Joe Denly rates England’s chances of pulling off what would be one of the great Ashes victories to level the series “very highly” after he and Joe Root frustrated Australia on day three at Headingley.

England were set 359 to win the third Test when Australia were bowled out for 246 in the morning session on a glorious Saturday in Leeds, the in-form Marcus Labuschagne top scoring with 80.

The tourists rolled England over for an abysmal 67 on day two, but the under-pressure Denly (50) and captain Root (75 not out) showed the application that had been lacking on Friday with a third-wicket stand of 126.

Root’s side were 154-3 at stumps after Josh Hazlewood (2-35) removed Denly, needing another 203 to have any chance of regaining the urn.

Australia remain strong favourites to go 2-0 up, but Denly thinks England can pull off an unlikely win.

“We were disappointed with the 67 and it wasn’t good enough but it’s about showing character and fight in this second innings. We believe. If we get one or two more partnerships tomorrow, we’re in with a real shout.” He told Test Match Special.

“County cricket does a little bit to prepare you for this, though. Australia’s attack has three world-class seamers and a world-class spinner as well. You have to be up for it all the time.

“If you let up, you lose your wicket. I wasn’t expecting that bumper from Hazlewood and it shows you have to be ready at all times.

“When you are up against an attack like that and they get momentum they take the opportunity. We needed more fight and character but we can’t dwell on that. We’ve got to look forward to tomorrow.

“I rate our chances very highly, there are not too many demons in the pitch. Their bowlers are going to get tired. The new ball will be tricky but a few of our batters are due some runs. Hopefully we can start well tomorrow and get in a great position.”