stokes attempted to battle through to the close but, after copping a painful blow from Starc, Root fell for 24.

His dismissal brought an end to the day's play with England on 82-4 and needing 386 runs to win.

Here are five talking points from the day's play

England's early wickets

In the first 13 overs on day four, England picked up three wickets and conceded just ten runs as they sparked a mini Australian collapse.

The hosts began the day on 45-1, but quickly fell to 55-4, with Neser, Harris and Smith all departing.

Anderson and Broad set the tone brilliantly for England, with Anderson bowling Neser in his first over and Broad picking up the wicket of Harris in an eventful second over.

Robinson then got in on the act in his second over, getting stand-in skipper Smith caught down the leg side by Buttler for six.

Broad's dramatic second over

Broad bowled the first over the day and saw Neser survive a close run-out chance off the very first ball.

However, it was his second over where all the drama occurred, which began when Buttler took a stunning diving catch to dismiss Harris for 23.

It was the start of a crazy three ball spell, which saw Smith given two lives.

First, Buttler dropped a relatively simple catch, before a very close LBW appeal went the way of Australia's captain.

Robinson switches to spin

With Joe Root off the field after getting "hit in the abdomen" during the warm-up, Robinson briefly became England's frontline spinner.

The England seamer switched to bowling off-spin for a three over spell and he found both turn and bounce with the pink ball.

Robinson has bowled a total of 26 overs of off-spin in county cricket and his former Sussex teammate Stuart Meaker wrote on Twitter : "I can confirm these off-spinners from Ollie Robinson are lethal…Turn and Bounce….lots of Bounce in fact"

Head's counter-attack

Just like he did in the first Test at the Gabba, Head came in and batted positively, helping Australia fight back after England dominated the first hour.

When he came to the crease, Australia were 55-4 and he proceeded to strike 51 off just 54 balls.

The 27-year-old shared an 89-run partnership with Labuschagne, extending Australia's lead to 381 runs by the time he was dismissed.

England's openers continue to struggle

Burns' struggles on this tour so far have been well-documented, but Hameed's performances in Adelaide have been particularly disappointing given he played a pair of promising knocks at the Gabba.

Hameed's dismissal in the first innings saw him get caught at mid-on after inexplicably trying to whip Neser through midwicket.

In the second innings, Hameed was caught behind for nought, making it the 49th duck that England have recorded this year.

In total, England's openers have now made 13 ducks, the most by any team in a calendar year ever.

Burns has made six of those, the most by a single batter in one year, and he was out for 34 in the second innings – his highest score in the series so far.

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