England take commanding lead in Ashes Test against Australia even as Joe Denly misses out on maiden century by 6 runs

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England on Saturday took a big lead over Australia in the final Ashes Test being played at the Oval cricket ground in London. At the end of the third day’s play, the hosts had a lead of 382 runs with two wickets remaining.

Ashes Test
Photo: BBC

England batsmen look aggressive in their second innings with Joe Denly and Ben Stokes scoring fifties. While Stokes was out for 67, Denly was unlucky to not have completed his maiden century as he fell for 94. Together with Stokes, Denly added 127 runs for the third wicket. Jos Buttler too made a quickfire 47, which contributed significantly in England’s total of 313-8.

Denly said that he was disappointed to not have scored his maiden century but he was pleased to take England in a commanding position against Australia. “But we’re in a great position going into day four and that’s the main thing. I wasn’t thinking about my place on the winter tours, I was just trying to occupy the crease and if I did that scoring opportunities would come.”

Nathan Lyon was the pick of the Australian bowlers taking 3-65.

A win at the Oval will be hugely morale-boosting for the hosts since this will help them avoid their first series defeat since 2014 and first to Australia in 18 years.

Talking about Denly’s batting, former England captain Michael Vaughan said that the Kent man had proven him wrong with his performance. “I wrote Joe Denly off, many did. But I like players that have that inner strength to prove people wrong. He got dropped on nought last night and he must’ve been thinking he had to make it count. He played so well. He kept his hands a bit closer to him and when there are quality bowlers and a bit of movement, if you play with hands away from your body, you’re going to get found out,” Vaughan told BBC.

With the Oval pitch deteriorating, Australia will find it difficult to chase anything over 400 with two days still to go in the ongoing Test.

Scores in brief

England 294 & 313-8: Denly 94, Stokes 67, Lyon 3-65
Australia 225: Smith 80, Archer 6-62
England lead by 382 runs

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