Joe Root (Image: PTI)
Captain Joe Root and Joe Denly fought back denying Australia and keeping England's hopes alive in the third Test at Headingley on Saturday.
England were 15-2 in their second innings as Australia took out the openers for no runs in four balls chasing a target of 369. It looked like another dramatic collapse was on the cards following the their woeful 67 -- their lowest Ashes total since 1948 -- in the first innings.
However, Joe Root and Joe Denly dug in and put on 126 for the third wicket. Denly fell just after completing his half-century.
Root and Ben Stokes kept Australia from making further inroads taking England to 156 for 3 when stumps were drawn on Saturday. Root, in on a pair, was 75 not out while Stokes was batting on 2.
England still need a further 203 runs to reach an unlikely target of 359. A win here will see Australia retain the Ashes at 2-0 up with two to play in a five-match series.
Surrey openers Rory Burns and Jason Roy both fell cheaply shortly after lunch. Left-hander Burns (7) edged a lifting Pat Cummins delivery to David Warner at first slip before Roy, yet to convince as a Test match opener, played down the wrong line to Josh Hazlewood, who took 5-30 in the first innings, and was bowled.
Root, in on a pair, got off the mark with a three off fast bowler Hazlewood to the delight of his home Yorkshire fans in a capacity, sun-drenched crowd.
Denly, the only England batsman to reach double figures in the first innings with 12, repeatedly played and missed either side of being hit on the head by a Cummins bouncer.
But both he and Root applied themselves on an increasingly slow pitch that was making life tough for Australia's pace attack.
The odds were still hugely in Australia's favour, given only three sides have made more than 300 to win in the fourth innings of a Test at Headingley -- Australia (404-3 in 1948), England (315-4 against Australia, 2001) and the West Indies with 322-5 two years ago.
Earlier, Marnus Labuschagne missed out on a maiden Test hundred as he top-scored with 80 in Australia's second-innings 246.
It was his third successive fifty since becoming world cricket's inaugural concussion substitute in place of star batsman Steve Smith during the drawn second Test at Lord's.
(With PTI Inputs)