England fight, but Aus on top

Last Updated 15 January 2020, 09:12 IST

Captain Joe Root’s defiance gave England hope of saving the Ashes series as his unbeaten 75 helped the hosts to 156/3 in their second innings on day three of the third Test at Headingley.

Australia sensed victory was in sight inside three days having set England a daunting 359 runs to win after they -- 1-0 up in the five-match series and needing only one win to retain the urn -- were all out for 246 in their second innings.

That meant England were set a target of 359, if reached, would be the second-highest run chase in Test cricket at Headingley, and two quick wickets put the hosts in trouble at 15/2.

At tea, England made steady progress to reach 90/2 with skipper Root and Joe Denly settling down. Out to avoid a third successive duck, however, Root dug in, putting on a vital 126 for the third wicket with Denly (50), and the skipper was unbeaten alongside Ben Stokes (two not out) at the close with England needing 203 more runs for victory.

Australia would retain the Ashes with a win as England can only draw the series.

Earlier, Labuschagne top-scored with 80 in Australia’s second-innings of 246.

It was his third successive fifty since being drafted in as world cricket’s inaugural concussion substitute in place of Steve Smith during the second Test at Lord’s.

Elite club

Labuschagne became just the fifth batsman and fourth Australian -- a list that includes head coach Justin Langer -- in Test history to make two scores in a match higher than a total posted by an opposing team in one innings. Australia resumed on 171/6, already 283 runs ahead, with Labuschagne 53 not out. Labuschagne drove Stuart Broad for a four to 60 only to be dropped next ball when Jonny Bairstow dropped a chance heading towards Root at first slip.

(Published 24 August 2019, 19:17 IST)

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