Australia captain Tim Paine denied his side had allowed sledging go too far as England laid the foundations for an Ashes-levelling victory in the last Test.
SCORECARD | AS IT HAPPENED
England batted during day as they stacked up a towering lead of 382 in The Oval, also will look to stretch that beyond 400 when they restart on 313-8.
The tourists attempted to unsettle the hosts with a flow of chatter in a morning session that was stressed, together with Matthew Wade apparently to the end, and the stump microphone picked up attempts to wind up Ben Stokes throughout his knock of 67.
The England all-rounder overlooked the Ashes series Down Under following his arrest for a night scuffle in Bristol – an incident that resulted in his acquittal on charges of affray – and references into the city were audible in the close fielders.
Paine was brought in to captain his country in an obvious attempt to clean up run and Australia’s standing following the sandpaper scandal and didn’t take kindly to ideas he’d overseen a slide in standards.
“You let me. It is competitive Test cricket and folks will speak to each other,” he said.
“I don’t understand why it is such a problem. It’s fine. They are grown men no-one is swearing, anybody: it is Test match cricket is being abused by nobody really and I really don’t understand why so much is made from something so modest, especially given the caliber of cricket being played.
“I think there is much more to talk about. I feel both sides have played with this series in great soul.”
Joe Denly was out in the middle for more than any other batsman as he underpinned the England innings having a career-best innings of 94, and he dropped to fan the fires.
“I did not hear anything around Bristol but if Ben comes to the crease, the type of player he is, they’re likely to attempt to unsettle him,” he explained.
“Stokesy deals with that pretty well. There is always going to be a little niggle but nothing within the lineup, just a bit of friendly banter.”
Denly has a few days, using a father for the second time in between the first and second days of this match. To follow that news up with a performance of grit and substance left him content and well rested.
“I had a very good last night because I stayed in the hotel and got about 10 hours! The previous night I had about three hours I grabbed up,” he explained.
“I missed the birth of my first child – he came three weeks early and I had been playing Derby, the midwife stated’do not rush’ so that I did not! I struck traffic and missed it by about 5 minutes. Therefore it was great to have there and see my little girl. It has been a few days.
“It’d have been nice for the milestone having worked hard but I’d probably take it, yeah. England are in a very strong position going to day four and we get a few more runs and set them under stress ”
Watch live coverage from day four of the fifth Test on Sky Sports The Ashes, from 10.30am on Sunday.
Follow over-by-over comment and in-play clips on skysports.com along with the Sky Sports App.
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