Ashes 3rd Test: Joe Root's unbeaten 75 keeps England’s hopes alive

Last Updated: Sunday, 25 August 2019 (11:03 IST)
Headingley: captain made an unbeaten 75 to keep England in with an outside chance of pulling off a miraculous win against Australia here.
 
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Chasing a daunting 359 to keep their Ashes hopes alive, England were reduced to 15/2 but Root and Joe Denly knuckled down to put on a partnership of 126 from 53 overs. Both were very patient at the crease and survived testing opening spells from Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, as well as the threat of Nathan Lyon.
 
Australia made early inroads into England’s top order as Rory Burns edged a back-of-a-length ball from Hazlewood to slip before Cummins bowled Jason Roy with a superb delivery that clipped the top of off stump.
 
After several plays and misses early on, Denly supported his skipper in fine fashion and reached his second Test fifty with a single off Lyon. He was dismissed soon after, however, as Hazlewood’s sharp bouncer was gloved behind.
 
Root, who had been dismissed for a duck in his previous two innings, continued on, reaching his second half-century of the series from 120 balls. He and new partner Ben Stokes, who finished on two from 50 balls, battled through the last hour to see England through to the close with 203 runs still required for victory.
 
Earlier in the day, Australia added 45 runs to their 171-6 to set England a record Ashes chase. Marnus Labuschagne made 80, backing up his first-innings 74, before being run out by Denly. James Pattinson hit 20 to take his partnership with Labuschagne up to 51 but England picked up the last four wickets for 31 runs, an ICC report said.
 
Stokes continued on from his tireless spell yesterday evening and found some reward, ending with 3-56 from his 24.2 overs, while Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad picked up two wickets apiece.
 
With sunshine predicted for the next two days, the pitch flattening out, and plenty of batting still to come, England will fancy their chances of continuing their much-improved second-innings display after being bowled out for just 67 on day two.
 
Despite Root and Denly’s efforts, Australia remained consistent with their line and lengths, with Hazlewood particularly impressive.
 
The second new ball is due eight overs into the next day and a stubborn effort from Root and Stokes will be required to maintain England’s hopes. Should England chase down the target, it would be seen as one of the great Ashes comebacks.
 
Brief score:

Australia : 179 & 246
England : 67 & 156/3 (UNI)
(Photo: Twitter)