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England inch forward on slow day
England continued to frustrate Australia on the third day of the final Investec Ashes Test at the Kia Oval, reaching tea on 181 for three having lost both of their openers either side of lunch.
Leading 3-0 in the series and the Ashes already wrapped up, England seemed happy to meander along as they tried to build a measured response to Australia's first innings total of 492 for nine declared.
On a dead pitch and with the hosts not looking to take any risks, captain Alastair Cook fell short of a major score once again after falling for 25 midway through the first session, while Joe Root hung around for longer but was dismissed after lunch for 68.
Jonathan Trott was the third victim, being trapped lbw off the bowling of Mitchell Starc shortly before tea.
Resuming on 32 without loss, Cook and Root took the score to 68 before the dogged Ryan Harris drew first blood, pushing one across the left-hander and finding the outside edge.
Although Cook was gone without making a telling contribution, England's opening pair had at least passed 50 runs as a partnership for the first time.
Root was managing to keep the score ticking along with semi-regular boundaries and brought up his half-century before lunch.
But it was slow going in terms of both run scoring and wicket chances until Root attempted to sweep Nathan Lyon and instead got a top edge that was easily caught by Shane Watson at short long leg.
Trott had made slow progress, scoring runs off just eight balls between the start of the second session and the drinks break.
He was joined after Root's dismissal by Kevin Pietersen, who had been presented with a silver bat by ECB chairman Giles Clarke at lunch to celebrate him becoming England's top run scorer in all formats.
But even the talismanic number four could not stir the match from the slumber in to which it had fallen and he almost lost his wicket early on, surviving after he edged a chance that dropped just wide of the diving Steve Smith.
The gradual nature of England's innings was summed up by the fact that it took them just over five hours to reach 150 and their next wicket fell 26 runs later.
Starc struck with the very first delivery after Australia took the new ball, trapping Trott lbw with umpire Aleem Dar's decision upheld following an England review.