Nathan Lyon dismissed Rory Burns and Joe Root but England were in a strong position at lunch on day three of the final Ashes Test at The Oval.
Lyon removed Burns for 20 to end an opening stand of 54 – the highest of the series – and also accounted for Root (21) to leave England 88-2 at the interval, leading by 157 runs.
The positive Joe Denly, whose wife gave birth to their second child ahead of day two, was unbeaten on 37 as England continued their attempt to salvage a 2-2 draw after the tourists retained the urn at Old Trafford.
Marcus Harris was off the field with seven stitches in his left hand to repair split webbing sustained when he dropped Denly without scoring late on day two and the England batsman inflicted more pain on his fellow opener on a sunny Saturday morning.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 14, 2019
Denly stated his intent by hitting Pat Cummins down the ground for four in the first over of the day and Burns cut Josh Hazlewood to the boundary in a great start for England after they resumed on nine without loss.
Lyon was given the treatment by Denly in the spinner’s opening set of six, the right-hander dispatching him over his head for four with disdain and again using his feet superbly to launch the next delivery for a straight six.
Burns brought up the fifty partnership with a glorious off-drive for four off Peter Siddle, but trudged off on his home ground after chasing a wide ball from Lyon and feathering a catch to Tim Paine.
Both umpires had a word with Matthew Wade after he welcomed Root with some verbals and Denly was on his knees wincing when Cummins struck him on the box.
England were ticking along nicely until Lyon accounted for Root 10 minutes prior to lunch after a change of ends, the captain tamely edging to slip.