Australian openers David Warner (58 not out) and Usman Khawaja (69 not out) hit unbeaten fifties to take the tourists to 135 for no loss in 38 overs in pursuit of chasing a mammoth 384 runs before heavy rain forced an early end to day four’s play in the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval on Sunday.
Veteran fast bowler Stuart Broad, who hit a six on facing his last ball in Test cricket, is wicketless so far in the last innings of his playing career. With rain predicted for day five’s play, England would be praying the weather clears up for Broad to produce a final magic spell on Monday.
In the morning, England resumed their second innings from 389/9, with Broad greeted by a guard of honour from the Australia team and a standing ovation from a packed crowd of spectators at the Oval.
Broad couldn’t get a run on the first five deliveries from Mitchell Starc but managed to pull the left-arm pacer over mid-wicket for six. It turned out to be Broad’s final ball he faced in Test cricket as Anderson, who turns 41 on Sunday, fell lbw to off-spinner Todd Murphy in the following over.
Anderson’s dismissal meant England were bowled out for 395 in 81.5 overs, giving Australia a target of 384 to chase. Broad was not out on eight in his final Test innings with the bat, with Starc and Murphy taking four wickets each.
Broad has dismissed Warner 17 times in Test cricket, but neither he nor the rest of England’s bowling line-up was able to separate Warner and Khawaja. Warner, despite being shaken up by a high full toss from James Anderson, was able to get boundaries whenever a chance came and got his fifty in 90 balls.
Khawaja, leading the run charts in the series, reached his fifty in 110 balls when he edged tearaway quick Mark Wood for a boundary. During his innings, Khawaja also became the 21st Australian cricketer to score 5000 Test runs, as the Australian opener amassed an unbeaten 135-run stand.
Off-spinner Moeen Ali, bowling despite struggling with a groin injury, got a couple of deliveries to turn sharply, with Joe Root getting some turn too on his part-time off-breaks. Rain then came in the second session and put an end to day four’s play, with Australia 249 runs away from taking the Ashes 3-1 and England needing ten wickets to level the series at 2-2.
Australia 295 & 135 for no loss in 38 overs (Usman Khawaja 69 not out, David Warner 58 not out) trail England 283 & 395 all out in 81.5 overs (Joe Root 91, Jonny Bairstow 78; Mitchell Starc 4-100, Todd Murphy 4-110) by 249 runs.
Press Release, Source: IANS