By BV Swagath
Not much of action took place on the second day’s play of the fifth and final Ashes Test thanks to persistent rain in the morning. Almost half of the day’s play was lost due to rain and the slow England over rate. Australia looking to atleast win one Test in this series had declared their first innings at 492 for 9 in 128.5 overs.
Steven Smith, the overnight batsman, scored his maiden Test century. Smith finished with 138 from 241 balls with 16 fours and a couple of sixes. England batted out for 17.3 overs before bad light put an end to the proceedings. The hosts did well to end up with 32 for no loss under fading light conditions at The Oval.
Play finally got underway at The Oval after one and a half sessions were washed out due to light rain. Australia lost night watchman Peter Siddle (23) early, clean bowled by a late outswinger from James Anderson. The visitors got the momentum going with Brad Haddin scoring 30 from 57 balls while debutant James Faulkner chipped in with 23 from 21 balls. Steven Smith at the other end moved to 138* from 241 balls with 16 fours and 2 sixes before Michael Clarke declared the innings. Australia settled with 492 for 9 in 128.5 overs.
England openers Alastair Cook (17* from 50 balls) and Joe Root (13* from 55 balls) negotiated 17.3 overs before stumps against some quality seam bowling.