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Ashes: 5th Test Day One Review – The Oval

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Australia came out on top of the opening day exchanges in the fifth and final test of the Ashes series, despite being inserted into bat by Alistair Cook and his England side with Steve Smith hitting an unbeaten half-century for the tourists. 

After a break of 12 days, the contest moved back to London and the Oval as England kept the same side as the previous test with James Anderson still ruled out with a side strain. Australia made two changes to their team bringing back Mitchell Marsh for his brother Shaun Marsh and Peter Siddle returning for the out of sorts Josh Hazlewood.

The toss was won by England and Alistair Cook invited Australia to bat on what looked like testing conditions first up and so it proved as Australia struggled to get an early foothold in the game but showing the qualities of how to dig in, which had been lacking for the previous games of the series.

David Warner and the retiring Chris Rogers saw off the first hour with England’s bowlers toiling hard but with little reward on a pitch that was offering a little and under overcast conditions that were also in favour of the bowling side.

The breakthrough came through Mark Wood who induced Rogers into a drive at a wide delivery with Cook snaffling the catch at the second attempt to send the opener back to the pavilion for what could be the final time for 43. Warner continued to accelerate bringing up his half-century but perished 15 short of a hundred with Moeen Ali again the beneficiary, as the Aussie poked at a tossed up ball from England’s spinner with Adam Lyth making no mistake at slip.

England gave the departing Australian captain Michael Clarke a guard of honour in his final test match, as he joined Steve Smith at the crease and it seemed giving up the burden of his captaincy had enerised him as he looked confident early up.

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However England once again got the better of the batsman when on 15 he nicked a Ben Stokes delivery through to Jos Buttler behind the stumps, though Clarke felt he hadn’t touched it and reviewed the decision. And with that came what could be Clarke’s final innings as an international player as the DRS confirmed a faint nick on the ball, with Clarke having to make the walk back to the pavilion but not without a standing ovation.

Adam Voges joined Smith at the crease and both seemed players seemed in confident mood as Smith brought up his half-century with a four through the covers. Rain was on the horizon as Smith and Voges dug in to the England bowling and the heavens finally opened forcing the players off the field.

The players returned to the field just before 6pm with an hour to negotiate before the end of the days play as Smith closed in on a century but he was forced to wait for his opportunity when the umpires called a halt to proceedings with bad light as ustralia finished the first day on top at 287-3.

alistair cook ashes chris rogers england cricket Michael Clarke moeen ali steve smith

About Andy Moore

Andy is Chief Editor of The Sports Lowdown and a sports journalist by profession having written for both print publications such as The Sun, The Rugby Paper as well as various online digital sites such as The Aviva Premiership, The Women's Super League plus many many more.

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Photo Credit: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images.


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