England 97-1, trails Australia by 395 runs
LONDON (AP) — Joe Root passed his half-century just before lunch as England reached 97-1 on day three of the fifth Ashes test against Australia, leaving the hosts trailing by 395 runs at The Oval on Friday.
Resuming on 32-0, England lost captain Alastair Cook for 25 when he was tempted by a delivery well outside off stump by Ryan Harris and nicked the ball to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
However, Root was unbeaten on 52 after a measured innings of 146 balls with eight fours, and Jonathan Trott was 9 not out after a morning session when batting conditions were excellent.
The English have already won the five-match series, which they lead 3-0.
For an hour, Australia struggled to make any headway and squandered a referral on an lbw shout against Cook from a Harris delivery that pitched outside leg stump.
Paceman Mitchell Starc was particularly wayward, bowling one delivery so wide that it eluded first slip on its way to the boundary.
However, the breakthrough came when Cook fell to the third ball after the drinks break, caught behind pushing at a delivery he could easily have left.
That ended England’s best opening stand of the series at 68 but the hosts were otherwise untroubled and Root reached his fifty when he pulled Peter Siddle to square leg for a single in the penultimate over of the session.
After rain delayed play by 2 1/2 hours on Thursday, 98 overs were scheduled for Friday.