September 24, 2023

Broad bows out with match-winning wicket as England draw Ashes

Woakes’ double strike revives England’s bid to level Ashes

London (AFP) – Stuart Broad enjoyed a fairytale finish as England beat Australia by 49 runs to win the fifth Test at The Oval on Monday and end the Ashes series all square at 2-2.

Australia, chasing a mammoth 384 to win, slumped from 264-3 to 334 all out, with retiring paceman Broad wrapping up the match with the final two wickets.

England did the bulk of the damage when, after a rain break of more than two hours, they took four Australia wickets for 11 runs in 19 balls.

Off-spinner Moeen Ali (3-76) and all-rounder Chris Woakes (4-50) led the way before Broad, England’s all-time leading Ashes bowler, polished off the tail.

“I thought Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali set the tone absolutely unbelievably,” Broad, who announced on Saturday he would be retiring after this match, told Sky Sports.

“Once we got a couple we really started to believe. The crowd were unbelievable. It was so loud and we just jumped on the back of that.

“When you make that decision you wonder what your last ball will be so to take a wicket to win an Ashes Test match is pretty cool.”

‘Fair reflection’

England captain Ben Stokes added: “I think 2-2 is a fair reflection of the teams literally going toe to toe. Australia are world Test champions, they are a quality team.

“I don’t think many teams would have been able to respond from 2-0 down (like we did).”

Australia captain Pat Cummins agreed a drawn series was a fair result.

“We can be hugely proud of retaining The Ashes. It is no easy feat against a high-quality side in English conditions,” he said.

Cummins’s men, as the holders, had already retained the urn but this defeat means Australia remain without an Ashes series win in England since 2001.

“We were over here to win the Ashes,” said Cummins. “Unfortunately it was not to be.”

When play resumed after the rain delay, Australia were 238-3, needing 146 more runs for victory to finish a tour they started by routing India in last month’s World Test Championship final at The Oval.

Steve Smith, dropped at leg gully by Stokes just before the interval, was 40 not out and left-hander Travis Head 31 not out.

Moeen triggers collapse

The pair had extended their fourth-wicket stand to 95 when off-spinner Moeen, who later confirmed this had also been his last Test before retirement, turned a ball out of the rough.

Head, on 43, tried to drive, with Joe Root holding a routine catch at first slip.

Australia then lost their star batsman when Smith fell for 54, edging paceman Woakes to Zak Crawley at second slip.

The tourists slipped to 274-6 when Moeen had Mitchell Marsh caught superbly by diving wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Woakes and Crawley then combined to dismiss Mitchell Starc, the leading bowler in the series with 23 wickets, for a duck.

Cummins was next to go, caught by Stokes off Moeen for nine.

But with Australia needing 55 to win, Broad produced a brilliant delivery to take tailender Todd Murphy’s outside edge, with Bairstow holding another fine diving catch.

Australia were on the brink of defeat at 329-9.

Broad then had Alex Carey edging behind only for Crawley to drop a tough low chance at second slip before the 37-year-old rounded things off by having the wicketkeeper caught behind.

Earlier, Woakes — often one of England’s unsung heroes but named as both the player of the match and series — reduced Australia to 141-2 by removing openers David Warner (60) and Usman Khawaja (72) in quick succession.

The left-handed batsmen had made an admirable start to the chase but history was always against Australia.

Had they reached their target, it would have been the second-highest successful fourth-innings run chase in a Test in England, behind the celebrated 1948 Australia side’s 404-3 at Headingley.

It would have also surpassed the highest-such winning pursuit in 143 years of Test cricket at The Oval, which remains England’s 263-9 against Australia in 1902.


Chris Woakes removed Australia openers David Warner and Usman Khawaja to revive England’s hopes of a series-levelling win on the last day of the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval on Monday.

The left-handed batsmen had both made fine fifties to take Australia to 140-0 in pursuit of a mammoth target of 384 runs.

But Woakes, on an overcast morning and with a pitch freshened by rain — classic English conditions for swing and seam bowling — removed both batsmen in a burst of two wickets for one run in seven balls to reduce the tourists to 141-2.

Australia, as the holders, are already assured of retaining the Ashes at 2-1 up in the series.

They resumed on 135-0, with Warner 58 not and Khawaja unbeaten on 69, looking marginal favourites to complete a 3-1 series win and a first Ashes campaign triumph in England since 2001.

England pace great Stuart Broad, who on Saturday made a shock announcement he would retire after the match, took up the attack as the 37-year-old sought to dismiss Warner for the 18th time in Tests.

But it was Woakes who made the breakthrough that England so desperately needed when a good-length ball, angled across Warner, nipped off the seam and took the outside edge to give wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow a simple catch.

Warner was out for a well-made 60 and it was not long before Khawaja, the leading run-scorer in the series, followed him.

Khawaja was lbw to Woakes for 72 after being caught on the crease in front of middle and leg stumps by a full-length delivery.

He reviewed in the hope the ball had pitched outside leg stump, but replays upheld umpire Joel Wilson’s initial decision.

For all the fine start to their run-chase, history is against Australia.

If they reach their target, it will be the eighth-highest fourth-innings total to win any Test and the second-highest in England, behind Australia’s 404-3 at Headingley in 1948.

It would also be a new ground record — the highest successful fourth-innings chase in a Test at The Oval is England’s 263-9 against Australia way back in 1902.