Close Up Of Cricket Ball | Cricket Today

The script was written by Stuart Broad yesterday as he took the winning two wickets to secure a 49 run win for England to deny Australia a first overseas Ashes cricket series victory since 2001. 37 year old Broad had announced on the evening of day three that this would be his final game of cricket. He produced two trademark deliveries to left handers Todd Murphy and Alex Carey to end Australia’s resistance, giving this dramatic series the end it deserved after rain had threatened to get in the way once more.

An Excellent Start To The Final Day

Australia would have been confident going into day five that they could pull off an unlikely run chase after a gritty opening stand from David Warner and Usman Khawaja left them needing 249 with all ten second innings wickets in the bank. Conditions looked different from the outset though with the ball (which was controversially changed late on day four) doing more, Chris Woakes in particular bowled beautifully. Woakes located Warner’s edge to end the openers 140 run opening partnership then trapped Khawaja in front for 72. Khawaja pipped England cricket team opener Zak Crawley to become the highest run scorer of the series during his knock. Mark Wood, struggling with a bruised heel then took the outside edge of Marnus Labuschagne into the safe hands of Crawley to compound England’s excellent start to the final day.

England Close Off The Series

Then came a partnership Steve Smith and Travis Head added 95 for the fourth wicket and were starting to swing the game back in Australia’s direction before Head edged Moeen Ali to slip. This triggered a collapse of four wickets for eleven runs, ripping the heart out of Australia’s run chase. Mitchell Marsh fell to Ali, thanks to a superb reaction grab from Jonny Bairstow the outstanding Woakes got rid of danger man Smith after recording his second half century of the match, then Mitchell Starc’s loose drive again found the hands of Crawley at slip for his third catch. Skipper Pat Cummins added twenty with Carey before he was caught off Moeen by opposite number Ben Stokes at leg slip.

Like in the first innings Todd Murphy showed heart and skill with the bat, along with Carey chipping away at the runs required. Just as England were maybe starting to get a little nervous Ben Stokes turned, for one last time, to Broad who produced a brilliant final spell for England to end the game with two perfect away swingers that were feathered to Jonny Bairtstow to send an emotional Oval crowd into raptures.

An Ashes Series To Remember

Both sides may reflect on what might have been, the Australia cricket team after all were 2-0 ahead with three to play and must have felt an elusive series victory in England was within their grasp. England will feel they could and should have won one of the first two Tests and were denied victory by the Manchester rain in a fourth test they were dominating. But as the England captain Ben Stokes said in the after match presentation “hindsight never loses”. In truth it’s better to reflect on a brilliant series which ebbed and flowed throughout and an outstanding six weeks or so for Test cricket. Australia take home the urn, but England come away with plenty of plaudits on a day and series that will live long in the memory.