Australia required eight further wickets to retain the Ashes as England finally showed some resistance through Joe Root and Joe Denly at Headingley.

Chasing a target of 359 – which would be the highest successful Test chase for England – the hosts went some way to making amends for their first-innings debacle by taking tea on 90-2.

Root, whose role as captain will be questioned should Australia emerge victorious, had made 41 having been out for first-ball and second-ball ducks in his previous two innings.

Denly, England’s top scorer in their paltry 67 first time around with 12, survived three wafts outside off stump and being struck flush on the helmet by a Pat Cummins bouncer to reach 30 having made an unbroken 75 with Root for the third wicket in a partnership that had already lasted longer than England’s entire first innings.

There was a sense of deja vu when Rory Burns (7) edged to first slip David Warner off Josh Hazlewood – the fielder having taken four catches in the first innings when the bowler returned 5-30.

England were then 15-2 when a rotten series from Jason Roy (8) continued, though he could at least point to a jaffa from Cummins that straightened and clipped off to leave the opener with an Ashes average of 9.50.

But Root and Denly finally restored some pride, even if a slice of history still appeared too distant with 269 more needed.