SYDNEY: Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow steadied England's innings after a terrible start and lifted the tourists to 135-4 at tea on the third day of the fourth Ashes test, trailing Australia by 281 runs in the first innings.
Stokes had an eventful session Friday, surviving a missed caught-and-bowled chance off Pat Cummins and then successfully reviewing an on-field lbw decision to make an enterprising half-century as part of a 99-run partnership with Bairstow.
At tea, Stokes was unbeaten on 52 and Jonny Bairstow was 45 not out after successfully counterattacking in the middle session after England slumped to 36-4 at lunch.
Stokes had a reprieve on nine when Pat Cummins put down a sharp return catch which would have left the tourists five down for less than 50 runs.
Then in a bizarre moment, Stokes was given out leg before off Cameron Green.
The English allrounder immediately reviewed, and video replays showed that the ball had missed the pad and in fact hit the off stump but had not dislodged the bails, allowing the allrounder to survive.
Nearing tea, Stokes completed his 25th test half-century off 70 balls and most likely represents England's best hope of narrowing the large first-innings deficit.
Before lunch, England's batting frailties again were exposed by Australia's pace attack as it slumped to 36-4 after resuming at 13 without loss in a rain delayed session.
Scott Boland took two wickets, to go with his seven from his debut test at Melbourne, while Mitchell Starc and Green took one each in a dominant spell of fast bowling.
Haseeb Hameed was dropped on two by wicketkeeper Alex Carey in Starc's second over, but the reprieve only cost four runs as Starc (1-37) bowled the opener for six in his next over.
Zak Crawley, who survived being caught off a no-ball from Starc late on day two, took a blow on the hand by the left-arm quick before Boland found a way through his defences and hit the top of off-stump when on 18.
Boland (2-25) then had Root caught at slip for a duck in his next over with the England skipper again playing away from his body and edging behind to Steve Smith at second slip.
Dawid Malan (3) was dismissed in the over before lunch, caught by Usman Khawaja at slip off Green's bowling, leaving England in tatters at the break.
The inclement weather early Friday didn't dampen the `Pink Test' fundraising efforts of the McGrath Foundation, chaired by former test paceman Glenn McGrath, which for the past 14 years has been a feature on day three of the Sydney test.
Several thousand fans wore pink clothing and one of the stands at the Sydney Cricket Ground was covered in pink bunting to celebrate the charity's work.
Australia has an unassailable 3-0 series lead and has retained the Ashes.