Ashes: Buttler halts England’s slide after Marsh takes four

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Jos Buttler’s late hitting went some way towards rescuing England after a familiarly disappointing batting performance on the opening day of the final Ashes Test against Australia at The Oval.

Buttler crunched three sixes in his 64 not out to take England to 271-8 in an unbroken stand of 45 with reliable tailender Jack Leach.

The home side had earlier lost five wickets for 56 runs to slide from 170-3 to 226-8.

That position could have been worse for England had Joe Root, who made 57, not been dropped three times, while Rory Burns overturned an lbw decision on the way to 47.

When they were together, Australia captain Tim Paine’s decision to field first after winning the toss looked like backfiring.

The tourists were given the ascendancy by 4-35 from Mitchell Marsh, only for Buttler to launch his sensational counter-attack.

By the end, there was the feeling that England are still short of par on what looks to be a true batting surface, but they have been kept in the game by Buttler.

And the pitch may dry out enough for a fourth-innings chase to be tricky for Australia, though that would require England to first find a way to dismiss the prolific Steve Smith, then post a challenging target. (BBC Sport)

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