Australia have taken a long stride towards victory in the fifth Ashes Test at the Oval after bowling England out for 149 in the first inning, before enforcing follow on and reducing the hosts to 203 for 6 at stumps on day 3. Logically, England still trail by 129 runs with only four wickets in hand.
When England began their first inning on day 3 from 107 for 8, it took only 40 minute for Australia to take the remaining two wickets. Mitchell Johnson took the both wickets on consecutive deliveries but not before Moeen Ali (30) and Mark Wood (24) add quick 42 runs in the morning session. This included ten boundaries. Infact, Mark Wood has scored all his 24-runs in boundary only. He has been continously scoring twenties and thirties in this series and has not done any harm to his reputation. Wood will make a case for his inclusion in the squad even after Jimmy Anderson return. However, there are too many batting concern for England.
England were bowled out for 149, trail by 332 runs, and Michael Clarke enforced the follow-on for the first time in his career. England came back strongly in the second inning especially Captain Alastair Cook. He played the traditional mode of Test cricket which Australia had done in their first inning. He played with light bottom hand which reeduced the chances of edge going into the hands of slips. He left almost all the deliveries on the fifth stumps or away from it but when he got the short and wide delivery, he was ready to cut and play pull on short balls. But it was very unfortunate for England that none of his mates was ready to copy his technique. Adam Lyth was caught in slip for the 9th time in this series and with only 115 runs in 9 inning, Lyth may not get any other opportunity to play Test cricket i near future. Bell was dropped by Clarke on 3 but again visitors’s skipper caught him on 13. Bell had a below par series apart from his home town Edbagaston where he scored two half centuries. Joe Root (11) became the first batsman to reach 1,000 Test runs in 2015, but hooked Mitchell Johnson to fine leg. Johnny Bairstow (26), not for the first time in his career, was unlucky to be given out caught at short leg when the ball had hit the grill of the fielder’s helmet before he caught it. Ben Stokes (0) had no such excuse when he blindly swiped at one that spun wide from Nathan Lyon and edged to first slip. After five hours and 35 minutes of orthodox resilient batting, Cook found short leg with less than 10 minutes to go for stumps. The England captain’s fine innings came to an end at 85, which meant he has now gone through another home Ashes series without scoring a century.