England ends Day 2 on 107/8, still needing 175 to avoid the follow on in the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval
Australia hit the right notes in its quest for a consolation win by reducing England to 107 for 8 at stumps on Day 2 after posting 481 in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval on Friday (August 21).
Mitchell Marsh, who replaced his brother Shaun in the playing XI, took 3 for 18 in seven overs to trigger a collapse as England lost seven wickets after tea. Moeen Ali (8) and Mark Wood (8) were at the crease when play ended, with the hosts still needing 175 runs to avoid the follow-on.
Peter Siddle, playing his first Test since December 2014 after replacing Josh Hazlewood, also had two wickets on his comeback.
While the bowling effort was right out of the top drawer, the platform was laid by Steven Smith, the man set to replace Michael Clarke as captain. Smith built on his start to make a sublime 143, forming vital partnerships with Adam Voges (76) and Mitchell Starc (58) to help Australia inch closer to the 500-run mark.
England stuttered early when Alastair Cook was bowled for 22 at the stroke of tea by a fine Nathan Lyon delivery. The offspinner got one to spin across the face of the bat as the ball beat the outside edge to clip off stump. Adam Lyth, given an extended run despite a string of low scores, also failed to make it could as he fell for 19 to Siddle as a mistimed pull landed in Starc’s hands at mid-on.
The onus was once again on the in-form Root to steer England out of troubled waters. He started well by upper-cutting Siddle for a boundary, but Siddle struck again to dismiss Ian Bell as a superb delivery that held its line beat the bat to clip the top of off stump.
60 for 3 then became 64 for 4 when Root was caught behind off Marsh. With the top order back in the hut, Clarke continued to attack and England fell into the trap, in a bid to play shots.
Jonny Bairstow (13) was caught in the deep after failing to get over the top of an attempted pull off Mitchell Johnson, while Jos Buttler (1) was bowled through the gate by Lyon to expose the lower middle order against a fired up attack. England needed resolute defiance, but it couldn’t get it as Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad followed the top order to leave it in disarray at 92 for 8, with Marsh having taken three wickets for four runs.
The first two sessions was all about Smith, who became the first Australian since Matthew Elliott to score more than 500 runs in an Ashes series in England. His six-and-a-half-hour innings, which included 17 fours and two sixes, eventually ended when he dragged an intended drive off fast bowler Steven Finn onto his stumps.
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