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21 Sep 2019 6:18
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Cricket

    The Ashes: England on top as Australia's batsmen, bar Steve Smith, struggle on day two at The Oval

    Steve Smith's score of 80 — incredibly his lowest of the series — isn't enough to rescue a misfiring Australian batting line-up as England takes control of the fifth Test at The Oval.


    Steve Smith remains head and shoulders above his teammates, but even he could not prevent Australia crumbling on day two of the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval.

    Australia was bowled out for 225 late on the second day after Smith played a nearly lone hand of 80 in a disappointing team batting performance.

    It was Smith's 10th consecutive half-century against England, but his dismissal felt like a victory for England, which was led by the excellent Jofra Archer (6-62).

    England had a tricky few overs to get through at the conclusion of the day and managed to do so, moving the score to 0-9 and the lead to 78.

    The day started with the last two English wickets — Jos Buttler and Jack Leach — falling for the addition of just 23 runs, as Mitch Marsh polished off his five-wicket haul in his return to the Test team.

    Then normal service resumed for the Australian batting line-up with David Warner (5) nicking off, although there were some questions about the third-umpire technology that sent him on his way, as the on-field decision of not out was overturned despite UltraEdge showing a spike before the ball reached the bat.

    Marcus Harris (3) followed him off the field when he nicked Jofra Archer to the slips, uniting Marnus Labuschagne and Smith at 2-14.

    Australia's most in-form batsmen went about rebuilding things, again, and Labuschagne went within two runs of another half-century, which would have been his fifth from six Ashes innings, but fell short when Archer trapped him LBW.

    Recalled England all-rounder Sam Curran then got in on the act, dismissing Matthew Wade for 19, and regularly troubling Smith with swing and angle across him from over the wicket.

    Marsh failed to transfer his bowling heroics to his batting, coming and going for 17, becoming Archer's fourth victim when he top-edged a pull shot to Leach at deep backward square leg.

    Tim Paine and Pat Cummins fell in successive deliveries to Curran, who was unable to complete his hat-trick bowling to Peter Siddle.

    All the while, Smith was batting with a calmness his teammates lacked. He moved past 50, played some sensational shots and overcame some good periods of English bowling.

    And then, incredibly, he got out.

    On just 80 — his lowest score of the series — Smith missed a straight one from Chris Woakes and was immediately given out LBW, no review necessary.

    Nathan Lyon joined Siddle and had a bit of fun, slogging the bowling around impressively for a quickfire 25, before an incredible knuckle-ball yorker from Archer ended the innings.

    It also gave Archer his sixth wicket of the innings, a richly deserved reward for the rising star's best bowling performance since his debut at Lord's.

    Australia was soon put out of its misery, and in some style. Siddle (18) cut Archer towards Burns at gully, who dived full length to complete a low, one-handed screamer of a catch.

    England's brief stint with the bat was not without event — Burns was hit on the helmet by Cummins, Joe Denly was dropped by Marcus Harris in the gully off Josh Hazlewood's bowling, and Burns had a shocking LBW decision overturned from the last ball of the day.

    But the English openers survived unscathed, the lead slightly extended and home-town optimism at a high.

    See how the action unfolded in our live blog.

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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