Veteran fast-bowler Stuart Broad got his perfect fairytale ending to a glorious cricketing career by picking the last two wickets as England beat Australia by 49 runs in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval on Monday to level an enthralling series 2-2.
Resuming from 135 for no loss, Australia were going great guns with all ten wickets in hand, before a ball change in the 37th over took their top three batters out. Steve Smith and Travis Head led Australia’s recovery before the rain came in.
After the two-hour rain break ended, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali blew Australia away as four wickets fell for only 11 runs. Todd Murphy and Alex Carey frustrated England for a brief period as Australia went from 264 for three to 294 for 8.
To get some luck on his side, Broad swapped bails around at the bowler’s end and got the last two wickets in Murphy and Carey to sign off from the sport on a high as Australia were bowled out for 334. With the riveting win at The Oval, England levelled the series after being 2-0 down, though Australia had already retained the Ashes.
Australia resumed Day Five with 249 more runs needed for victory, with Usman Khawaja and David Warner already gone past their half-centuries. But the replacement ball, called after Mark Wood hit Khawaja on the helmet with a bouncer on the first delivery of the 37th over, began to offer plenty of movement, helping England make inroads.
Woakes began by getting Warner for 60, with a good length ball angled across and was caught safely by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow. Khawaja soon followed him back to the pavilion for 72, with Woakes trapping him lbw with a fuller-length delivery.
Marnus Labuschagne could not last long as he edged a Wood delivery straight into the hands of Zak Crawley standing low at the second slip. Smith joined Head to embark on a much-needed 95-run partnership for the visitors.
The pair played some brilliant strokes against the English pacers and Head even survived a short-ball barrage, with Australia heading to lunch at 238 for three, needing a further 146 runs.
Smith though survived a close call on the stroke on lunch as he gloved a delivery to Stokes at leg gully off Ali, but replays showed that the catch was not clean and the fielder was not in full control of the catch.
Just as players walked out for the second session, they went back due to rain, which threatened to play spoilsport yet again. The play would finally resume at 4.20 pm local time, with a marathon deciding session ahead.
Smith brought up his fifty but the 95-run stand finally came to an end when Ali got one to spin sharply from round the wicket, inciting an edge from Head to slip. The left-handed batter fell for 43, with Australia still needing another 120 runs to win.
Woakes would then dismiss Smith for 54, with a back-of-the-length delivery squaring him up and a second slip doing the rest. Ali also struck again, dismissing Mitchell Marsh for six as Bairstow stuck out his right hand to complete a superb catch.
The packed crowd erupted more in support of the home side as Woakes struck again to send Mitchell Starc packing for a duck. Moeen would scalp his third, as a big heave from skipper Pat Cummins brought about his downfall at nine, with Stokes completing the catch very well to his left at leg-slip.
Broad then got into the act, with a brilliant delivery to get an edge off Murphy, who was gone for 18. Broad would have the perfect ending, dismissing Carey for 28 with Bairstow taking a safe catch to end with 604 Test wickets, as England won by 49 runs to level the Ashes 2-2.
England 283 & 395 beat Australia 295 & 334 all out in 94.4 overs (Usman Khawaja 72, David Warner 60; Chris Woakes 4-50, Moeen Ali 3-76) by 49 runs
(This story is sourced from a third-party syndicated feed. Raavi Media takes no responsibility or liability of any nature. Raavi Media management/ythisnews.com can alter or delete the content without notice for any reason.)