Perth, Dec 17: England were struggling at 132/4 in their second innings at the end of a rain-interrupted fourth day in the third Ashes Test at the WACA Stadium here on Sunday, on the verge of defeat as they trail the hosts by 127 runs. England's centurions from the first innings, Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow, were at the crease at stumps and face the herculean task of avoiding a third successive loss in as many matches during their current tour Down Under, reports Efe news agency. The fourth day's play resumed with Australia on 549/4. An inspired Jimmy Anderson trapped Mitchell Marsh leg before in the first over of the day and then Australian captain Steve Smith a few overs later. Then with the run out of Mitchell Starc, the Australians lost three wickets in a span of five overs. At lunch, Australia were at 643/7, and they declared their innings early in the second session at 662/9, having accumulated a massive lead of 259 runs. In the second innings, the Australian pace battery got the ball to land in the ever-widening cracks, as Josh Hazlewood sent England openers Mark Stoneman and Alastair Cook back to the pavilion in his first spell. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon removed English captain Joe Root in his first over, before it started raining, prompting the umpires to call for an early tea break with the score reading 71/3. In the day's last session, a composed James Vince, who played some fluent off drives to reach his second fifty in the series, was removed on 55 by a menacing delivery from Starc that broke his off stump, making England's hopes appear as gloomy as the weather around the stadium. Malan and Bairstow managed to fend off the Australians until it began to pour once again, and play was called off for the day with the score reading 132/4. England's best hopes on keeping the series alive rest on the rain gods washing off most of the last day's play, unless their batsmen can conjure up some magic and take the fight back to the Aussies, who lead the five-match Ashes test series 2-0.