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Wednesday, Dec 01st

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England make slow but steady progress on Day 3 at The Oval

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England were 247-4 at stumps on day three of the fifth and final Ashes Test after a painstakingly slow day of play at The Oval. Chasing Australia’s 492-9 declared and after being 32-0 at stumps, day three produced four wickets for 215 runs with the hosts grinding out the day against some good bowling from the tourists on a flat wicket. Mitchell Starc snared two wickets, while Nathan Lyon and Ryan Harris took one each as all the bowlers toiled.

For England, Joe Root (68) and Kevin Pietersen (50) scored half centuries, though every single batsman got into double figures.

 

Skipper Alastair Cook was the first to go, caught behind for 25, adding just 8 to his overnight score before edging one through to the keeper off Ryan Harris. Root and Jonathan Trott (40) added an even 50 runs for the second wicket before the former fell sweeping Nathan Lyon.

Trott and Pietersen added another 58 for the third wicket before Trott became the first of Mitchell Starc's victims, trapped plumb leg before (despite his decision to review it). Pietersen inside edged one from Starc to get to his 50 before falling to the same bowler in his next over.

England though still have an ace up their sleeve with Ian Bell undefeated at the crease with 29 to his name. Bell has been a thorn in Australia's side all summer, having racked up three hundreds already in the series, and a fourth tomorrow will all but end this match as a contest, especially with the weather expected to be dicey at the weekend.

Mini Scorecard:

Australia 1st Innings 492-9 declared (128.5 overs, 3.81rpo)

S Watson 176 (247) J Anderson 4-95 (29.5)

S Smith 138* (241) G Swann 2-95 (33)

England 1st Innings 247-4 (116 overs, 2.12rpo)

K Pietersen 50 (133) M Starc 2-60 (26)

J Root 68 (184) N Lyon 1-41 (26)