Aussies in control of final test

Australia look set to save face in this Ashes series as they are in full control of the fifth test at the Oval. Putting this down to a Trent Bridge hangover for England or the lack of pressure now on the Aussie team would be disrepectful to how Australia have played, whilst England have just not turned up. Australia racked up 481 in their first innings, but England collapsed to 107-8 in reply.

Steve Smith's 143 makes him the top run scorer of this series

Steve Smith’s 143 makes him the top run scorer of this series

On day one Rogers and Warner had put on 110 before Rogers fell for 43. Warner (85) and Clarke (15) also fell, but Steve Smith and Adam Voges remained unbeaten as they put on 101 to end the day on 287-3. There were wickets for Mark Wood, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes.

Adam Voges (76), Mitchell Marsh (3), Peter Nevill (18) and Mitchell Johnson (0) all fell before lunch, but England’s bowling was nowhere near the standard set so far in the series. Australia went to lunch on 376-7 with Steve Smith passing his century. He was given a reprieve on 92, after Steve Finn overstepped by a good six inches.

Smith and Mitchell Starc put on 91 before Smith was bowled by Finn for 143, and Starc soon followed, lbw to Stokes for a fine 58. Interestingly, Starc’s dismissal only the second review overturned the whole series, showing how well the umpires have performed so far. Peter Siddle, a surprise inclusion in Australia’s side, added 1 as the visitors finished on 481. Stokes, Finn and Ali took three wickets a piece, with Mark Wood taking the other.

If England were poor with the ball, they were even worse with the bat. Nathan Lyon dismissed Cook before tea with a beautiful delivery for 22. The hosts then lost 7 wickets for 46 runs. Adam Lyth continued his poor series with only 19, putting England on 46-2. Bell, Bairstow and Stokes were the only men to make it to double figures, with Root, Buttler and Broad suffering the embarrassment of not even reaching that milestone. Mitchell Marsh took three wickets, whilst their was two a-piece for Lyon and Siddle, and one for Mitchell Johnson.

Alastair Cook's side floundered with the bat, losing 7 wickets for just 42 runs

Alastair Cook’s side floundered with the bat, losing 7 wickets for just 42 runs

Although it seems that England have just been utterly useless, which they have, credit does have to go to the Australian bowlers for forcing them in to this dismal showing. Moeen Ali and Mark Wood (both on 8) resume tomorrow at 107-8 with absolutely no pressure on them with the match seemingly out of sight.

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England regain Ashes with a test to spare

England have regained the Ashes after another comprehensive victory over Australia. All memories of the 5-0 humiliation down under were wiped clear as they managed to win in only three days for the second consecutive match. Mark Wood took the winning wicket as England took the remaining three wickets for 12 runs. England now lead 3-1 in the series heading in to the final test at the Oval.

The England players celebrate after regaining the Ashes in emphatic style.

The England players celebrate after regaining the Ashes in emphatic style.

Australia resumed on 241-7, 90 runs behind, with Adam Voges on 48 and Mitchell Starc on 0. Ben Stokes took his sixth wicket of the innings, tempting Starc in to playing, but he could only edge to Ian Bell at slip. Ben Stokes’ figures of 6-36 are his best test figures. Josh Hazlewood could not add any to the total, as Mark Wood knocked out his middle stump with a terrific delivery. A rare instance for Aussie fans to shout about occurred as Voges ran a quick single to reach his 50. Nathan Lyon brought up 250 for Australia, flicking the ball down leg side for a four. But the next ball saw Lyon’s stumps flying, as Mark Wood bowled the ball that won England the Ashes. Australia had been bowled out for 253, meaning that England won the test by an innings and 78 runs.

Nathan Lyon could do nothing as Mark Wood scattered his wickets.

Nathan Lyon could do nothing as Mark Wood scattered his wickets.

After all he has been through as captain, Alastair Cook was almost in tears at the end of the match, showing how much this Ashes victory, and the manner of it, meant to him. In contrast, Aussie skipper Michael Clarke announced that “it was the right time” for him to announce his retirement from test cricket after the final test at the Oval.

Aussie collapse puts England on the verge of regaining Ashes

England are on the verge of regaining the Ashes after Australia lost their top four batsmen for just 23 runs. The visitors had looked to be back in with a chance as their bowlers performed admirably before lunch, and openers Chris Rogers and David Warner took them to 113 without loss. Mitchell Starc claimed six wicket for Australia, whilst Ben Stokes ripped through the Aussie top and middle order with five wickets. England could claim victory tomorrow without having to bat again; they need to take three wickets for 89 runs.

Ben Stokes finished with figures of 5-35

Ben Stokes finished with figures of 5-35

Joe Root risked getting out twice, as he began the day trying to carry on where he left off. It was third time lucky for Mitchell Starc, as Root nicked behind for 130 as he attempted a drive. Mark Wood’s impressive innings of 28, including 5 fours, was ended by an equally impressive delivery from Mitchell Starc, who claimed his fifth wicket. Starc produced another top delivery to bowl Jos Buttler for 12. Buttler had attempted to be more positive, but continued to fail to put a big score together. Ben Stokes nicked Hazlewood behind for 5, meaning England were 332-8, losing four wickets for 58 runs in this session.

