England were skittled for just 185 in their first innings of the third Ashes Test in Melbourne on Sunday, with Australian captain Pat Cummins and spin king Nathan Lyon doing the damage.
Skipper Joe Root top-scored with 50 and Jonny Bairstow hit 35, but it was another poor display in the face of high-class bowling from the home team. Both Cummins and Lyon ended with 3-36.
Australia reached stumps at 61-1, 124 runs behind, after David Warner fell late on, taken by Zak Crawley off James Anderson on 38, giving England a glimmer of hope.
Earlier, Root surpassed former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith’s record of scoring most Test runs as captain in a calendar year.
Root, with 1,680 runs, moved ahead of Smith, who had scored 1,656 runs as the captain of the Proteas in 2008.
England captain’s tally is also the third-highest by a player in a calendar year behind Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf (1,788 runs in 2006) and former West Indies skipper Viv Richards (1,710 runs in 1976).
The 30-year-old hit another half-century, but he fell soon after reaching the landmark. The right-hander wasn’t pleased with the way he lost his wicket.
Root needlessly hung the bat out to a ball from Mitchell Starc and opened up the face before edging it to wicketkeeper Alex Carey. After throwing his wicket, the skipper was livid and disappointed and his reaction summed up England’s day
After defeats in Brisbane and Adelaide, England trail the best-of-five series 2-0 and must win the Boxing Day Test to keep the Ashes alive.