England set the stage for a series-levelling victory on day three of the final Ashes test, with new father Joe Denly leading the way with a career-best 94 on Saturday at the Oval.
Denly joined wife Stacy for the birth of their second child after play on Thursday. Betraying no signs of sleeplessness, Denly not only made a strong case for his international career to continue - far from a done deal when he walked to the crease - but also played a decisive role in England's 382-run lead at stumps.
In piling up 313-8 at stumps, Ben Stokes (67) and Jos Buttler (47) with the key supporting roles, the home side made itself heavy favorite to make the series 2-2 at some point over the next two days.
To achieve their goal of a first outright series win in England in 18 years, Australia needs to produce a chase considerably better than the 359 Stokes improbably hunted down at Headingley, though Steve Smith's presence at No. 4 makes just about anything possible.
Smith, who has 751 runs in six innings, refuses to stay out of the game and here claimed four catches at slip including one quite brilliant leaping one-hander late in the day.
But Australia was far from flawless in the field, with captain Tim Paine declining to review sound lbw appeals against Denly on 54 and Buttler on 19 while Stokes survived a couple of tricky chances.
In the Ashes Daily, Australian journalists Geoff Lemon and Adam Collins are following the action all around England and Wales. Their long weekly podcast The Final Word has been going for five years.
Every day, The Final Word will team up with Firstpost to bring you a new episode from wherever Geoff and Adam are on the road. On trains and buses, in pubs, on the street, in parks, on barges floating down rivers, and anywhere else that they might end up.
They are also watching an awful lot of cricket, and can summarise all the matches that you didn’t have time to see, or can bring you into the discussion about the ones you did watch.
So tune in to enjoy the coverage of one of the oldest rivalries in the history of cricket.
With inputs from AP
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India will be travelling to Australia with a jumbo squad comprising 30 playing members across formats considering that the series will be played in a bio-bubble amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stokes, who missed the early part of the tournament to be with his father in New Zealand, said he was relieved to finally come to the party after a sluggish start in the opening role.
Samuels made racial remarks and a derogatory comment about Stokes's wife in an Instagram post that former England captain Michael Vaughan called "appalling".