Moeen Ali accelerated England’s progress, bringing up 350 with a big six. Along with Stuart Broad, who hit 2 fours and a six, the pair put on 58 to increase England’s lead past 300. Mitchell Johnson broke the pair though, with Steve Smith catching Ali with a superb diving catch for 38. Alastair Cook declared before lunch on 391-9, giving the Australian openers a tricky few overs to navigate before the break.

David Warner was dropped twice, once by Cook (above) and once by Bell

David Warner was dropped twice, once by Cook (above) and once by Bell

After yesterday’s misfortunes, Australia might have thought that their luck had finally come in. David Warner was dropped twice, a routine catch from Cook on 10, and a tougher one on 42 where the ball sprung out of the hand of a diving Ian Bell. Chris Rogers was offered a reprisal, as he was caught by Root with the score at 105 without loss, however a no ball was called after Wood had overstepped. But England’s bowlers now smelt blood, and Ben Stokes stepped up to the plate. He dismissed Rogers, who could only edge to Root at slip for 52, and fellow opener David Warner, who top edged a shot up in the air to Stuart Broad. Shaun Marsh then edged Stokes to Root for 2. Fittingly, Stokes took the catch for the vital wicket of Steve Smith, who fell to Broad for 5. The top order was now gone, putting on only 23 runs after Rogers’ dismissal. Broad’s ninth wicket of the match moves him to fourth on England’s all time wicket takers with 308.

Michael Clarke’s move down the order appears not have had any impact on his form, as he was caught for 13. Cook fumbled the catch, but managed to palm it back in the air for Ian Bell to take the catch. Peter Nevill was caught for 2 by Cook, but Finn had overstepped, giving Australia a second reprisal. Nevill was the next to fall, going lbw for 17 to Stokes, giving the England man figures of 4-32. Stokes took his fifth wicket as Mitchell Johnson edged to Cook, who finally got his catch, for 5. Australia finished on 241-7, as the umpires led the players off the field for bad light. They trail England by 90 runs.

England cruise to victory with a day to spare

England have taken a 1-0 in the 2015 Ashes after securing a 169 run victory in Cardiff. The Aussies had two days to chase down their target of 412, but a middle order collapse enabled England to wrap the game up with a day to spare. With rain forecast for tomorrow, the only real hope of Australia salvaging a result meant batting out the day, so finishing in such style was imperative for England.

Alastair Cook catches Brad Haddin at the second attempt

Alastair Cook catches Brad Haddin at the second attempt

Australia had an early let off, as Joe Root dropped Chris Rogers within the first few overs. Rogers couldn’t capitalise on his reprieve though, as he fell for just 10, edging Stuart Broad to Bell at slip. The umpires, amid a chorus of boos from home fans, decided to review the decision, before confirming that the opener had to walk.

David Warner and Steve Smith seemed to target Moeen Ali, taking their partnership past 50, but the Englishman had the last laugh, trapping Warner lbw just before lunch. Warner fell for 52, with the Australians 97-2 at lunch. However, all Aussie hopes of salvaging anything from the first test were obliterated as they lost five wickets for just 25 runs.

Steve Smith survived an appeal, as Root caught a ball that ricochetted off of the Aussie’s pads, not his bat. However, within the same over, he edged straight to Ian Bell, out for 33. Broad took his third wicket of the day, as Clarke hit straight to Ben Stokes at backward point for only 4. Mark Wood joined the party, forcing Adam Voges to edge behind for 1. In an attempt to restart the Aussie attack, Brad Haddin tried to go big against Moeen Ali, but only succeeded in picking out Alastair Cook, who made a wonderful high catch. Haddin’s dismissal left the Australian’s 122-6, needing 290 to win.

Mitchell Johnson offered Australia's only resistance scoring 77

Mitchell Johnson offered Australia’s only resistance scoring 77

Mitchell Johnson showed the batsman how it was done, posing the English bowlers a few problems as he found the boundary with both sixes and fours. But his partner Shane Watson fell lbw again, with Mark Wood dismissing him for just 19. Australia went in to tea at 162-7, the game well and truly out of sight.

Johnson continued to lead the resistance well, as he passed 50, and soon after his partnership with Mitchell Starc took Australia to 223-7. Joe Root broke through though, as Starc edged in to Cook’s chest, and fellow slip Adam Lyth dived to take the catch. The same combination of Root and Lyth prevented a Johnson century, as he swung wildly at a tempting ball, only to nick it to Lyth. Moeen Ali finished off the Australians in the next over, with Josh Hazlewood skying the ball to Joe Root, leaving the Aussies all out for 242.

Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali shared three wickets apiece, for 39 and 59 runs respectively, whilst Mark Wood (2-53) and Joe Root (2-28) also had success with the ball. Joe Root was named man of the match, following his scores of 134 and 60, and his two wickets today. The second test starts on Thursday at Lords.

England lift Ashes after 5th test draw

An entertaining final day of the Ashes ended bitterly as bad light stopped play with only 4 overs left. What’s worse is that England only needed 21 runs to win the series 4-0.

