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Aussies denied Ashes series win after brutal 6-70 collapse

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England have claimed the final Ashes Test of this enthralling series, winning a tense final day at The Oval by 49 runs.

Chris Woakes did the damage for the home side after a controversial ball change, which seemed to flip the game on its head.

Woakes and Ali ran through Australia after a long rain delay, before Stuart Broad finished the job with some typical magic in his final game.

SCROLL DOWN FOR ALL THE KEY MOMENTS FROM DAY FIVE

3:30AM: STUMPS: ENGLAND WIN BY 49 RUNS!

Stuart Broad does the job one last time!

A vintage around-the-wicket ball leaves the left-handed Carey and it finds the edge on the way to Jonny Bairstow’s gloves.

England win the final Test by 49 runs and ensure a 2-2 series draw.

Australia started the day at 0-135 with Warner and Khawaja cruising, yet a change of ball late on Sunday proved to be a decisive factor.

Warner, Khawaja and Labuschagne were quickly dismissed before Travis Head and Steve Smith saw the visitors through to lunch.

However, that was not without controversy, as Smith gloved one to Ben Stokes, who dropped it during his celebration and Smith survived.

Just as players were coming out to lunch, the rain became a big factor once again.

A long delay eventually ended, and Australia fell apart straight after, losing three of their last recognised batsmen in quick succession.

Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali were superb for the hosts, Woakes especially who was almost unplayable for the entire day.

That left it to Stuart Broad to finish off the tail, with his late magic finishing off the Test match.

Australia will be left to rue what could have been, squandering a great position early on day five, costing themselves a chance of their first series win in England since 2001.

3:20AM: ONE LAST BIT OF BROAD MAGIC

The ageing quick has done the job one last time, dismissing Todd Murphy, immediately after swapping the bails at the non-striker’s end.

Murphy played and missed at two outswingers before that, this time the ball was too good and found the edge, pitching on off-stump and nipped away into the hands of Bairstow.

Josh Hazlewood will come to the crease with still over 50 runs needed for the visitors.

Will Alex Carey open up a bit more now?

Or will Broad finish the deal for England?

An edge from Carey falls agonisingly short of Zak Crawley.

3:10AM: A SMALL, TINY, MINISCULE RAY OF LIGHT

Murphy is not the worst as we have seen, and the young Victorian has played well enough to stay alive out there.

The boundaries have dried up now, with England happy to let Murphy try and swing, while putting the field out when Carey is on strike.

Carey has had some luck this series with drops, and this could be a defining innings in his career, after struggling in the second-half of this series.

Again, there is still an eternity to go, because it seems England will not give up these runs quickly.

Unless Alex Carey keeps hitting Moeen Ali back over his head for six, like he just did.

Few more of those would be nice…

2:50AM: WILL BROAD GET HIS FAIRYTALE ENDING?

Woakes’ unbelievable spell is over for now as Australia get to 300, and Stokes turn to the outgoing Stuart Broad for one last moment of magic.

Remarkable to see he is still well on top of his game, and has again been hard to get a hold of this series for Australia.

Moeen Ali will hold down the other end, and although not the most feared spinner around, the Englishman has been superb this innings.

Although you wouldn’t say his ball that got Pat Cummins was his best.

Alex Carey has been happy to take the runs, putting his faith in young Todd Murphy at the other end, who played very well in the first innings to give them a lead.

And his faith is rewarded, Murphy walks down the track and flicks Broad off the pads for a one-bounce four.

Australia won’t die wondering it seems.

2:30AM: UNDER 100 TO GET, CUMMINS GOES

Alex Carey could not help himself, going to the sweep shot, which he top-edges, luckily it lands a metre wide of the magic man Woakes.

Cummins and Carey have stemmed the bleeding for now, but Woakes looks a man on a mission now.

The skipper looks prepared to still play his shots, a formula that worked at Edgbaston.

You suspect he won’t be taken off for a fair while, given he still has gotten plenty out of this ball.

England have decided not to take the new ball straight away, maybe it would not do as much as this obviously doctored ball? (That was a joke lawyers)

And now it’s Cummins who must go, swinging wildly at one from Ali that he bottom edges and it lands in the hands of Ben Stokes.

Todd Murphy arrives at the crease with 90 runs needed.

Could you imagine if this series was poised at 2-2 right now?

For the sake of the sanity of this blog, lucky it isn’t.

2:10AM: SMITH GOES, MARSH GOES, STARC GOES, ENGLAND ON FIRE

After reaching 50, Steve Smith can’t go on with it, edging to Zak Crawley off Chris Woakes to give England their biggest breakthrough.

