Crawley leads England charge in fifth Ashes Test

England great Broad to retire from cricket after Ashes finale,

London (AFP) – Zak Crawley’s latest ‘Bazball’ batting display helped England make a blistering start to their second innings in the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval on Saturday.

England, in a match they have to win to square the series at 2-2, were 130-1 in their second innings at lunch on the third day — a lead of 118 runs.

Crawley, the leading run-scorer in the series, was 71 not out off just 73 balls and England captain Ben Stokes unbeaten on 12.

England had yet to start their innings when play resumed on the third day, with Australia 12 runs ahead after Steve Smith’s 71 had led them to 295 all out.

But England needed only one over to erase that deficit.

Crawley, who had struck a cover-drive for four off the first ball of the series, repeated the shot off Saturday’s first ball in a clear sign of England’s intentions.

But it was Ben Duckett who was the more aggressive of England’s openers.

He drove Starc’s fifth ball for a four through mid-on before clipping the sixth, a half-volley, through midwicket for another boundary as England took the lead.

Starc’s first two overs cost an expensive 22 runs and Australia captain Pat Cummins brought himself on at the Pavilion End in place of the left-arm fast bowler.

Duckett, however, kept up the momentum, bringing up England’s fifty in just 8.4 overs.

But a partnership worth 79 came to an end when Starc produced a full delivery that Duckett could only edge behind to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

Duckett was initially given not out but Australia successfully reviewed and the left-hander departed for 42.

With Moeen Ali ruled out of batting in his listed number three position after being off the field all day Friday with a groin injury, Stokes promoted himself.

The skipper walked out to huge cheers from a capacity crowd grateful for his role in England’s red-ball revival during the past year.

Cummins brought Todd Murphy on before Stokes had time to settle but Crawley swept him for four.

And the 25-year-old right-hander, who made a superb 189 in the rain-marred drawn fourth Test at Old Trafford, followed up by going down the pitch to drive Murphy through the covers for another stylish boundary.

His three off Starc took Crawley to a 61-ball fifty including five fours.

The sunny overhead conditions, with the ball not swinging in the air or deviating much off the pitch, were ideal for attacking batting.

Crawley continued to go for his shots, pulling a short ball from Starc for four before hammering two boundaries off successive Murphy deliveries with hard-hit sweeps.

Australia, as the holders, have already retained the Ashes at 2-1 up.

But they must avoid defeat at The Oval if they are to win their first Ashes series in England since 2001.


England great Stuart Broad said Saturday he will retire from all cricket following the conclusion of the ongoing fifth Ashes Test against Australia at The Oval, describing his career as “a wonderful ride”.

The 37-year-old seamer, the fifth most successful bowler in Test history with 602 wickets, told Sky Sports after stumps on the third day: “Tomorrow (Sunday) or Monday will be my last game of cricket.

“It has been a wonderful ride and a huge privilege to wear the Nottinghamshire and England badge as much as I have.”

Broad, the son of former England opening batsman Chris Broad, added: “I am loving cricket as much as I ever have. I have always wanted to finish at the top and this series feels like one of the most enjoyable and entertaining I have been a part of.”

Broad, now appearing in the 167th Test of his career, made his debut in December 2007 against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Along with fellow veteran fast bowler Jimmy Anderson, he shared one of Test cricket’s most durable partnerships.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while, a few weeks,” said Broad, who has appeared in every home Ashes Test since 2009.

“England v Australia has always been the pinnacle for me.”

Broad was two not out at stumps on the third day in England’s second innings 389-9, with the hosts now 377 runs ahead as they push for a series-levelling win.

“I have loved the battles with Australia that have come my way and the team’s way, I have a love affair with the Ashes and I think I wanted my last bat and bowl to be in Ashes cricket.”