Australia, England locked in battle after compelling second day at The Oval

SUMMARY: England 283 all out from 54.4 overs (Harry Brook 85, Ben Duckett 41; Mitchell Starc 4-82) vs Australia 295 all out from 103.1 overs (Steve Smith 71, Usman Khawaja 47; Chris Woakes 3-61)


England’s final Ashes Test against Australia hangs in the balance after a compelling battle for control on the second day at The Oval.

With Australia almost devoid of any intent to score, England gradually made inroads in a superb bowling display to reduce the tourists to 185-7.

Marnus Labuschagne set the tone by taking 82 balls over his nine but after he was spectacularly caught by Joe Root at first slip, England struck at regular intervals.

Steve Smith, who continued his fine record on this ground with 71, reversed the momentum and set Australia on course for a slender advantage.

Smith added 54 with Pat Cummins, with the skipper himself then sharing a vital 49 with Todd Murphy, who made an enterprising 34.

The final act was a wonderful boundary catch by England captain Ben Stokes to dismiss Cummins for 36, leaving Australia 295 all out and leading by 12 runs.

England’s seam bowlers were collectively excellent, their performance all the more impressive given the fact off-spinner Moeen Ali played no part because of a groin injury. Chris Woakes enjoyed most success, picking up 3-61.

It left the fifth Test of a wonderful series beautifully poised, with England’s chances of levelling at 2-2 almost identical to Australia’s hopes of winning 3-1. (BBC Sport)

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