That may possibly be the last time Steve Smith plays in England, a country he has dominated.

What a delivery it

After the win predictor had the Aussies on top after the rain delay, you feel that this is now the host’s Test match to lose.

Alex Carey will come to the crease, a man in dire need of some runs, he and Marsh can score quickly however.

And now Mitch Marsh is headed to the sheds!

A faint inside edge hits Marsh on the back leg off Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow takes a terrific catch to remove the dangerous Marsh.

It’s going to take something special to turn this one around.

Mitch Starc also came and went, not much to say about that, it’s Woakes again.

1:55AM: HEAD DRIVES, AND GOES!

Travis Head will want that back, getting enticed by a ball thrown outside off-stump, the ball spun right out of the rough, took the edge and landed in the hands of Joe Root.

That ball did turn sharply on replay, as Mitch Marsh comes to the crease.

There are still 120 runs needed, so with that pivotal breakthrough will Australia continue to be aggressive?

There is still so much time left in the day, you suspect if Steve Smith is there near the end, victory will be in sight for the Aussies.

Mitch Marsh is not mucking around, sweeping Moeen Ali for four off his second delivery.

The Bison does only know one way.

1:50AM: REVISION IN OVERS TONIGHT

There will actually be 47 overs in this final session, not 52 as was initially suggested by the umpires after a miscalculation, no really that happened.

A good shout for LBW on Travis Head is turned down by umpire Joel Wilson, with England electing not to review due to the fact they only have one left.

Stokes seemed very convinced, but his bowler thought otherwise, as the hosts err on the safe side of caution on this occasion.

Hawkeye showed the ball going over leg stump, so a great decision by the spinner.

1:30AM: WILL SMITH MAKE STOKES PAY FOR ALL-TIME GAFFE?

Steve Smith resumes his innings unbeaten on 40 after the break, as Chris Woakes starts the last session.

Woakes bowled exceptionally in his first spell of the day, dismissing both Australian openers.

And straight away the seamer beats Steve Smith in the first over, with a bit of shape coming from the ball.

Maybe they swapped the ball again somehow?

The ACTUAL new ball is due in 13 overs as England turn to Moeen Ali up the other end, who did get some grip from the surface before lunch.

Travis Head, as we’ve seen in the Big Bash and his stint as an opener in India, has been superb as a chaser.

1:05AM: WE’RE BACK ON! (NO MOZZ)

Play is set to resume at 1.20am AEST after the loooooong rain delay cost us a fair chunk of this final day.

The restart time will give us 52 overs of play as the sun starts to appear, meaning every result is absolutely still in play.

What will be worth watching is the light conditions, particularly if England turn to their spinners in order to stay on the field.

This first half-hour will be so pivotal in determining the final result of the 2023 Ashes.

12:45AM: CRICKET ON THE RADAR! (MAYBE)

We will get a pitch inspection at 1am AEST/4pm London time should the rain hold off until then.

The major delay has ground the momentum of this enthralling game to a halt however.

Should the pitch inspection be clear and the rain holds off, you expect play would begin roughly 20 minutes after that, setting up a race to the finish line.

With the rain taking away so many overs, it seems as if the only path to victory is now England’s unless the Aussies get aggressive.

12:30AM: EARLY TEA TAKEN, IS THERE ENOUGH TIME?

There’ll be an early tea at The Oval, with reports that the skies are becoming a bit clearer in jolly old London.

This will be a marathon final session to decide the fate of this Ashes series, will England come out firing again as they did in the first session of the day?

How will Steve Smith combat his extra life? He and Pat Cummins piled on the runs after the failed run-out in the first innings.

Australia will be hoping Smith and Travis Head can go a bit further and possibly steal this game.

Fingers crossed there’s not an anticlimactic finish to what has been a sensational series.

12:05AM: PONTING FUMES AT BALL CHANGE

Ricky Ponting is known for his temper, and the former Aussie skipper let it take over at the lunch break, fuming at the change of ball by the umpires.

The ball change made it near impossible for batsmen in the morning session, as the shinier ball hooped around the ground.

Ponting was not pleased about it, speaking on Sky Sports.

“Last night there were only 11 balls bowled after the change of conditions,” he said.

“The biggest concern I have is the big discrepancy in the condition of the ball chosen to replace it. There is no way in the world you can even look at those two balls there and say in any way they are comparable. If you are going to change balls, you want to make sure you get it right, as close as you possibly can to the one you are changing it from.

