The Ashes 2023 series has been nothing short of tumultuous, and the fifth Test at The Oval was no exception. With the crowd at its loudest, England showcased a sensational second innings, taking control of the match and setting themselves up as standout favorites for the final innings.
A Memorable Day at The Oval
Day three at The Oval will be remembered not only for England’s dominant performance but also for the announcement made by Stuart Broad. After the day’s play, Broad revealed that this would be his 167th and final Test match. With a win in his sights, Broad will resume his innings alongside fellow veteran James Anderson, hoping to add some bonus runs before focusing on bowling in pursuit of a 2-2 series scoreline.
England’s “Best of” Performance
England used their final Test innings of the summer to deliver a “best of” performance, showcasing contributions from various players. The leading run-scorers of the series, Zak Crawley and Joe Root, continued their impressive form. Crawley’s score of 73 took his tally for the series to 480 runs, making him the clubhouse leader on the run-scoring charts. Root fell just short of his second century of the series, but his engaging 91 added valuable runs to England’s total. Jonny Bairstow, often criticized for his wicketkeeping, reminded everyone of his batting prowess with a punchy 75.
Australia’s bowling attack seemed secondary to proceedings as England dominated the game. Despite Mitchell Starc’s 4 for 94 and Todd Murphy’s 3 for 110, Australia struggled to contain England’s aggressive batting. The partisan crowd in south London added to the pressure on the Australian team. With England dictating the flow of play, Australia’s bowlers managed just 80 overs in the day.
England’s Strong Start
England wasted no time in taking the lead, with Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett racing out of the blocks. Crawley, reminiscent of his performance at the start of the series, struck the first ball for four through the covers. The opening partnership between Crawley and Duckett reached 79 runs, taking their tally for the series to an impressive 359 runs.
Ben Stokes at No. 3
With Moeen Ali unable to bat higher than five due to a groin strain, Ben Stokes came in at No. 3 for the first time since November 2018. Stokes and Crawley built a solid partnership, reaching lunch on 130 for 1 from 25 overs. Stokes showed the necessary application, and the duo added 61 runs before Crawley was dismissed by Pat Cummins.
Root and Stokes Take Charge
Joe Root joined Stokes and together they took charge of the innings. Root survived an early scare when he was given not out after an lbw appeal by Josh Hazlewood. Australia opted for a review, but the umpire’s call on line of impact saved Root. He capitalized on his luck and clicked through the gears, scoring boundaries off Mitchell Marsh and Mitchell Starc.
Root reached his half-century from just 42 deliveries, while Stokes continued to contribute with the bat. However, Stokes fell to Todd Murphy, attempting to replicate Root’s aggression. Harry Brook briefly showed his power-hitting abilities but was dismissed soon after. Despite the mini-collapse, Root’s presence at the crease provided stability.
Bairstow and Moeen’s Contributions
Jonny Bairstow, known for his aggressive batting, played a controlled innings alongside Root. The duo formed the most productive partnership of the innings, adding 110 runs to the total. Bairstow reached a fifty in 60 deliveries, showcasing a reserved dominance. However, Bairstow’s innings ended when he was dismissed by Mitchell Starc.
Moeen Ali, batting lower than usual due to his groin strain, added valuable runs to England’s total. He played some classy shots, including a picture-perfect straight drive off Starc. However, he was eventually caught by Josh Hazlewood. With England’s lead at 320, the final pair of Broad and Anderson took the team to stumps.
As Anderson walked out to bat, the crowd greeted him with a standing ovation, unaware that it would be Broad’s final innings. Anderson, despite being struck on the arm, showed resilience and ensured that England’s innings extended to day four. He even survived an lbw appeal off the penultimate ball of the day, overturning the decision.
With England in a commanding position, the final day of the fifth Test promises excitement and intense cricket. The crowd at The Oval will have a chance to show their appreciation for Stuart Broad, who has made a significant impact on English cricket over the years. As the series concludes, both teams will strive to leave a lasting impression.
Day three of the Ashes 2023 fifth Test at The Oval witnessed England’s dominance as they took control of the match. With standout performances from Zak Crawley, Joe Root, and Jonny Bairstow, England ensured they went into the final innings of the Test as favorites. Australia’s bowling attack struggled to contain England’s aggressive batting, and the partisan crowd added to their woes. As the series nears its end, both teams will be determined to leave their mark in this tumultuous Ashes battle.