England began the day on 247-4, and looked more positive after the washout on day 4. Ryan Harris carried on his impressive form with the ball as he got Chris Woakes for 25, as Clarke caught him. Ian Bell fell next for 45, with Haddin catching him behind for James Faulkner’s first wicket of the game. Stuart Broad fell for 9, with Prior getting some much needed runs before falling to Faulkner for 47, caught on the boundary by Mitchell Starc. James Anderson threw his wicket away for 4 as his poor form with the bat continued, however Graeme Swann added and impressive 34, including five 4s and one 6. Faulkner bowled Swann, meaning England finished on 377, still 115 runs behind but managing to avoid the follow on.

In an attempt to win the match, Michael Clarke shook up his batting order to extend the Australian lead whilst still giving them enough time to bowl England out. It was a bold decision, and it looked to backfire as Australia found themselves 67-4. Much to the crowd’s delight, David Warner fell first for 12, with Anderson diving to his right to take a one-handed catch off of his own bowling. Shane Watson fell next, with Pieterson catching him for 26 from Swann’s bowling. Shortly after, Stuart Broad got Brad Haddin for a duck, with Matt Prior catching him behind. Matt Prior caught James Faulkner, as he edged Broad behind for 22. Steve Smith was next to fall, chipping Stuart Broad to Graeme Swann on the boundary for 7. The Aussies fell to 85-6 after Broad knocked out Harris’ leg stump for just 1. At tea, Clarke declared on 101-6, giving England a chase of 227 runs from 44 overs.

England started positively; however they suffered a setback as Root was caught behind 11 for from Harris. Cook and Trott built a 64 partnership before the captain fell for 34, lbw to Faulkner. Trott’s good innings was bettered by Kevin Pieterson, who hit 10 fours on his way to 62. David Warner caught Pieterson on the boundary, with Harris’ bowling again undoing the English batsmen. Trott was next to go, falling lbw for 59 despite a review to Faulkner. Ian Bell was next to fall, as he tried to hit the ball back through Starc, only for the bowler to run him out. This was the last action of the series, as the umpires led the players off with England needing 21 off of 4 overs. The match was drawn; however England will be content with a 3-0 series victory.

Man of the match was Shane Watson for his 176 in the first innings, and the Man of the Series was Ian Bell for his 3 important centuries.

Pedestrian England fail to impress

England made slow and tedious progress on the 3rd day at the Oval. It was clear from the off that England were playing for the draw, with a run rate of just above 2 an over. Alistair Cook survived an lbw appeal, as the ball pitched outside leg stump. Some good Australian bowling baited Cook in to lashing out at a wide ball, nicking it behind to the diving Haddin. Not long after reaching a leisurely 50 partnership with Trott, Joe Root appeared to lose his head, sweeping a ball from Nathan Lyon up in the air, giving Watson a simple catch, with Root falling for 68. Jonathon Trott was next to fall, going lbw to Starc for 40 after a review, as he was initially given not out. Pieterson survived an lbw review on the way to his 2nd slowest test 50 in his career. Pieterson didn’t make any more runs, as he swung out and nicked it back to Watson. Ian Bell and Chris Woakes batted out the rest of the day, with England finishing on a pedestrian 247-4.

England win second test with a day to spare

England won the second Ashes test with a day to spare after bowling Australia out for 235. England started the day batting, on a score of 333-5. Jonny Bairstow fell for 20 early on, and Root soon followed, as an audacious attempt at a boundary was read at third man by Steve Smith for 180. After Root’s amazing innings came to an end, Cook declared 349-7, giving Australia a 583 run target for victory, bigger than any successful run chase in test cricket. This innings was much needed for Root, who was looking rather scarce of runs since being moved up the order for England.

Australia’s top order yet again failed to score runs, as Shane Watson was again trapped lbw, this time by Anderson for 24. Fellow opener Chris Rodgers soon followed, as Swann bowled him for 6. Australia slumped to 36-3, as despite a review, Phillip Hughes was Swann’s second victim, lbw for 1. Captain Clarke and Usman Khawaja started a revival, batting well in to the afternoon for a partnership of 98. But as Clarke fell for 51 to Joe Root, caught by Cook, the Aussies collapsed again, losing 3 wickets for 3 runs. After surviving a review, Khawaja was caught off of Root’s bowling for 54. Australia’s poor use of reviews continued, as Steve Smith fell for 1, with Prior catching Bresnan’s delivery. Ashton Agar was next to fall, although originally given not out. Although there was no mark on Hot Spot, the 3rd umpire gave Agar out for 16. Swann got his 3rd wicket as he trapped Haddin for 7. The lower order showed the batsman up again, as all of the bottom 4 scored in double figures. Siddle was bowled by Anderson for 18, and Pattinson also fell to Swann by lbw for 35, in a 43 run final partnership. Australia finished 235 all out, losing by 347 runs.

With Australia’s top order failing to score runs, changes are a must to avoid a series whitewash. A total of 186 runs and 2 wickets contributed to Joe Root winning the Man of the match award.