“There weren’t too many older-condition balls in there. But there were some that were picked up, the umpires looked at them, and threw them back.

“I just cannot fathom how two international umpires that have done that a lot of times before, can actually get it so wrong. That is a huge moment in this game, potentially a huge moment in the Test match. And something I think has to be investigated.

“Whether there was the right conditioned balls in the box, or the umpires have just blase picked one out of there they thought would be okay.

“Perfect storm as well, the conditions were better for bowling this morning. What I saw last night, with that ball there on the left of screen. I will put my hand up and say I have no doubt at all that ball would not have done anywhere near as much as that one did this morning. “Double the amount of movement this morning from yesterday afternoon. Seam movement and swing. I think it’s a huge blunder that needs to be investigated.”

That plus combined with Stokes’ failed catch before lunch, there’s always something to talk about with this series.

11:40PM: LORD’S REPLAYS THIS TIME, WEATHER WATCH ROLLS ON

Last night Edgbaston got us through to the close of play, tonight hopefully it is Lord’s that sees us through to the resumption of play.

Unfortunately, if you are still watching the replay on Nine, the spirit of cricket has already been killed.

Thankfully, for the sake of the children they did not need to see that again.

It is still dark and dreary in London, hopefully we are not denied the thrilling finish that we all deserve after mucking up our sleep patterns for six weeks.

11:20PM: RAIN ADDS TO THE TENSION

After that end to the morning session, we were all raring for this battle to begin once again.

Annnnnnndd, there’s the rain.

Literally as the players were taking their position for the second session, the rain became to come down, so the covers are back on at The Oval.

The delay adds another spiral to this classic clash and series, putting a potential dampener (haha?) on an Australian chase.

This rain does not seem to be going anywhere quickly so stand by as we sit enthralled by the rain radar once again.

10:35PM: LUNCH: DRAMA ENGULFS STEVE SMITH ONCE AGAIN

Ben Stokes dropped Steve Smith while prematurely celebrating as the Ashes series with everything delivered another extraordinary moment.

That drama followed a baffling ball change that appeared to have turned the course of the fifth Test as England ran riot on the final morning at The Oval.

Chasing 384 to secure a 3-1 series win, Australia’s top order collapsed after another brief rain delay to lose 3-29 inside eight overs and hand the ascendancy back to the hosts on the last day of an ever-seesawing series.

The Aussies were 3-238. at lunch, with the series result still in the balance heading into the last two sessions.

Playing his final Ashes innings, David Warner was unable to jag a breakthrough Test century on English soil, getting a thin edge on 60 to a cracking delivery from Chris Woakes.

Usman Khawaja became Woakes’ second victim of the morning when trapped in front of a straightening ball for 72.

Marnus Labuschagne then tickled a swinging beauty from Mark Wood to be superbly caught by Zak Crawley at second slip for 13.

By this point Australia had fallen from 0-140 to 3-169, leaving Smith and Travis Head with a steep task of steadying their side in the quest to break a 22-year away Ashes series victory drought.

While not looking overly comfortable, Smith and Head kept things ticking over, bringing up a half-century stand before lunch at the same venue where less than two months ago they put on 285 for the fourth wicket in the World Test Championship final against India.

Then on 39, Smith gloved a ball from Moeen Ali on the stroke of lunch to be caught one-handed by England captain Stokes at leg slip, only for Stokes to spill the ball before controlling the catch in scenes reminiscent of Herschelle Gibbs’ drop of Steve Waugh in the 1999 World Cup.

While the overhead conditions were favourable for England, it was the particular Dukes ball that appeared to the weapon of mass destruction.

The seemingly fateful switch had occurred just before rain stopped play on day four. A Wood bouncer had struck Khawaja’s helmet, leading the umpires to change an apparently damaged ball in the 37th over.

The rules dictate in such circumstances that a ball of comparable wear shall be used, however close-up footage made it appear as though the replacement ball was in considerably better condition than the first one.

To that point Warner and Khawaja had batted comfortably. After that the Australian batters began routinely playing and missing.

Several former Australian players queried the change.

The legendary Ricky Ponting said on Sky’s broadcast that the Aussies appeared to have been hard done by.

“The batsmen don’t get it a say in it. The umpire go through that box and find the most similar to the one that is changing,” Ponting said.

“If that is the most similar then they don’t have enough balls in that box. That is a huge contrast to the conditions to the two Dukes balls.

“The reason I think it is such a big deal, especially in England (is) because you don’t know what you will get condition-wise in the morning.”

Former Test batter Callum Ferguson went even harder.

