Ashes: England win final Test by 135 runs to level series
England ended their memorable summer by earning a 2-2 draw in the Ashes with a 135-run defeat of Australia in the fifth Test.
On a beautifully sunny day at The Oval, England set Australia 399 to win and bowled them out for 263 to square the contest with their oldest enemies in a year when they lifted the World Cup for the first time.
Australia retain the urn they won in 2017-18, but miss out on a first series win in England since 2001, while an Ashes series is drawn for the first time in 47 years.
From 313-8 overnight, England added 16 to be all out for 329 and leave Australia in need of pulling off the highest run-chase in an Ashes Test since 1948.
In conditions that remained relatively good for batting, there was the slightest chance that Steve Smith could end his prolific summer with one more stroke of genius.
There was disbelief, then delight, when Smith turned Stuart Broad to a diving Ben Stokes at leg slip for 23 – his lowest score of the series by 57 runs.
England were still held up by Mathew Wade’s combative century, but after he was stumped off Joe Root, the last three wickets fell for four runs, with victory completed by Root’s stunning grab of Josh Hazlewood.
It means they end coach Trevor Bayliss’ reign with a win, while both sides have 56 points and sit joint-fourth in the World Test Championship.
What they said
England captain Joe Root, speaking to TMS: “I thought we were brilliant. To bounce back from a very difficult and emotional week, to come and play in the manner we have, the team has character in abundance. This was more of a template of how to play moving forward. It is a step in the right direction. I am very proud of everyone’s effort throughout the summer.”
England Man-of-the-Series Ben Stokes: “It was disappointing to know we couldn’t get the Ashes back but we came here with a lot of pride and looking to draw the series. I’ll look back on winning at Headingley in a few years’ time with fond memories probably, but I’d swap it for winning the Ashes still.”
Australia captain Tim Paine on TMS: “The urn is what we came to get. We knew the rules around the Ashes and a draw is good enough. It’s mission accomplished, which is fantastic. I don’t think we ran out of gas. We were outplayed and dropped catches.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan: “Australia deserved to retain the Ashes. “England have got to celebrate the fact that a few days ago Australia retained the Ashes and we all expected Australia to blow them away this week. With the ball in particular they have been exceptional.” (BBC Sport)