James Vince believes it is only a matter of time before Joe Root and Alastair Cook live up to their star billing as England slip towards Ashes defeat.
Australia enjoyed another fruitful day in Perth on Sunday, extending their first-innings lead to 259 before reducing the tourists to 132-4, Cook and Root each falling for 14.
With the inexperienced Vince, Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan making up three of England's top five, much had been made ahead of the series of the responsibility on the current and former captains to do the bulk of the run-scoring.
However, Cook's six innings have yielded just 83 runs at 13.83 and although Root has passed fifty twice, his 176 at 29.33 pales into comparison with opposite number Steve Smith, whose 426 at 142 include a double hundred and a century.
An almost inevitable Australian #Ashes victory is on its way in Perth, with England's top order failing after the hosts build a big lead.— ICC (@ICC) December 17, 2017
Day 4 RECAP: https://t.co/baTdqEXEvm pic.twitter.com/xjl5NShcKz
"From my point of view, you look at those two guys and if they don't score runs you expect them to score runs in the next innings," said Vince, who made a fluent 55 on day four before being cleaned up by a magic ball from Mitchell Starc.
"They've shown over the their careers that they don't often have long periods without scoring runs and for the other guys in the team like myself, you look at them and expect them to score runs.
"That's not going to happen for them all the time but they are both very mentally strong and capable. Fingers crossed next time they make a big contribution."
Rain is forecast for the final day, when England's first-innings centurions Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow will look to protect a fragile tail for as long as possible while Australia go in search of the 3-0 scoreline that will secure the return of the urn.
"We try to put the rain to the back of our minds," said Vince. "A couple of days ago, today was supposed to be more of a washout than it wasn't. I haven't seen a huge amount of rain during the time I've been in Perth.
"The two guys at the crease spent a lot of time there in the first innings in slightly different conditions, but we've got to have belief that we can stay in the series and get over the line tomorrow.
"It's going to be tough. I'm sure there will be some good balls flying about out there but these two showed in the first innings that they can occupy the crease for a long time. Hopefully we can get off to a good start in the morning."
|Guptill ruled out of Black Caps´ UAE tour|
|UEFA investigating PSG-Red Star fan clashes|
|Just ´another weekend´ for champion-elect Hamilton|
|G League will offer $125K to top prospects in lieu of NCAA one-and-done route|
|Chargers defensive end Bosa ´a few weeks´ away from return, says father|
|Bale back in full Real Madrid training|
|Roma supporter found not guilty of inflicting GBH on Liverpool fan Sean Cox|
|´Fantastic´ Neuer will prove he´s still the best, says Lloris|
|Perez secures Force India stay|
|Australia wait on Khawaja scan|
|Shaw signs Manchester United extension|
|Jones lays down challenge to snubbed England star Cipriani|
|West Ham´s Pellegrini rejects Dzeko speculation|
|Emery fails to assure Ramsey of Arsenal future|
|Pakistan on course for victory after Babar 99 and farcical run out|
|Canelo ready to leave comfort zone to face Fielding|
|Eriksen ready for Tottenham return, Pochettino confirms|
|Titans coach rocked by Hurrell´s Rhinos switch|
|Rubin Kazan suspended from UEFA competition for FFP breach|
|Real Madrid could sack Lopetegui if results don´t improve, says Essien|
|On-court coaching would add to drama - Mouratoglou|
|Babbel lauds ´top class´ Ronaldo after Juventus switch|
|Carmelo Anthony: Rockets bench role challenging mentally|
|Maqsood preferred to Amir in Pakistan T20 squad|
|Make Ramsey Arsenal captain, don´t let him leave – Wilshere|
|Kaneria admits guilt in spot-fixing case|
|No coach can work miracles – Ibrahimovic defends under-fire Mourinho|
|Morgan earns England recall, Cipriani overlooked|
|Reavie leads CJ Cup, solid start from Koepka|
|Juventus kicked me out to sign Ronaldo – Higuain|
|England forward Hughes given six-week ban|
|Injured Halep withdraws from WTA Finals|
|Ronaldo exit makes all the difference for Real Madrid – Luxemburgo|
|Manchester United´s Chelsea Blues and other one-sided rivalries|
|Babbel fears for Kovac´s Bayern future|
|Bradley homers again, Red Sox take 3-1 lead over Astros|
|Ayton, Doncic shine on NBA debuts|
|Leonard focusing on future after Raptors debut|
|MLS Review: Rooney stunner seals DC win, Sounders clinch play-off spot|
|Pochettino ´proud´ of Dier for Ramos tackle|
|Wallabies name three uncapped players for All Blacks clash|
|Lakers coach Walton will monitor LeBron´s minutes, plans to use deep rotation|
|Lloris: United´s Pogba unfairly judged because of transfer fee|
|´Phenomenon´ Mbappe deserves Ballon d´Or, says Buffon|
|Dodgers on cusp of World Series after beating Brewers|
|Mata braced for ´difficult month´ at Man United|
|WATCH: Rooney scores wonderful free-kick for DC United|
|Kaino handed five-week ban for striking Roberts|
|Bears star Khalil Mack ´day-to-day´ with ankle injury|
|Anthony has ´a clearer understanding´ of his role with Rockets|
|Brewers remove Miley after one batter against Dodgers|
|Rams rule out Kupp for 49ers game|
|Giants owner Mara to talk with Beckham Jr|
|Bamberg battle back to claim Champions League win|
|MLB investigated alleged Astros sign stealing, found no wrongdoing|
|Timberwolves star Wiggins to donate $22 for every point this NBA season|
|Red Sox´s Sale won´t start game five of ALCS|
|Tsitsipas and Shapovalov advance at Stockholm Open|
|Witsel to Dortmund is signing of the season - Martinez|
|Pique confident Nadal will play in 2019 Davis Cup|
|Seeds suffer in Moscow and Luxembourg|
|Johnstone grabs hat-trick as England ease past France|
|Pogba and Mourinho disagreement over Instagram video, confirms Pereira|
|Nuggets coach Malone signs contract extension|
|Mayweather accepts Khabib´s challenge: ´We´re fighting´|
|Slovenia sack Kavcic as head coach|
|Morgan and Rashid star as England win rain-reduced ODI in Sri Lanka|
|Romagnoli aims to make Gattuso proud in Milan derby|
|Naldo signs Schalke extension|
|Bills to start quarterback Anderson against Colts with Allen out|