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Man of the day

Some flashy stroke-making meant Joe Root stood out from the crowd on day three

England must dig deep

Joe Root: provided some entertainment on a dull day

A dead rubber and a flat, lifeless pitch at the Oval has led to an anti-climactic feel to the final Ashes Test.

However, Yorkshireman Joe Root did his best to entertain the capacity crowd in South London with an innings of 68, of which 44 came in boundaries.

His magnificent 180 at Lord's aside, Root - like opening partner Alastair Cook - has not found batting easy, with four single-figure innings to his name.

However, on a wicket providing little incentive for the seamers except for when the new ball is still hard, and no reason to press the action, Root put a third Test half-century in the bag with few worries.

Root's innings was punctuated with textbook drives and punches through the off side while he also tucked away anything that strayed onto the stumps.

He got stuck on 41 for 19 deliveries but after a dashed single was quickly back into the flow by striking Peter Siddle to the leg-side boundary.

It looked for all the world as though he would make it to a second century of the series but a botched sweep of Nathan Lyon dropped straight into the hands of Shane Watson.

The knock, which nonetheless spanned 184 balls, was in stark contrast to those of Jonathan Trott and even Kevin Pietersen, who were more content to occupy the crease than provide value for money for the paying customers.