|Men’s Ashes: Third Specsavers Test, Headingley (day three of five)|
|Australia 179 (Labuschagne 74, Archer 6-45) & 246 (Laubuschagne 80)|
|England 67 (Hazlewood 5-30) & 156-3 (Root 75*, Denly 50)|
|England need further 203 to win|
England are “in with a real shout” of completing their highest fourth-innings chase and beating Australia to level the Ashes, says batsman Joe Denly.
Needing 359 to win and keep their Ashes hopes alive, the hosts reached 156-3 at the close of day three at Headingley.
Denly made a resolute 50 while captain Joe Root’s unbeaten 75 leaves England requiring a further 203 to win the third Test with seven wickets left.
“I rate our chances very highly,” said Denly.
“There are not too many demons in the pitch – we are in a very good position.
“There is a lot of belief in that changing room and excitement going into tomorrow.”
England began the day with their hopes of winning the Ashes seemingly all but over after they were bowled out for 67 on day two.
In the morning session Australia reached 246 all out, meaning England would have to better their record chase of 332 against Australia in 1928.
They were reduced to 15-2 but Root and Denly batted with far greater patience than on the previous day and repelled the Australia attack for 53 overs in a partnership of 126 on a sunny day in Leeds.
Denly was caught behind off Josh Hazlewood late in the day but a determined Ben Stokes reached the close on two not out from 50 deliveries.
“We were disappointed with the 67 and it was not good enough but it’s about showing character and fight in this second innings,” Denly said.
“We believe. If we get one or two more partnerships tomorrow, we’re in with a real shout.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan said he still expects the hosts’ first innings will “cost them” and questioned why their batman cannot show the discipline shown on day three more often.
“For the most part England had the bit between their teeth” he added.
“It needs hard work – you cannot just rock up and play this Australia attack. You’ve got to put the hard yards in and England did that today.”
Batsman Marnus Labuschagne said he has “no doubt” Australia, who lead the five-match series 1-0, will win if they bowl in a similar fashion on Sunday.
“The wicket has flattened out a bit, we have the new ball due in eight overs which is good for us,” he said.
“We have got to stick to our process, shut that scoreboard down and challenge both edges of the bat ball in, ball out.”