‘You little pr*ck’: Banter heats up at the Oval
Frustrations surfaced at the Oval with some tense exchanges but both teams were adamant nobody crossed the line. Here are the five things we learned on day three.
TALK'S NOT OVER THE TOP, IT'S JUST TEST CRICKET
England all-rounder Ben Stokes ripped in to David Warner as they went to lunch calling the Aussies a "little pr*ck" and warning him not to repeat something he said on-field, which may have had to do with Stokes' incident in Bristol.
It came after a feisty first session in which Matthew Wade was spoken to by the umpires on two occasions as he interacted with England captain Joe Root. It made for what seemed a tense day but Aussie captain Tim Paine shut that down.
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"They are grown men having a conversation, no-one is swearing, no-one is abusing anyone," he said.
"It's Test match cricket and I don't understand why so much is made of something so little."
England's Joe Denly said he didn't hear talk of Bristol to Stokes during their 127-run stand and the chat was "niggle but nothing over the line, just a bit of friendly banter."
SMITH IS PRETTY GOOD AT CATCHING
The former Australian captain may have been unhappy that Bairstow didn't trust him taking the ball low down as he did, but maybe that's because it was indeed a tough one not many other would have caught.
But Smith bettered that effort with just 20 minutes left in the day when he dived to his right and stuck out one hand, while completely in the air, to dismiss Chris Woakes.
It was Smith's fourth catch of the innings, and sixth of the game, coming off three in the third Test in Manchester, so nine in two games, a fairly handy return.
BUT, THE MISSED ONES WERE STILL COSTLY
Australia dropped five catches through England's two innings, including putting Joe Root down three times as he made a first innings 57. But the more costly ones came when Australia was trying to get back in the game.
Joe Denly was dropped when he was on zero, by Marcus Harris, and then Ben Stokes was seven when Steve Smith put down a sharp chance off Nathan Lyon's bowling.
Denly went on to make 94, Stokes made 67, so the combined effect of those two catches was 154 runs on to England's score, and their lead, which by the end of the day put an Australian win in the unlikely category.
NATHAN LYON IS PRETTY GUTSY
Since the Aussie spinner's match-winning six-wicket effort in the first Test at Edgbaston, it's been hard going for Nathan Lyon. He's always been able to chip in with wickets here and there, and, as always, he's bowled more overs than everyone else too.
In the fourth Test at Old Trafford he powered through 67 overs despite badly cutting his spinning finger, which he likened to a "singer losing his voice".
But there he was at The Oval, taking the first three wickets of the England innings, giving him 19 for the series, including a stunning ball to remove Ben Stokes, bowling 22 overs to help the tired fast bowlers and to keep his team's dwindling hopes alive.
ATTACKING IS THE ONLY WAY
The concession from the fast bowlers is that they are getting next to no help from the wicket at The Oval, and the bashing of boundaries by England's batsmen is proof positive of that. Day three was certainly the best for batting, and against tired fast bowlers, they scored 166 via 40 fours and sixes, more than half all their runs.
England's bowlers have had a rest, but Stuart Broad wasn't great in the first innings and has played all five games.
The Aussies took Chris Woakes for five runs an over in the first innings two. There's not much for the Australians to lose, and too many overs to bat out, so you'd hope they have a go.