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23 Sep 2019 15:18
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  •   Home > News > International

    The Ashes: Australia's early sloppiness let England in, but Mitch Marsh turns things around at The Oval

    Australia's bid for a series win in England starts poorly on day one at The Oval, but an inspired bowling performance from the recalled Mitch Marsh leads an afternoon revival to leave the game in the balance.

    Australia's bid for a series win in England started poorly on day one at The Oval, but an inspired bowling performance from the recalled Mitch Marsh has led an afternoon revival to leave the game in the balance.

    England closed day one at 8-271, with the free-swinging Jos Buttler on 64*, but the situation could arguably have been much worse for Australia after its morning sloppiness threatened to prove costly.

    The Aussies dropped three catches and took a wicket off a no ball as they battled the sort of rust they had avoided so well throughout the series thus far.

    But it was the swing bowling of Marsh, still a much-maligned cricketer, who swung the game back towards Australia as the all-rounder recorded career-best figures of 4-35.

    Marsh acknowledged his problematic relationship with Australian cricket fans post-stumps.

    "Yeah, most of Australia hates me," he said.

    "Look, Australians are passionate. They love their cricket. They want people to do well.

    "It's no doubt that I've had a lot of opportunity at Test level and haven't quite nailed it, but hopefully they can respect me for the fact that I keep coming back and I love playing for Australia, wearing the baggy green cap and I'll keep trying and hopefully win them over one day," he added.

    After winning the toss, Tim Paine had shocked almost everyone when he decided to bowl first on a decent-looking pitch and that decision seemed even more questionable as England settled in early on day one.

    Joe Denly and Rory Burns put on the biggest opening partnership of the series, which was only worth 27 runs when Denly was caught out by Steve Smith, whose juggling of the catch was a sign of things to come.

    Burns set about knuckling down once again with Joe Root, who was dropped three times.

    Root had played and missed more than a few times early in his innings, but the partnership was going strong when the skipper, on 24, top-edged a hook shot to deep backward square leg, where Peter Siddle grassed a simple chance.

    One run later, Cummins found Root's outside edge and Paine failed to pouch the ball from right in front of David Warner's face at first slip.

    The pair survived until lunch, but Root was still riding his luck after the break and could have been gone again when he nicked Cummins wide of second slip, only for Steve Smith of all people to drop while diving to his right.

    Three overs later, the Yorkshireman became the third youngest player in Test history to reach 7,000 Test runs and celebrated with Burns, who was gone two overs after the fact when he skied a pull shot to Marsh at mid-on.

    Ben Stokes's brief stay ended in similar fashion, also top-edging, this time off the bowling of Marsh, who elicited a risky pull stroke of his own and Nathan Lyon completed the catch on the off side.

    Root passed 50 for the fourth time but, for the fourth time, he failed to turn it into three figures as he finally ran out of lives and Cummins got his man by smashing a ball into off stump.

    Jonny Bairstow became Marsh's second victim when the all-rounder had him plumb LBW with a hooping in-swinger, perfectly set up by five out-swingers to start the over.

    Cummins thought he had nabbed his third wicket when he bamboozled the recalled Sam Curran and had him LBW, but England's recalled all-rounder was told to return to the middle when replays showed Cummins had overstepped.

    His stay did not last much longer — caught Smith, bowled Marsh — and Chris Woakes spent even less time out in the middle before Marsh had him LBW, in a collapse of 4-35.

    The collapse continued when Jofra Archer came and went, edging Josh Hazlewood through to Paine.

    That wicket gave Buttler license to swing, dispatching Hazlewood for a pair of impressive sixes over the bowler's head and narrowly missing out on a number of other expansive efforts.

    The skipper then tried to give Marsh the opportunity to claim a richly deserved five-wicket haul, only for the big all-rounder's body to intervene — cramp meant Marsh could only bowl one ball of his new spell.

    All the while, Buttler's counter-attack continued. Jack Leach did his usual job, holding up an end for the established batsman, and Buttler teed off.

    He moved past 50 and kept swinging, but some clever bowling and defensive field placings meant Buttler was unable to really cash in late.

    Buttler will pick up his mission on day two though, with this Test very nicely poised after an intriguing opening day.

    See how the action unfolded in our live blog.

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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