May 24, 2024

Broad Bows Out With Match-winning Wicket As England Draw Ashes

Got him – England’s Moeen Ali celebrates his dismissal of Australia’s Travis Head in the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval
AFP

Stuart Broad enjoyed a fairytale finish as England beat Australia by 49 runs to win the fifth Test at The Oval on Monday and end the Ashes series all square at 2-2.

Australia, chasing a mammoth 384 to win, slumped from 264-3 to 334 all out, with retiring paceman Broad wrapping up the match with the final two wickets.

England did the bulk of the damage when, after a rain break of more than two hours, they took four Australia wickets for 11 runs in 19 balls.

Off-spinner Moeen Ali (3-76) and all-rounder Chris Woakes (4-50) led the way before Broad, England’s all-time leading Ashes bowler, polished off the tail.

“I thought Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali set the tone absolutely unbelievably,” Broad, who announced on Saturday he would be retiring after this match, told Sky Sports.

“Once we got a couple we really started to believe. The crowd were unbelievable. It was so loud and we just jumped on the back of that.

“When you make that decision you wonder what your last ball will be so to take a wicket to win an Ashes Test match is pretty cool.”

England captain Ben Stokes added: “I think 2-2 is a fair reflection of the teams literally going toe to toe. Australia are world Test champions, they are a quality team.

“I don’t think many teams would have been able to respond from 2-0 down (like we did).”

Australia captain Pat Cummins agreed a drawn series was a fair result.

“We can be hugely proud of retaining The Ashes. It is no easy feat against a high-quality side in English conditions,” he said.

Cummins’s men, as the holders, had already retained the urn but this defeat means Australia remain without an Ashes series win in England since 2001.

“We were over here to win the Ashes,” said Cummins. “Unfortunately it was not to be.”

When play resumed after the rain delay, Australia were 238-3, needing 146 more runs for victory to finish a tour they started by routing India in last month’s World Test Championship final at The Oval.

Steve Smith, dropped at leg gully by Stokes just before the interval, was 40 not out and left-hander Travis Head 31 not out.

The pair had extended their fourth-wicket stand to 95 when off-spinner Moeen, who later confirmed this had also been his last Test before retirement, turned a ball out of the rough.

Head, on 43, tried to drive, with Joe Root holding a routine catch at first slip.

Australia then lost their star batsman when Smith fell for 54, edging paceman Woakes to Zak Crawley at second slip.

The tourists slipped to 274-6 when Moeen had Mitchell Marsh caught superbly by diving wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Woakes and Crawley then combined to dismiss Mitchell Starc, the leading bowler in the series with 23 wickets, for a duck.

Cummins was next to go, caught by Stokes off Moeen for nine.

But with Australia needing 55 to win, Broad produced a brilliant delivery to take tailender Todd Murphy’s outside edge, with Bairstow holding another fine diving catch.

Australia were on the brink of defeat at 329-9.

Broad then had Alex Carey edging behind only for Crawley to drop a tough low chance at second slip before the 37-year-old rounded things off by having the wicketkeeper caught behind.

Earlier, Woakes — often one of England’s unsung heroes but named as both the player of the match and series — reduced Australia to 141-2 by removing openers David Warner (60) and Usman Khawaja (72) in quick succession.

The left-handed batsmen had made an admirable start to the chase but history was always against Australia.

Had they reached their target, it would have been the second-highest successful fourth-innings run chase in a Test in England, behind the celebrated 1948 Australia side’s 404-3 at Headingley.

It would have also surpassed the highest-such winning pursuit in 143 years of Test cricket at The Oval, which remains England’s 263-9 against Australia in 1902.

Stuart Broad (centre) celebrates with England teammates after the home side won the fifth and final Ashes Test
Stuart Broad (centre) celebrates with England teammates after the home side won the fifth and final Ashes Test
AFP

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