Root digs in, carries English hopes of keeping Ashes alive

England's Jason Roy walks from he pitch after being bowled for 8 by Australia's Pat Cummins on the third day of the 3rd Ashes Test cricket match between England and Australia at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
England bowler Jofra Archer gestures during play on day three of the third Ashes Test cricket match between England and Australia at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Australia's James Pattinson reacts after a missed opportunity against England's Joe Root on the third day of the 3rd Ashes Test cricket match between England and Australia at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Australia's Marnus Labuschagne bowls on the third day of the 3rd Ashes Test cricket match between England and Australia at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
England's Joe Root walks from the pitch on the third day of the 3rd Ashes Test cricket match between England and Australia at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Australia's Marnus Labuschagne avoids a bouncer while batting during play on day three of the third Ashes Test cricket match between England and Australia at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Australia's Pat Cummins, centre left, celebrates with teammates after bowling England's Jason Roy for 8 on the third day of the 3rd Ashes Test cricket match between England and Australia at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds, England, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

LEEDS, England — Captain Joe Root carried England's hopes of keeping the Ashes alive on Saturday, digging deep in pursuit of a record fourth-innings chase on Day 3 of the third test against Australia at Headingley.

Australia set a tough victory target of 359 — 27 runs more than any England side has managed — and reduced the hosts to 15-2, seemingly reopening the fault lines that saw the home team skittled out for a paltry 67 on Friday.

Root showed steel, determination and leadership that has been lacking in England's batsmen by sharing a third-wicket stand of 126 with Joe Denly (50) and reaching stumps unbeaten on 75.

England was 156-3, still needing 203 more runs to win.

Australia leads the five-match series 1-0 and will retain the Ashes if it goes 2-0 ahead with two tests remaining.

"We believe," Denly said. "If we get one or two more partnerships tomorrow, we're in with a real shout.

"I rate our chances very highly. There are not too many demons in the pitch. Their bowlers are going to get tired. The new ball will be tricky but a few of our batters are due some runs."

Root arrived at the crease having failed to score in each of his last two innings — a golden duck in the drawn second test at Lord's was followed by a second-ball nought in the first innings in Leeds — but he channeled the old-fashioned virtues that his side have frequently neglected to hold firm for five hours and 189 deliveries.

His main foil was Denly, who survived an uncomfortable start to his innings to make a half-century.

Root will begin Day 4 alongside his deputy, Ben Stokes, who was on 2.

England's highest chase of 332-7 dates back to 1928 but Leeds has more recent history for fourth-innings drama. The West Indies hunted down 322 in 2017 and Mark Butcher led the hosts to a victory target of 315 in the 2001 Ashes.

Earlier, David Warner took his fifth catch of the match to remove Rory Burns for 7 off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood. Jason Roy was then bowled by Pat Cummins for 8, the latest failure for a batsman whose place as opener is now under threat.

Australia resumed its second innings Saturday on 171-6 and was bowled out for 246.

Marnus Labuschagne, again starring in a stand-in role for the concussed Steve Smith, made 80 — one run off his highest test score — before being run out.

Jofra Archer, who took 6-45 in the first innings, claimed two of the final four wickets to end with 2-40, while Stokes had 3-56.

"The wicket has flattened out a bit, we have the new ball due in eight overs which is good for us," Labuschagne said. "We have got to stick to our process, shut that scoreboard down and challenge both edges of the bat, ball in, ball out.

"If we do that, I've no doubt we will win the match."

___

More AP cricket: www.apnews.com/Cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Must Read

TV executive predicts 500-show bubble destined to deflate

Aug 9, 2016

Television viewers know there's a mind-boggling array of shows to attempt to watch, but FX Networks chief executive John Landgraf predicts that change is coming

Florida officials go into damage-control mode over Zika

Aug 6, 2016

Worried about Florida's all-important tourism industry, state officials are going into damage-control mode over Zika

Trump ignites new firestorm: Gun backers might stop Clinton

Aug 10, 2016

Donald Trump sets off a fresh political firestorm by suggesting gun rights supporters might find a way to stop Hillary Clinton if she's elected and nominates anti-gun Supreme Court justices

People also read these

Hearing on Johnny Depp domestic violence allegations delayed

Aug 9, 2016

A judge is briefly delaying a restraining order hearing involving Johnny Depp and his estranged wife because it is expected to span several days; depositions of both actors set

Rio authorities step up security after bus windows shattered

Aug 10, 2016

Military police in Rio de Janeiro are stepping up security at the Olympics after a bus carrying journalists had two of its windows shattered by a projectile and a bullet flew into the stables of the equestrian venue

Beyond 'Obamacare': State initiatives refocus health debate

Aug 9, 2016

Political activists are looking to state ballot questions to move beyond "Obamacare" and refocus the nation's long-running debate over government's role in health care

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH