England levelled the Women’s Ashes series with a thrilling two-wicket win over Australia in their opening ODI at Bristol.

The multi-format series now stands at six points apiece with remaining ODI matches at Southampton and Taunton to play.

Australia need to win only one of those games to retain the Ashes, but the momentum is very much with England after three successive victories.

Back-to-back T20 wins had revitalised England but crossing this particular line against opponents who had won 41 of their last 42 ODI matches will generate huge belief that they can upset the odds.

Australia’s 263 for eight was overhauled with 11 balls to spare, thanks largely to captain Heather Knight’s unbeaten 75 from 86 balls and a brilliant late cameo from Kate Cross, and their fate would have been worse had England not dropped four catches and shelled a stumping opportunity.

Six England bowlers shared the wickets as bowlers as Beth Mooney, reprieved on 19 and 39, top scored with an unbeaten 81.

England were always ahead of the required rate after Tammy Beaumont and Alice Capsey brought up a rapid hundred in the 12th over, but Australia’s ability to take wickets at regular intervals left the contest in the balance.

Australia chose to bat as morning showers and overcast conditions gave way to blue skies but captain Alyssa Healy – who made 170 against England at the 2022 World Cup final – fell third ball after opening up with two boundaries.

Cross’ lbw review was upheld and England rejoiced knowing a major blow had been struck.

England should have built on that but Ellyse Perry was dropped on six driving Cross to Sophie Ecclestone at first slip, an initial sign that Australia would ride their luck.

Perry and Phoebe Litchfield were quick to punish anything pitched short as Australia reached 62 for one off 10 powerplay overs.

Litchfield – 36 from 34 balls – saw her innings end in spectacular style as she targeted a seventh boundary off the bowling of Nat Sciver-Brunt.

The ball looked as if would clear Ecclestone but the spinner thrust out a left hand above her head and celebrated the dismissal by putting a hand over her mouth in amazement.

Perry survived again on 36 attempting to hit Ecclestone over the top and Sarah Glenn spilled a presentable chance at mid-on.

But Perry did not have a third life on 41 as Glenn the bowler atoned and Sciver-Brunt accepted the chance at short mid-wicket.

England were left to rue careless hands again as Tahlia McGrath flashed Cross hard to point and Beaumont failed to hold on diving to her left.

Mooney was also fortunate as she miscued a Glenn full toss and Cross put it down diving forward at mid-off. Those errors ended up costing England 79 runs.

McGrath, dropped on seven, reached 24 before Capsey beat her defensive prod for a first ODI wicket and Mooney breathed again after striding down the pitch to Ecclestone only for Amy Jones to miss a stumping wide down the legside.

Australia’s progress was slowed by losing two wickets in the space of three Lauren Bell deliveries.

Ashleigh Gardner departed to an excellent Sciver-Brunt catch over her shoulder running towards the mid-wicket boundary, while Annabel Sutherland lost her off stump for nought as Australia slipped to 185 for six.

But Mooney and Jess Jonassen prevented a late-innings collapse by sharing a seventh-wicket partnership of 55 as England were set a challenging target on a slow surface.

England’s reply was aided by wayward bowling which saw the amount of extras in the first three overs exceed the entire number of the Australia innings.

Darcie Brown and Perry sent down two no-balls and 10 wides as England sped away, despite the early departure of Sophia Dunkley for eight.

Beaumont and Capsey went on the offensive to such an extent that 84 runs came from the opening 10-over powerplay.

Three figures were brought up by Beaumont smashing Sutherland for a six over long-off, but she soon holed out after making 47 from 42 balls.

Capsey contributed 40 from 34 before picking out Sutherland on the long-on boundary off Gardner and it was often a case of poor shot judgement as Australia profited and piled on the pressure.

Sciver-Brunt (31) top edged a reverse sweep off Jonassen, Danni Wyatt (14) drove Megan Schutt to backward point and Amy Jones gave Georgia Wareham a return catch.

England’s self-destruct button was pressed again as Ecclestone found Wareham on the boundary and Gardner claimed a third victim as Glenn drove straight to Litchfield at short cover.

But Cross made a superb 19 not out from 20 balls, including an audacious ramp shot as she provided the cameo Knight craved to get England home.

Jordan Nobbs admits it is an “unbelievable feeling” to be part of England’s World Cup squad this summer after the setbacks she has suffered in the past.

Nobbs, 30, went to the 2015 tournament in Canada but was restricted to just one appearance by a hamstring issue, then missed out on selection for the 2019 edition in France and the Euros that the Lionesses won on home soil last summer following knee injuries.

A year on from that latest disappointment, there was joy for Nobbs as she was included in England boss Sarina Wiegman’s 23 for the forthcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, at the end of a season that saw her make a January move from Arsenal to Aston Villa.

And the 71-cap midfielder said: “I think I’m still waking up now with that butterfly feeling.

“Everyone dreams of playing in major tournaments, and everyone knows the journey I’ve been on, so to be part of this one and such a talented squad, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”

Nobbs had been with Arsenal since 2010, and she said of her departure: “It was a risk to a certain extent but also with the limited game time I was getting, it was kind of like I had nothing to lose as well.

“Naturally, there were a lot of tears and it was difficult to leave a club that I loved and owe a lot to, but when it comes to wanting to drive for another major tournament, I think I had to do everything possible, and as long as I knew I tried my best, I’d have been comfortable with whatever outcome came from that.”

She went on to make 11 WSL starts for Villa, scoring four goals, as they achieved a fifth-placed finish in the division, and she added: “I think I knew with regular game time I can get back to my best.

“I think Carla (Ward, the Villa manager) just gave me that confidence to go again and allow myself to be in the position I am now. She gave me a bit of love, and game time. Sometimes, it’s the small things that allow you to shine on the pitch.”

While things have come together on this occasion for Nobbs, there has been disappointment for the likes of England captain Leah Williamson and Euro 2022 Golden Boot winner Beth Mead, two of her former Arsenal team-mates who will miss this tournament after sustaining ACL injuries. Fran Kirby has been ruled out due to a knee issue as well.

Nobbs, whose injury prior to the 2019 World Cup was ACL damage, said: “I dropped them a message. But I think when you’ve been through that before, you know how many messages you get.

“So it’s just letting them know you’re there if they need you, but also they all need to take different journeys and roads to deal with the situation and come through that. Naturally, we’re all gutted for them.

“It’s like learning to walk again when you have that kind of injury. It’s a lot of sitting in front of the telly with ice on your leg and not really doing much. I think you do go into a place where you kind of self-sabotage and sit and mope around for a bit.

“Then, once you’re up and going again, that goal is just to get back on that pitch. It’s difficult times, but also that feeling of getting back, it’s what you need to do to get back.”

She added: “I think it does just make you resilient – if I look back and think about what I’ve gone through, and I’m still here fighting, you can come through a lot in football. It’s not just me, there’s other players who have had difficult times.

“It’s just that ‘never give up’ attitude really.”

England claimed a dramatic draw in the first Ashes Test against Australia on this day in 2009 after James Anderson and Monty Panesar staged a dogged last-wicket stand in Cardiff.

The tailenders survived the final 69 deliveries in a tense rearguard action at Sophia Gardens to deny the tourists first blood and spark wild celebrations in the stands.

England had resumed on day five at 20 for two, 219 runs behind after Australia had overhauled their first innings total of 435 and established a platform for victory with a mammoth 674 for six declared in which Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting, Marcus North and Brad Haddin had all reached three figures.

The hosts looked to be heading for an innings defeat as Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior went by the time the score had reached 70, although Paul Collingwood’s resolute 74 steadied the ship with support from spinner Graeme Swann, who made 31.

However, the Durham all-rounder’s stubborn resistance ended after a 245-ball, 344-minute stay at the crease when he edged Peter Siddle to Michael Hussey at gully.

England had been reduced to 233 for nine and the writing was on the wall.

As Panesar walked out to join Anderson in the middle with his side still six runs behind, a minimum of 11.3 overs remained and few gave two men hardly renowned for their expertise with the bat any real chance of resisting.

But to huge popular acclaim resist they did, at times uncertain over whether to take runs when they presented themselves, but growing in confidence once successive Anderson boundaries had ensured the Australians would have to bat again.

Anderson ended up finishing unbeaten on 21 while Panesar contributed seven runs to a total of 252 for nine to secure a draw, the significance of which only became apparent as the summer progressed.

England went on to win at Lord’s and the Oval either side of a draw at Edgbaston and an Australian victory at Headingley, taking the series 2-1 and in the process regaining the Ashes they had surrendered so tamely Down Under during the winter of 2006-07.

Chris Woakes admits his triumphant return to Ashes cricket left him “quite emotional” after accepting his time as a Test player might have come to an end.

Woakes stepped up with bat and ball after being thrust into last week’s must-win clash at Headingley, 16 months after he last donned his England whites on the ill-fated tour of the West Indies.

Defeat in Grenada spelled the end of Joe Root’s captaincy and ushered in the ‘Bazball’ era, with Woakes watching on from the outside as English cricket turned a new corner under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes.

Injury saw Woakes miss the entirety of last summer and, although he returned to the limited-overs set-up in time to win the T20 World Cup in November, the 34-year-old was beginning to believe the Test team had left him behind.

Watching the all-rounder take three Australian wickets in each innings in the third Test, then guide his side home with an unbeaten 32, that now seems hard to imagine.

But Woakes, who opted not to put his name forward for this year’s Indian Premier League in a bid to keep his red-ball skills sharp, is honest enough to say he was worried.

“It’s quite emotional actually. You sometimes think the ship has sailed, of course you do,” he said of his match-winning return.

“You do wonder, especially when the team was going so well last summer and I wasn’t involved. It’s hard.

“Obviously I had injuries and stuff, but I made a big decision at the start of summer not to go to India and, you know, it’s days like these which make that sort of decision pay off, comfortably.

“Sometimes you don’t always get the rewards that you deserve, but I felt like I played well in this game and got the rewards I deserve.”

Those rewards included scoring the winning runs, clattering Mitchell Starc through point for a boundary which sent a sold-out crowd wild.

“It literally doesn’t get any better than that, I don’t think,” he reflected.

“The feeling of that roar, the Western Terrace going mad. It’s pretty special, pretty cool. If you could bottle that up forever and come back to it, you would.”

Attention now turns towards Emirates Old Trafford, where England will look to level the series scoreline at 2-2 to set up a decider at the Kia Oval.

The tourists have two chances to become the first Australian men’s side to win an Ashes series on English soil since 2001, but Woakes has warned that the task will not get any easier.

“In our dressing room the belief is we can win 3-2, I think it’s always been there,” he said.

“You don’t want to look too far ahead, you have to play what’s in front of you, each ball, each day, each session, each Test match as it comes. I’d imagine when you’re so close to getting something, the harder it gets, and I’m sure the Aussies will be feeling that now.

“Once you get so close to something, it’s actually hard to get that over the line, isn’t it? We’ve got turn up in Manchester and put in another performance. They’re an extremely good side and we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them again.”

England’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine in September will be played in the Polish city of Wroclaw.

Gareth Southgate’s men have enjoyed a 100 per cent start to European Championship qualification, with four wins from their four Group C matches.

England’s next qualifier is on September 9 away to Ukraine, who have been forced to host matches away from their homeland since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

The Ukrainian Association of Football has confirmed that the match will be held in Poland at the 45,000-capacity Tarczynski Arena in Wroclaw.

They held last year’s Nations League games in Poland – two in Lodz, one in Krakow – and played June’s match at home to Malta in Trnava, Slovakia.

The Austrian cities of Vienna and Klagenfurt had been reportedly considered as host cities for the match against England.

England quick Mark Wood is eager to hit Australia with more “thunderbolts” in Manchester next week and aims to prove “lightning strikes twice” after his Headingley heroics.

Wood marked his return to Ashes cricket with a stirring player-of-the-match showing in Leeds, taking match figures of seven for 100 and hitting 40 vital runs from just 16 deliveries.

His efforts helped change the tone of the series, getting England on the board after back-to-back defeats and leaving the path open for the hosts to reclaim the urn against all odds.

Wood’s raw pace provided an X-factor that had been absent at Edgbaston and Lord’s, with his first ball of the match doubling up as England’s fastest of the summer.

He continued cranking it up in his first red-ball outing for seven months, at one stage reaching 96.5mph during a ferocious opening spell, and Australia’s batting looked entirely less assured due to his mere presence on the park.

Wood revealed his England captain and Durham team-mate Ben Stokes had given him one simple instruction when he let him loose.

“Ben just asked me, ‘Are you ready? Are you ready to bowl some thunderbolts?’ I said yes and that was it,” he said.

“He was ready to unleash me. I know him well and he knows me well. Having that relationship with someone makes it easier.”

Asked if he was ready to dish out more of the same at Emirates Old Trafford next Wednesday, Wood replied with a grin: “Absolutely. Lightning strikes twice, eh?”

Wood is arguably the most consistently fast bowler ever to play for England, a crown he likely lacks only due to the absence of accurate historical data.

But the sheer physical exertion the 33-year-old puts himself through means he has had to endure long spells out of the side.

Since debuting in 2015 he has played just 29 of England’s 109 Tests, missing many of those through injury, yet Wood has set his sights on finishing strongly this summer.

There are just three days between the fourth and fifth games of the series, but, with a week to get himself ready, he fully intends to be on parade for both.

“I did four in Australia last time and three of them were in a row. It’s a big ask, but one I’ve done before and I will lean on that experience to try to do it again,” he said.

“I will speak to the physio, but I imagine I will bowl once or twice, do a couple of gym sessions, maybe some running, but it won’t be too drastic. I have to let the body recover.

“This was my first game in a very, very long time, especially in Test cricket. I will let the body recover, get myself in a good space, let the wounds recover and get myself up for the next one.”

Wood wears his heart on his sleeve on and off the field and could not hide his satisfaction at taking up a starring role midway through a contest that has captured the imagination of the public.

“It fills me with great pride to say I can do well against Australia. It’s challenging because they are a top, top side,” he said.

“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve had. Look at facing Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. One, it’s not easy. Two, it’s really intimidating.

“They’re bowling fast, they get good bounce and more often than not they come out on top. Luckily this time it’s the one out of 100 I’ve managed to get through.

“The 2005 Ashes was the absolute pinnacle for me – I was at a great age, a teenager, and my hometown hero (Steve Harmison) was playing.

“I don’t feel like it’s to that magnitude, but it’s great to have the support, which has been amazing everywhere we’ve been. You feel it on the street walking around, people messaging you. It’s amazing as a nation that we can carry this weight of support with us.”

Harry Brook announced himself on the Ashes stage with a match-winning knock for England that kept the series alive and delivered another memorable Headingley climax.

Brook batted with great maturity as he made a steely 75, taking a decisive chunk out of the 251-run target and set a fire under this summer’s rivalry, leaving Australia 2-1 ahead with two to play.

The Yorkshireman fell with 21 still needed as the third Test descended into nerve-shredding tension, but Mark Wood cut through the anxiety with a feisty 16 not out and Chris Woakes completed a remarkable return to the Test arena by crunching the winning runs towards the delirious Western Terrace to finish unbeaten on 32.

England’s three-wicket win was achieved despite Ben Stokes’ dismissal for just 13, a soft nick down the leg-side robbing the hosts of their inspirational captain and the architect of their 2019 Ashes miracle at the start of the decisive final session.

But in Brook they had a new hero, ready to carry the burden all the way to final furlong before passing it over to Woakes and Wood – making an emphatic first impression on their belated introductions to the series.

England head coach Sarina Wiegman has hailed the Lionesses’ “incredible” World Cup welcome in Australia.

Around 3,000 spectators watched England train during an open session at the Sunshine Coast Stadium in Queensland.

“To see so many fans join us today was incredible,” Wiegman said.

“We have received such a warm welcome from everyone since we arrived, it really feels like a home away from home for us and we are delighted to be here.

“With the brilliant facilities and the excellent climate, we can’t think of anywhere better to get to work and finalise our preparation for the tournament.”

England will step up their World Cup preparations with a behind-closed-doors game against Canada on Friday before travelling to Brisbane three days later, where they face their opening group match against Haiti on July 22.

They will also meet Denmark in Sydney and China in Adelaide during the competition’s group stage.

England need another 224 runs at Headingley to keep the Ashes series alive – and Chris Woakes hopes they can summon the spirit of 2019 to get them over the line on Sunday.

The hosts closed on 27 without loss in pursuit of 251 – a tricky ask as they have to better a first-innings 237 – after Australia were skittled for 224 on a truncated day three of the third Test.

Adding to the tension is the knowledge they will lose the series at the earliest possible opportunity if they fall short in the chase as they currently trail 2-0, although the target is some way below the 359 they were set by Australia four years ago.

On that occasion, England sealed a nerve-shredding one-wicket win to breathe fresh life into their campaign and Woakes recognises there will be similar momentum shifts and anxious spells on Sunday.

“I hope so, because that means we win the Test match,” said Woakes, when asked if they can channel the 2019 win over their arch rivals. “It would be nice to do it a little bit easier this time.

“There’s a full day ahead of us and we know what we’ve got to get. To chalk a few off is really nice and to finish the day none down is a real positive for us.

“We know we can chase scores as a team. It certainly suits us which is a good thing. The scores haven’t been overly high in this game, so you don’t just walk into it thinking it’s going to be a doddle.

“Naturally in a run chase there’s always nerves. But they are good nerves. The thought of winning the Test, chasing down a score and keeping yourself in the series. It’s more excitement than nerves.”

Woakes and Stuart Broad finished with three wickets apiece on Saturday, while Australia added 108 to their total in just 20.1 overs, largely due to Travis Head’s fine 77, which included three sixes.

There are certain to be some nerves on Sunday, but the total England have been asked to get does not crack the top five at this ground. Indeed, England have overhauled more twice in the last four years.

The magic numberCarey kept quiet

Alex Carey had been a stubborn presence at seven with the bat, passing double figures both times at Edgbaston and Lord’s and making a crucial half-century at the former. His controversial stumping of Jonny Bairstow made him a pantomime villain, but, while his glove work remains immaculate, he has been dismissed in Leeds for single figures twice. Carey came to the crease on Saturday after Cricket Australia had refuted a bizarre story about him failing to pay for a haircut, but there was no close shave for the wicketkeeper as an attempted leave off Woakes thudded into his gloves and then, a little unfortunately, clipped his stumps.

Tweet of the day

Fans were left to their own devices for a large chunk of the day because of intermittent showers leading to a near six-hour delay, with only 25.1 overs sent down when play started at 4.45pm. And when you cannot watch the Ashes, what better way to entertain yourself than by playing concourse cricket pretending you are in them? Walking around the ground, there were multiple games that had broken out at the back of the sheltered stands. The size of the bat varied, from regulation to miniature, tennis balls were used and supporters got imaginative with stumps. But those participating – young and old and for a brief period including a policeman batting – at least found a way to pass the time.

Moeen’s economy class

Moeen Ali’s most tangible contribution of the day was not an elegant drive or a ripping delivery through the gate, but a football-style sliding tackle to prevent a boundary. The renowned Liverpool fan was not called upon to bowl as Woakes, Stuart Broad and Mark Wood took care of Australia, meaning Moeen finished the second innings with figures of 17-3-34-2. Going at exactly two an over is his best economy rate in an innings since December 2015 and second best in his Test career (with a minimum of six overs bowled).

England’s victory in the European Under-21 Championship captured the nation as prominent figures took to social media to offer their congratulations.

Curtis Jones’ first-half goal, coupled with goalkeeper James Trafford’s stoppage-time penalty save, ensured the Young Lions lifted the trophy for the first time in 39 years as they edged out Spain 1-0.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the tributes as the likes of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and senior men’s captain Harry Kane joined in the celebrations.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham was among the first to applaud the Young Lions, with other governing bodies quick to followPolitical figures were also caught up in the excitementEngland stars past and present were delighted with the winWith 18 Premier League players in Young Lions squad, the tributes from clubs poured inAnd former boxer Frank Bruno loved the sound of ‘European Champions’

Chris Woakes called on England to channel Headingley 2019 and drag themselves back into the Ashes – although the seamer hopes there is a more straightforward path to victory.

England closed on 27 without loss in pursuit of 251, a tricky ask as they have to better a first-innings 237, after Australia were skittled for 224 on a truncated day three of the third Test.

Adding to the tension is England knowing they will lose the series at the earliest possible opportunity if they fall short in the chase, although the target is some way below the 359 they were set four years ago.

On that occasion, England sealed a nerve-shredding one-wicket win to breathe fresh life into their campaign and Woakes recognises there will be similar momentum shifts and anxious spells on Sunday.

“I hope so, because that means we win the Test match,” said Woakes, when asked if they would invoke the spirit of 2019 in pursuit of 224 more runs. “It would be nice to do it a little bit easier this time.

“There’s a full day ahead of us and we know what we’ve got to get. To chalk a few off is really nice and to finish the day none down is a real positive for us.

“We know we can chase scores as a team. It certainly suits us which is a good thing.

“The scores haven’t been overly high in this game, so you don’t just walk into it thinking it’s going to be a doddle.

“Naturally in a run chase there’s always nerves. But they are good nerves. The thought of winning the Test, chasing down a score, and keeping yourself in the series. It’s more excitement than nerves.”

Both Woakes and Australia batter Travis Head were involved in a clash that went down as an Ashes classic, with Ben Stokes’ 135 not out getting England over the line in dramatic fashion.

“It’s fair to say that it’s a nice place to be with the series on the line and hopefully we can redeem ourselves from 2019 at this place,” said Head, who bolstered Australia on Saturday with a fine 77.

Woakes has been quietly instrumental in his first Test of the Bazball era after 16 months out of the side, initially missing out through injury and then sliding down the pecking order.

He has taken three wickets in both innings, all of them in Australia’s top-seven, in his first home match in the format since September 2021.

He acknowledged his dismissal of Australia linchpin Marnus Labuschagne – third in the Test batting rankings – on the opening day helped him to settle.

“Getting the call shows the backing from the coach and the captain, and to get a big scalp like Marnus is a bit of a relief and shows faith in the decision to play,” Woakes added.

“The fact I haven’t played in front of a crowd in England for a couple of years brings out that emotion in you when you hear that roar. It’s easy to forget how good it is when you haven’t played for a while.”

England last summer made a habit of reeling in high targets under Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, successfully chasing down four 275-plus scores.

But, as in 2019, Woakes may at some point be called to strap on the pads in a bid to avoid Australia moving into an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

“The excitement and chance of winning a Test match in an Ashes series is fantastic but we also realise we’re still 220 runs away from that,” said Woakes

“There’s some hard work to be put in. Australia will be thinking they’re 10 wickets away from winning an Ashes series in England as well, so it’s an exciting day for both teams.”

James Trafford claimed he knew he was going to save the penalty which clinched European Under-21 Championship glory for England.

The 20-year-old Burnley-bound Manchester City goalkeeper, who spent last season on loan at League One Bolton, repelled Spain skipper Abel Ruiz’s stoppage-time spot-kick and then blocked substitute Aimar Oroz’s follow-up to ensure Curtis Jones’ goal was enough to secure a 1-0 final victory at the Batumi Arena.

Trafford told UEFA TV: “I told everyone this morning I was going to save a pen and, when it was a penalty, I knew I was going to save it, so it was pretty easy, to be honest.

“I told all my mates back home I was going to save one.”

Trafford’s heroics, which came after defender Levi Colwill had been penalised for his challenge on Ruiz following a VAR review six minutes into added time, provided a memorable conclusion to a hard-fought contest as England claimed the title for the third time and the first since 1984, denying the Spaniards a record sixth triumph.

His clean sheet meant Lee Carsley’s men did not concede a single goal at the finals, a feat never before achieved.

Trafford said: “It means a lot for us, the record, because it will take a massive effort to get broken. But we’re a very good team and we believe that no-one can score against us and we showed it.”

England, watched by senior boss Gareth Southgate in Georgia, had to survive a late onslaught as Spain fought desperately for a way back into the game, but battled manfully to reach their goal.

Player of the Tournament Anthony Gordon admitted several of his team-mates could have claimed the prize.

Gordon said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I feel I have had a good tournament, but me with the individual trophy is down to my team-mates and the staff.

“The squad is really unselfish. Six or seven of us might have won it, that shows how good we’ve been.

“Trafford could have been player of the tournament. He was incredible. I’ve never seen a goalkeeper perform like that with my own eyes.”

Disappointed Spain coach Santi Denia saluted the “extraordinary” efforts of his players and staff.

Denia said: “I feel extremely proud of everyone, not only the players, but everyone who forms part of this family. They’ve all worked in an extraordinary manner.

“The team have kept growing and we tried until the very last minute. We are strong and we will keep growing with this way of playing.”

England’s hunt for Australian wickets was halted by the weather at Headingley, with the third morning of the third Ashes Test washed out.

Morning showers on Saturday meant no play was possible before lunch, which was brought forward to 12.30pm as ground staff began the cleaning up operation.

The match is poised on a knife edge, with the tourists 142 runs ahead after being reduced to 116 for four in their second innings.

Travis Head and day-one centurion Mitch Marsh were the not out batters for Australia, who are already 2-0 up in the series after victories at Edgbaston and Lord’s and can claim the urn with a win on Yorkshire territory.

The break in play could help ease some of England’s ailments, with Ollie Robinson yet to bowl since suffering back spasms on the first day and captain Ben Stokes nursing a selection of injuries and niggles.

England owe their position in the game to Stokes’ defiant 80, with Moeen Ali hailing the skipper’s magnetic qualities and their effect on the side.

“Ben’s a brilliant player. He’s the one player in the world who everyone will be thinking about in that situation, especially against Australia because he has done it a couple of times now,” said the spinner, who took the key wickets of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith on Friday evening.

“Whether it’s a white ball or a red ball, as long as he’s there you’ve always got a great chance of winning. It’s the situations more than anything, he loves those situations, he thrives off them.

“His body has obviously been through a lot but there’s one thing with Ben, he can’t do anything without it being 100 per cent. Hopefully he’ll get through this series well, scoring a lot more runs.

“It’s the situations more than anything, he loves those situations, he thrives off them. But we can’t rely on him all the time. We do have dangerous players who we just need to come to the party as well as Ben. Ben’s playing brilliantly but there are runs out there for other players.”

England will be eyeing early Australia wickets as thoughts drift to what might be a manageable chase for the hosts in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

While there may be weather-related interruptions with storms forecast on Saturday, there are still three days in which to force a result after Australia went to stumps on 116 for four and a lead of 142.

Ben Stokes had earlier been England’s hero again, dragging them from 87 for five to 237 all out with a belligerent 80 containing five sixes, while Mark Wood chipped in with an astonishing eight-ball 24.

Moeen Ali then took the key wickets of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith in a tidy spell, with Australia unable to get away even though Stokes and Ollie Robinson were unable to bowl for England.

Captain Marvels

Despite his body appearing to be in rebellion against him – adding to his left knee trouble is hip discomfort for which he took a couple of pain-killing tablets – England captain Stokes conjured another defiant innings to get his side within touching distance of Australia’s first innings. His opposite number Pat Cummins also led from the front with six for 91. While he possesses an outstanding record in England with 47 wickets in nine Tests at an average of 22.02, this was his first five-for on UK soil.

Six of the best

Stokes pumped Australia’s rookie off-spinner Todd Murphy over the boundary rope five times to extend his lead over Kevin Pietersen for most Ashes sixes.

Wood fires

Having burst on to the scene with his breakneck pace on day one – averaging a searing 90.5mph across 11.4 overs which yielded a maiden five-wicket haul in England – Mark Wood showed no sign of slowing down after trading leather for willow. Wood’s template for backing away and swinging brought boundaries from his first three balls and three sixes in his first six balls. His luck finally ran out when another mighty heave across the line took the top-edge to mid-on. Still, Wood’s quickfire 24 roused England.

Broad problems for Warner

It was groundhog day again for David Warner, who has been well and truly muzzled in Leeds by his nemesis. It was bowled Stuart Broad, caught Zak Crawley, for a second time in two days after the Australia opener was squared up as he edged into the cordon. He will not look back fondly on this Test after scores of four and one, lasting just five balls in each innings.

Moeen at the double

Has any Test career fluctuated as much as Moeen Ali’s? Recalled after his finger drama at Edgbaston, Moeen seemed to lack a bit of snap in his action early on but then snared Labuschagne and Smith for his 199th and 200th Test wickets – albeit after some loose shots from the Australia pair. While Moeen, who held up an end as he conceded just 34 off his 17 overs in a row, often comes in for criticism, only Derek Underwood (297) and Graeme Swann (255) have more Test wickets among English spinners.

Bairstow blunders continue

Since controversially superseding Ben Foakes and donning the wicketkeeping gloves at the start of the summer, Jonny Bairstow’s doubters can only have grown after a subpar showing behind the stumps. His catching success rate in this series hovers at just over 50 per cent (nine pouched and eight dropped) and while it is true at least a couple of his put downs would have required outstanding reflexes, he has shelled more routine efforts. His reprieve of Labuschagne down the leg-side edged towards the latter. It was his third drop of the match but did not too prove too costly after Labuschagne was out next ball while Bairstow might have redeemed himself slightly in some English eyes with an inoffensive send-off of Smith, who seemed to take exception to being told ‘See ya, Smudge’.

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