New dad Joe Denly was disappointed to miss out on a maiden ton for England but the makeshift opening batsman was still delighted with his display which put the hosts in command against Australia in the fifth Ashes Test.
Denly cracked 94 in the second innings at the Oval on day three to help England extend their second-innings total to 313-8. His excellent knock, along with a half-century from Ben Stokes, has handed the hosts an overall lead of 382 runs heading into the penultimate day.
Having welcomed the birth of his baby daughter on Friday, Denly is hoping his best-ever showing in an England shirt can help him push on as a Test cricketer.
“It has been a disappointment of the series that I got a few starts,” Denly told Sky Sports at the end of the day’s play.
“Getting through tricky periods and then getting out. Hopefully if I play more cricket and Test cricket I will keep learning and improving and get more runs.
“Against this attack it is always a battle and you have to work hard for every single run. I am disappointed not to reach the milestone but we are in a good position going into day four and that is the most important thing.”
Having struggled to convert his starts at the beginning of the series, Denly has been progressively getting better in the Ashes and he has credited that improvement to a better judgement of where his off-stump is.
“When you’re batting at the top of the order, leaving is an important part of the game, and I like to think I’ve made improvements since the first innings,” the 33-year-old stated.
“Have to know where your off stump is and leave well. Be committed in defence and in leaving the ball,” he added.
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