Ashes: Archer (6-62) gives England upper hand
Jofra Archer took 6-62 to give England the upper hand in the fifth Ashes Test, despite yet more runs from Australia’s Steve Smith on day two at The Oval.
Pace bowler Archer was supported by three wickets from left-armer Sam Curran – including two in two balls – as the tourists were bowled out for 225.
Through it all, Smith stood firm, and it was his wicket – lbw to Chris Woakes for 80 – that England and their supporters celebrated the most.
It says much about Smith’s stellar summer that this was his lowest score of the series and the inability to reach a century felt like a relative failure.
England batted twice in the day. In the morning they went from 271-8 to 294 all out, a total that looked short of par on a flat pitch.
However, that was to discount the incisiveness of Archer and Curran, and the brittleness – bar Smith – of the Australian batting. England were in again 20 minutes before the close.
They were taken to 9-0 – 78 ahead – by Rory Burns and Joe Denly. In a dramatic final over of the day from Josh Hazelwood, Denly was dropped by Marcus Harris at gully and Burns overturned being given lbw off the very last ball.
At 2-1 down, England’s chances of regaining the Ashes have gone, but they are well placed to avoid their first home series defeat since 2014 and first by Australia in 18 years.
They have the opportunity to force Australia out of the game, especially with the surface likely to be deteriorating by the time the tourists come to bat again. (BBC Sport)