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 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.

Smith ton keeps Australia on top

England’s decision to play 2 spinners came back to bite them, as the seamers struggled against the Australian middle and lower order. Rain delayed play until 2:30, making the pitch more suitable for seamers. Resuming on 307-4, night-watchman Siddle stuck around for longer than expected, until Jimmy Anderson finally broke through, bowling Siddle for 23. With Smith and Haddin at the crease, England were desperate for a wicket, as shown by a wasted review, with Anderson’s ball brushing the trouser of Haddin before carrying to Prior. The desperation was even more evident as Cook called Jonathan Trott in to the attack, as Broad and Anderson looked tired with England’s attack relying on them. Steve Smith made his first test 100 in some style, hitting Trott for 6. Part-time bowler Trott broke the 65 partnership though, as he bowled Haddin for 30, with the batsmen inside-edging it on to his own stumps. After tea England pressed on with 3 wickets in an hour. Chris Woakes got his first wicket for England, with Trott taking a brilliant sliding catch on the boundary from Faulkner for 23. Graeme Swann bowled his first ball of the day, 3 hours in to play, and got Mitchell Starc out for 13. Ryan Harris came in to make a quick-fire 33, including two 6s, before he spooned a Jimmy Anderson ball up in the air, and Anderson turned and caught Harris about 20 yards out from the wicket. Australia declared straight after this wicket, finishing on 492-9d.

England came in to bat for the last hour or so, looking to preserve the openers’ wickets until tomorrow morning. Cook survived an lbw appeal on 15, as the ball was going wide of the stumps. Root and Cook started positively, ending on 32 without loss.

Watson ton puts the Aussies on top

England gave 2 players debuts at the Kia Oval, with Chris Woakes and Simon Kerrigan coming in for Jonny Bairstow and the injured Tim Bresnan. They abandoned the strategy of 4 seamers and 1 spinner to accommodate Kerrigan, and this decision looked to bite them, as they looked toothless in attack.

Jimmy Anderson got back amongst the wickets as David Warner edged him behind to Prior for 6. Despite 2 appeals for lbw against Watson, England couldn’t break the partnership of Watson and Rodgers, during which Watson reached 50. Kerrigan’s first 2 overs of test cricket for England saw him concede 28 runs. The 100 partnership from Watson and Rodgers was reached just before lunch, as the Aussies finished the session on 112-1.

Chris Rodgers fell for the 6th time in 7 innings to Graeme Swann, with Trott taking the catch for 23. Michael Clarke almost got himself out, as he deflected a high ball just past his stumps while stranded outside the crease. Anderson got his second wicket as he bowled Michael Clarke, with the ball deflecting off the batsman’s pad and on to his stumps. Watson brought up his first test match 100 against England, as he looked unbeatable.

Cook dropped Watson on 104, and England looked as if they would rue this at the end of the match. Watson brought up his 150, and not long after Steve Smith brought up his 50 as Australia looked comfortable 263-3. Chris Woakes thought that he had finally broken through, as Watson was given out; however following an umpire review it was reversed as the ball was going over the stumps.

Watson finally fell for 176 to a magnificent diving catch from Kevin Pieterson, with Stuart Broad getting a hard earned wicket. Peter Siddle came in as night watchman and will start tomorrow at the crease with Steve Smith with Australia on 307-4. Simon Kerrigan gave away 53 runs off only 8 overs on a miserable debut, as the Aussie batsmen targeted the spinner. England will hope that his opening day nerves are out of the way, as he will hope to be more incisive on day 2.