“I think it is actually disgraceful they have allowed a ball this new into the game at the stage they did. It made it very difficult,” Ferguson told Channel Nine.

Further rain was forecast for later in the day, potentially helping the tourists, who only needed a draw to clinch a series win.

10:15PM: 50 PARTNERSHIP PUTS AUSSIES BACK IN THE HUNT

These two really have put the teams on their backs to finish this session.

We have seen Australia in the past crumble under the pressure of a hooping ball in English conditions.

But Smith and Head have met this challenge, can I say Head on?

The sting has slightly come out of this “new” ball, meaning we have a bit more of a contest on our hands.

England have turned to Moeen Ali, and the spinner has been able to get something out of this deck.

The ball has kept low on multiple occasions, even sneaking through Steve Smith’s legs and barely missing the stumps.

Can these two see their side through to lunch?

9:55PM: TRAVBALL HITS BACK

Smith and Travis Head have stopped the bleeding … for now.

Head has played some beautiful strokes, looking particularly comfortable to Jimmy Anderson, who has not looked as potent as his fellow pacemen.

These two have been able to score quickly, even under the huge pressure they are facing currently.

If these two can get to lunch, this game is still well and truly up for grabs.

*Checks weather app*

The rain is on the way in London, last night I lamented it, tonight it may be cause for celebration.

What a way for this series to end either way.

9:35PM: ENGLAND KEEP THE PRESSURE COMING

Right, at least for one blog update the ball is what it is and we have to deal with it.

We’ll see how long that lasts but right now Australia don’t have many answers as this thing looks like a loop you put on the end of your signature.

Steve Smith has made a strong start to his innings, however these are dangerous times with the cloud coverage giving this ball the capacity to move.

Again, I say, it must be the cloud coverage!

Travis Head has looked susceptible but we know he will play his shots, so the action will likely continue.

9:15PM: THE BALL OF DEATH STRIKES ONCE MORE

This ball change has flipped this game on its head now, and you have to wonder how a ball that is meant to be this old is moving so much.

This is not hyperbole the thing is flying around.

Marnus Labuschagne is the one to fall victim this time, edging to Zak Crawley at second slip, and Australia now has it all to do at The Oval.

Former Aussie batsman Callum Ferguson voiced his anger on the Nine broadcast.

“I think it is disgraceful they have allowed a ball this new into the game at this stage they did,” he said.

Unfortunately, yet unsurprisingly there’s no sympathy from renowned Twitter troll Piers Morgan.

9:00PM: MARNUS SIGNALS HIS INTENT, WHAT IS WITH THIS BALL?

No great effort to do so, but Marnus Labuschagne has already surpasses his first innings score.

The Aussie batsman has operated with much more freedom this morning, even as the ball HOOPS around.

Again, this ball is supposed to “replicate” a 47-over old ball after being swapped out last night.

But can we put anything past the might of Joel Wilson? His reach on a game knows no bounds it seems.

Kumar Dharmasena is the other umpire, we shall see if the shine on this ball continues to cause havoc out in the middle.

Meanwhile, Chris Woakes is in his bag out in the middle, getting this ball to talk like it’s going out of fashion.

8:40PM: WOAKES STRIKES AGAIN, AUSSIES IN TROUBLE

Australia’s openers are both gone, this has been a disastrous start to the game.

Chris Woakes does the job again, this time trapping Usman Khawaja right in front, this change of ball last night looks to be doing plenty.

The English are well on top to start today, now it will be up to Labuschagne and Smith to ease the pressure.

Chris Woakes is as they say, on one here.

The seamer draws an edge from Steve Smith that runs down to third-man for four.

You suspect we might know where this game is headed within the next hour.

8:30PM: WARNER GOES, WHAT A START FOR THE HOSTS

Well, David Warner’s final Ashes innings in England ends in disappointment, gone for 60 early on day five.

A beauty that went across him from Chris Woakes, the ball nipped away, caught the outside edge and landed in Bairstow’s lap.

What a start for England this morning.

Out comes Marnus Labuschagne who immediately plays and misses at one outside off-stump.

The hosts have got their tail up right now, it’s been a complete contrast to last night.

For Warner, it’s not the fairytale he was hoping for but hopefully they are valuable runs towards this total.

8:20PM: BROAD, ENGLAND COME OUT SWINGING

We knew it would happen, but Stuart Broad has come out with his tail right up to start the final day of his Test career.

A changed ball looks to have bought some good fortune for the hosts, with the ball getting a bit more movement through the air.

Ricky Ponting voiced his displeasure with the change.

