Australian consolation hopes being ground out by patient England

It’s 1/16 that the final Test of the Ashes series ends in a draw as the third day at the Oval saw another attritional fight between England and Australia.

Alistair Cook’s side finished the day on 247-4, trailing the tourists by 245 with two more full innings to come. Ian Bell (29no) and debutant Chris Woakes (15no) will resume at the crease tomorrow as four wickets fell in a day that many fans could be forgiven for forgetting.

Cook was the first victim early in the day as Michael Clarke’s go-to man Ryan Harris continued to bolster his reputation on these shores. England had only added four runs to yesterday’s total at that point, but Jonathan Trott steadied the ship, accompanying Joe Root to his half-century.

Trott and Root added another 50 runs before the latter was dismissed by Nathan Lyon, caught by Shane Watson, a dismissal that the young Yorkshireman would have been very disappointed with.

With a slow flat pitch on their side England never looked like collapsing, however, run scoring did not come easy to Kevin Pieterson or Trott, who both gave the impression throughout that patience was very much the order of the day.

Trott was sent back to the pavilion after being trapped lbw by Mitchell Starc when building a typical innings of 40 from 134 balls but at no point was there a sense of panic in the England dressing room as the star of the series Ian Bell crossed the boundary.

Pieterson took over three hours to reach his fifty and after establishing himself in the middle would have been furious when being caught chasing a wide delivery from Starc.

This left the Warwickshire pair of Bell and Woakes to fight out the rest of the day, one which didn’t favour either side’s chances of winning the last Test of the Ashes summer.

Andy Flower will have been much the happier of the two coaches though as despite his team being 50/1 to win they have reduced Darren Lehman’s odds of a consolation victory to 7/1.

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