England vs Australia: Day three of the fifth Ashes Test in a nutshell
Last Updated: 15/09/19 2:34pm
England build a commanding lead, Joe Denly falls agonisingly short of a maiden Test hundred but Jonny Bairstow's struggles continue. Here are the best bits from the Oval...
A dominant England are closing in on a win in the fifth and final Ashes Test as they look to tie the series 2-2, ending day three at The Oval 382 ahead of Australia, writes David Currie.
Joe Denly did his hopes of securing a spot on England's winter tours no harm, top-scoring with 94, though he fell six agonising runs short of a maiden Test century as he edged Peter Siddle to slip in the final session.
He and Ben Stokes (67) had helped build the home side's commanding lead with a 127-run stand for the third wicket, while Jos Buttler had some fun later in the day, as he biffed 47 off 63 balls, England closing on 313-8 in their second innings.
Stats of the Day
Moment of the Day
It has been a Test match to remember for Denly with the birth of his second child overnight between day one and two and for a while on day three it looked as if he would top it off with a maiden Test century. It took a cracker from Siddle to deny him, nipping the ball away off the seam to take the edge which was gobbled up by Steve Smith.
Despite the disappointment of missing out on a hundred, walking off to a standing ovation in an Ashes Test at The Oval is a moment Denly can cherish. It might not quite match the send off Alastair Cook received on the same ground last year but if it does prove to be Denly's last knock in a home Test, it is not a bad way to go out.
Of course, having scored 94 in his last innings of the Test summer, Denly has, at the very least, kept himself in the conversation ahead of the winter tours to New Zealand and South Africa. At 33, it might be that Denly is considered too short-term an option for England as they plan for an expected shake-up of the top order over the next few months but the Kent man did just about everything he could in the second innings at The Oval to possibly earn himself another chance.
Among all the talk of England's batting issues this summer, it has gone somewhat under the radar that Jonny Bairstow has made just one Test fifty in his last 14 innings. The focus has been on the struggles of Jason Roy, Buttler and Denly. However, Roy has been dropped and both Denly and Buttler have made runs at The Oval, so is the pressure now on Bairstow?
The first thing to say is that Bairstow has plenty of credit in the bank, six Test hundreds and plenty more valuable knocks in his 69 Tests, not to mention his work behind the stumps, which has improved no end in recent years. But at some point the credit will run out.
He has made it clear he wants to keep hold of the gloves but since taking them back from Ben Foakes during the tour of the West Indies, he has scored just one-half century and only reached 30 twice. Bairstow will certainly be given a chance to rediscover his form over the winter but with Buttler ending the summer well and Foakes widely considered the best gloveman of the trio, if the runs do not start to flow then the Yorkshireman could find it is not just the gloves he might lose but his place in the XI, too.
Tweets of the Day
What they said
Joe Denly: "Against this attack it is always a battle and you have to work hard for every single run," he said. "I am disappointed not to reach the milestone but we are in a good position going into day four and that is the most important thing."
Shane Warne on Denly: "I thought he left the ball a lot better in this innings and I love the way he plays the spinners. He sweeps well and uses his feet well. Any player who can do both of those things is hard to bowl to. He summed up the match situation well. He'll find the next series that he plays a lot easier than this one!"
Mike Atherton: "England are in a very strong position and will fancy their chances of winning this game and drawing the series. For Australia to chase anything around 400 you would think they would need another huge innings from Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne is another man in form and David Warner has got to find some form."
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