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Ashes 2023: England and Australia in fierce contest

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Ashes 2023 Test Match

Fifth LV= Insurance Ashes Test, The Kia Oval (second day out of five)
England 283 (Brook 85, Duckett 41, Starc 4-82)
Australia 295 (Smith 71, Woakes 3-61)
Australia lead by 12 runs

England’s concluding Ashes Test with Australia remains precariously uncertain following a captivating struggle for dominance on day two at The Oval.

Australia displayed minimal effort to increase their score, allowing England to make steady progress due to their excellent bowling, leaving the visitors at 185-7.

The initial pace was set by Marnus Labuschagne, taking 82 balls for his nine, but following a spectacular catch by Joe Root, England began striking consistently.

Steve Smith, maintaining his excellent record at this ground with 71, shifted the momentum and put Australia on track for a narrow lead.

Smith contributed 54 with Pat Cummins, who then paired with Todd Murphy to add an important 49, with Murphy contributing a proactive 34.

The final chapter was written by England captain Ben Stokes with a spectacular boundary catch to send Cummins out at 36, leaving Australia 295 all out and leading by 12 runs.

England’s pace bowlers performed excellently as a unit, particularly impressive given Moeen Ali’s absence due to a groin injury. Chris Woakes emerged the most successful, taking 3-61.

This leaves the fifth Test in an intriguing position, with England’s chances of tying the series 2-2 nearly equivalent to Australia’s prospects of taking it 3-1.

Australia bowled out but clinch a 12-run lead over England – a summary of day two’s events.
Struggle at The Oval

After England’s rush to 283 in less than 55 overs provided plenty of excitement on day one, day two turned into a slower paced struggle sprinkled with drama.

Highlights included Root’s extraordinary catch to dismiss Labuschagne, Stuart Broad’s crowd-rousing performance taking two wickets in consecutive overs, George Ealham’s near miss run-out of Smith, and the climactic catch by Stokes.

However, the overriding theme was Australia’s cautious approach towards England’s total.

This could have been due to England’s high-quality bowling, difficult conditions, a deliberate contrast to England’s aggressive style, or a combination of these factors. Regardless, Australia seemed to be batting themselves into a tight spot.

Smith surpassed Don Bradman’s 553 runs at The Oval, becoming the leading overseas run-scorer at this ground, and maintained a steadier pace, ably supported by Cummins and Murphy.

The stage is now set for England’s second innings to shape the match when play resumes on the third day.

England have a chance to set a formidable target, while Australia could potentially bowl England out cheaply for an easier fourth-inning chase.

Given the nature of the series so far, a nail-biting finish seems both likely and appropriate.

Australia’s cautious play almost backfires

Australia’s cautious approach could have proved disastrous. From 61-1 from 25 overs overnight, there were few signs of speeding up the game on Friday, which played into England’s favor.

The visitors didn’t score off the bat until the 27th ball of the day, and the 47.4 overs it took them to reach 100 was the slowest in an Ashes Test for 33 years. When England were all out for 283 at 54.4 overs, Australia stood at 130-4.

Australia’s slow pace wouldn’t have mattered had they batted England out of contention. However, with the ball swinging for most of the day, chances for wickets were plentiful, and England capitalized.

Smith played crucial straight drives and found good backing from Cummins. After Smith’s uncharacteristic skied lead to his dismissal by Woakes, Murphy hit three sixes to edge Australia into the lead.

With the match set to continue tomorrow, it’s poised to be shaped by England’s second innings.

“We want to put up a challenging total to make it hard for them to chase down. I can’t see us changing our approach, we have positive players who want to display their skills,” England’s Jimmy Anderson commented to the BBC’s Test Match Special.

Australia’s Steve Smith told TMS: “It’s been a game of ebbs and flows, and we’re somewhat disappointed. The pitch was good, quite playable. Several of us made good starts but couldn’t secure a big score. With a 12-run lead, it’s effectively a one-innings game from here.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ashes 2023 Test Match

Who scored the most runs for Australia on the second day of the final Ashes Test?

Steve Smith scored the most runs for Australia, contributing 71 runs.

What was England’s score at the end of the first day?

England had scored 283 runs at the end of the first day.

Who was the most successful bowler for England on the second day?

Chris Woakes was the most successful bowler for England, taking 3 wickets for 61 runs.

Where is the final Ashes Test being held?

The final Ashes Test is being held at The Kia Oval.

Why was Moeen Ali unable to play on the second day?

Moeen Ali was unable to play on the second day due to a groin injury.

Who took the final catch of the day for England?

The final catch of the day for England was taken by their captain, Ben Stokes.

Who holds the record for the leading overseas run-scorer at The Oval now?

Steve Smith now holds the record for being the leading overseas run-scorer at The Oval, surpassing Don Bradman’s 553 runs.

What is the state of the series before this final Test match?

Before the final Test match, the series stands at 2-1 in favour of Australia.

What could be the possible outcome of this final match?

The fifth Test remains beautifully poised, with England’s chances of leveling the series at 2-2 almost identical to Australia’s chances of winning 3-1.

More about Ashes 2023 Test Match

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CricketLover123 July 28, 2023 - 8:47 pm

Wow, what a battle it’s been! Smith really saved the day for Australia, didn’t he? But England’s not out of the game yet! Can’t wait for day 3, it’s gonna be epic!!

BroadSupporter July 29, 2023 - 12:33 am

Broad’s still got it, doesn’t he? Top of the series’ wicket-taking chart. What a legend!

AshesFan2023 July 29, 2023 - 6:01 am

Too bad for Moeen Ali, that injury’s a real setback for England. Still, gotta give it to their seam bowlers – they really stepped up!

SteveSmithFan1 July 29, 2023 - 6:57 am

smith just keeps getting better, doesn’t he? now the leading overseas run-scorer at The Oval, what an achievement!

CricketGuru999 July 29, 2023 - 8:55 am

It’s too tight to call right now. England or Australia, who will take this one? Guess we’ll find out on day 3. Buckle up, folks! This one’s going down to the wire!

DownUnderDude July 29, 2023 - 3:04 pm

Gotta admit, we Aussies almost batted ourselves into trouble. Gotta pick up the pace, mates!

England4Life July 29, 2023 - 5:33 pm

stokes’ catch, absolutely brilliant! Reminded me of the 2019 World Cup all over again. Here’s hoping we can pull off a win.


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