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.

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.