Australia look to spoil England’s Broad farewell as final Ashes Test poised for thrilling finish - GulfToday

Australia look to spoil England’s Broad farewell as final Ashes Test poised for thrilling finish


England's Stuart Broad in the field on day four of the fifth Ashes Test match at The Oval ground in London on Sunday. AFP

Play was abandoned for the day at the Oval on Sunday with Australia needing 249 more runs with all wickets intact to beat England in the fifth Ashes Test, setting up a potentially thrilling finish to a classic series.

Rain had already frustrated both teams on the fourth day with Australia going to an early tea -- which turned into stumps - on 135-0 in its second innings after 38 overs.

Broad-farewell Stuart Broad is pushed ahead by James Anderson to receive a guard of honour from the Australian players as he takes to the field before the start of the day's play. Reuters

Australia is chasing a target of 384 - 121 more than the ground record - after quickly dismissing England for 395 in the morning. There was still time for a swashbuckling six from Stuart Broad, who announced Saturday night he is retiring from cricket after this match.

David Warner (58 not out) and Usman Khawaja (69 not out) are at the crease. Holder Australia leads the five-test series 2-1 and has already retained the urn.

England pacer Mark Wood was finally introduced after lunch for the 33rd over of the innings and Australia brought up two milestones. A Warner single saw the hundred partnership for the first wicket reached and Khawaja edged the next ball for four to go to a third half-century of the series.

Warner followed his opening partner to fifty, reaching the milestone off 90 balls in his final innings in England, having signaled his intention to retire in January.

In the next over, Khawaja cut away for four to move on to 60, which took his total of runs for the series to 483, moving him top of the run-scoring charts for this Ashes ahead of Zak Crawley’s 480-run effort.

Broad bowled six overs for 15 but was unable to give fans the moment they wanted above all - an 18th career dismissal of Warner, though there's still time. England, which lacked the killer touch in the last rain-hit test, needs 10 wickets on the final day of an absorbing series to secure a 2-2 scoreline and a share of the spoils. But there is now a real chance that the visitors could win outright on English soil for the first time in 22 years with some rain expected but not as much as Sunday.

It would be a fine achievement if Australia managed it, requiring the eighth-highest fourth-innings chase in test history, the second-best from an Australian side and the second-best in this country.

Play was suspended at 2:41 p.m. when rain arrived and an early tea was called.

The ground staff at the Oval brought on the covers during a drinks break with the rain falling and predicted to last for the rest of Sunday. Play was finally abandoned at 4:47 p.m. local time.

Earlier, Broad’s surprise announcement on Saturday night that he would retire after this series ensured all eyes were on him as England resumed on 389-9.

Broad, who was given a guard of honor by the touring side when he came out to bat, pulled the last delivery of Mitchell Starc’s opening over into the stands and it proved to be his final flay of the bat. Todd Murphy trapped 41-year-old birthday boy James Anderson lbw five balls later to dismiss England with Broad unbeaten on eight.

There would be no early heroics with the ball for Broad though, with Warner and Khawaja guiding Australia to lunch on 75 without loss before rain arrived.

Moeen Ali bowled after recovering sufficiently from his groin strain on Thursday but leaked runs initially and Australia’s openers brought up their fourth fifty stand of the series in the 14th over.

Rain ruined England’s victory charge at Old Trafford last week but this felt more like a welcome break for a home side which was losing the initiative with every run scored.



Scoreboard at stumps on Sunday:

England 1st Innings 283

Australia 1st Innings 295

England 2nd Innings (overnight: 389-9)

S Broad not out    8

J Anderson lbw b Murphy    8

Extras (lb4, nb3)    7

Total (all out, 81.5 overs, 402 mins)    395

Bowling: Starc 20-2-100-4; Hazlewood 15-0-67-1 (1nb); Cummins 16-0-79-1 (1nb); Marsh 8-0-35-0 (1nb); Murphy 22.5-0-110-4


Australia 2nd Innings (target 384)

D Warner not out    58

U Khawaja not out    69

Extras (b5, lb2, nb1)    8

Total (0 wkts, 38 overs, 161 mins)    135

To bat: M Labuschagne, S Smith, T Head, M Marsh, A Carey, M Starc, P Cummins, T Murphy, J Hazlewood

Bowling: Broad 6-2-15-0; Anderson 10-4-34-0; Woakes 5-3-5-0; Ali 5-0-19-0; Root 9-0-39-0; Wood 3-0-16-0

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