Joe Root looked comfortable in his brief stay at the crease before falling to the short ball from Mitchell Johnson © Getty Images
Joe Root looked comfortable in his brief stay at the crease before falling to the short ball from Mitchell Johnson © Getty Images

England continued to face stern tests from Australia’s bowling attack, but mounted an iffy but more effective resistance led by Alastair Cook, to be led to 100 for 2 in the at Tea on the third afternoon on a hot day at The Oval. Cook played accurate, potent bowling on its merit, to score his second half-century of the series. After a second wicket partnership of 43 runs, in which Cook was the more aggressive batsman, his partner Ian Bell edged Mitchell Marsh to the slips to have Australia losing their second wicket for 62. Joe Root and Cook, for the third wicket, looked comfortable in their short but significant alliance of 11.2 overs for 37 runs, before Root deposited a hook straight down Mitchell Starc’s throat at the fine-leg boundary. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: England vs Australia, 5th Test, The Oval, Day 3

Cook scored his second half-century of the series, and the 44th of his career, in a typically watchful manner, having consumed 132 balls for his 54. The approach of safety is illustrated by the fact that no runs has been scored in the arc between mid-off and mid-on. Cook has played cuts, dabs, and square drives for fours, interspersed in his customary job of leaving deliveries. His penchant for pouncing on the cut as prompted a fielder to be stationed permanently to him. Australia also attempted to frustrate him by positioning the short cover and feeding him balls to hit in the direction.  LIVE CRICKET UPDATES: England vs Australia, 5th Test, The Oval, Day 3

Jonny Bairstow, the No. 5, has looked scratchy in the middle, but amid his jittery moments, he has scored four boundaries, all off Mitchell Johnson: the fast bowler has given away 46 runs in his 10 overs.

Brief scores:

England (f/o) 123 for 3 (Alastair Cook 54*, Johnny Bairstow 20*; Peter Siddle 1 for 7) and 149 (Moeen Ali 30, Mark Wood 24, Alastair Cook 22; Mitchell Johnson 3 for 21, Mitchell Marsh 3 for 30, Peter Siddle 2 for 32, Nathan Lyon 2 for 40) trail Australia 481 ((David Warner 85, Steven Smith 143, Adam Voges 43, Mitchell Starc 58; Steven Finn 3 for 90, Moeen Ali 3 for 102) by 209 runs

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