“The batsmen don’t get it a say in it. The umpire go through that box and find the most similar to the one that is changing,” he said.

“If that is the most similar then they don’t have enough balls in that box. That is a huge contrast to the conditions to the two Dukes balls.

“The reason I think it is such a big deal, especially in England, Nasser, because you don’t know what you will get condition-wise in the morning.”

Chris Woakes hits Usman Khawaja on the pads, but Joel Wilson says not out, with replay showing it pitched outside leg stump.

This is a lot different feel to last night, with England on the charge.

7:55PM: CAREY’S BLUNT ADMISSION AS RAIN DELAYS PLAY

Alex Carey’s series with the bat changed after his controversial run-out at Lord’s, with questions posed as to whether that has impacted his series since.

The Aussie keeper admitted before play that it was something he had to deal with.

“Probably had to process it all post-that game, listen I am not welcomed out to bat by the crowd,” he said.

“The newspaper, all that sort of stuff. I think once you get older you learn what is important. “They are people’s opinions and I can’t control them. What I did have was amazing support from the playing group and support from back home and even over here.

“Everyone in the streets have been nice. When they get together in a crowd they are against us.”

Carey could still play a vital role in this game, if the Aussies do lose a few wickets and have to rely on their lower order to get them home like at Edgbaston.

Meanwhile, it looks like play will be delayed with the covers coming on at The Oval.

7:35PM: UZZIE HOLDS COURT AHEAD OF ENORMUS FIFTH DAY

We’ve seen this over the course of the Test match, particularly on day three (though that didn’t work so well) with Australia coming together in a large huddle before play.

Ahead of what could be a defining day in the legacy of these Australian players, it’s Usman Khawaja taking control of the huddle and talking to the group.

The enormity of today cannot be overstated, although the urn will come home with Australia regardless, an almost greater prize awaits in leaving no doubt on who the better team this series was.

Australia only need a draw to win the series, but you suspect with how Khawaja and Warner battled yesterday, they will be thinking of completing a historic chase.

WILL BAZBALL DIE AT THE SAME VENUE AS ENGLISH CRICKET DID IN 1882?

It’s not like Manchester, but there will be some nervous English cricket fans turning to their weather app to check the forecast across their nation’s capital.

There is a heavy cloud cover to start at The Oval according to SEN’s Bharat Sundaresan, signalling the possibility that the weather will once again be a factor in who takes home the chocolates in the finale of the Ashes.

You could almost argue that the rain came at a good time for the hosts yesterday, with Usman Khawaja and David Warner cruising to an unbeaten 135-run partnership on day four.

An Australian victory may not only define this generation of Australian cricket, but ask some serious questions of whether England’s method does stack up against the best.

The home side will be hoping that they can side Stuart Broad off with a famous victory, as the paceman prepares for his final day of Test cricket.

Broad went out to bat for the final time yesterday, with his last ball faced in Test cricket going for six off Mitchell Starc.

“I’ve had a love affair with the Ashes my whole life and the thought of being able to bowl my last ball and face my last ball against Australia fills me with joy,” he said.

The 37-year-old seamer is the fifth most successful bowler in Test history, with 602 wickets, so far.

If the rain does hold off, we should be set for an unbelievable day of cricket with any result in play.

‘SPARE US’: DID BROAD HIJACK BAZBALL’S DEFINING MOMENT?

The fate of Bazball – as much as the Ashes – goes on the line on the final day of the series at the Oval tonight.

With Australia needing a further 249 runs, and with all ten wickets intact, have the chance to complete an extraordinary runchase and seal an emphatic 3-1 series victory.

As the Guardian’s Barney Ronay writes: “it was always coming down to this”.

“One day left to save the English Ashes summer; and to save a few other things too,” he noted.

But the decision by Stuart Broad to hijack the final two days of the Test, with his mid-match announcement that it would be his last, was also noted as a curious one.

“Was this the right stuff, really, for the sharp end of the series, the guard of honour energy, the weirdly sensual and sombre Sky TV homages?” Ronay mused.

“Why not just retire the day after the series ends?

“It is hard to imagine a more distracting way of doing this, a day of potentially era-defining Test cricket recast as the launch of a new media brand.

“There will be cries that one of England’s great Test bowlers needs a chance to wave goodbye.

“But why? This is not the Love Island finale. It’s a brilliantly engaging Test series with a knife-edge finish to come.

“Spare us the Viking funeral, just for now.”

Originally published as Ashes cricket 2023: England win by 49 runs, draw series 2-2

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