LONDON-Stuart Broad struck twice after lunch as Australia slipped to 186-7 at tea on day two of the fifth and final Ashes test at The Oval on Friday, trailing England by 97 runs.
Broad ended Usman Khawaja’s dogged resistance for 47 and dismissed Travis Head before James Anderson bowled Mitchell Marsh, Joe Root removed Alex Carey and Mark Wood dismissed Mitchell Starc to lift England’s hopes of levelling the series. Steve Smith, unbeaten on 40 at the interval, will be the key for Australia who lead the series 2-1 as they bid to win the Ashes in England for the first time since 2001.
Resuming on 61-1, Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne had adopted a no-risk approach in the morning, adding only 21 runs in the first 12 overs before the latter was brilliantly caught by Root at first slip off Wood for nine. England, bowled out for 283 on the first day, rotated their fast bowlers in overcast conditions but failed to make the breakthrough until Wood struck.
Labuschagne edged him between wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow and Root, who dived to his left and took the ball one-handed. England captain Ben Stokes did not have the option of using his main spinner Moeen Ali, who sustained a groin injury while batting, but his quick bowlers produced disciplined spells to keep the hosts in the game as Australia reached 115-2 at lunch.
Broad trapped Khawaja lbw and Head, on four, edged the fast bowler to Bairstow as England sensed an opportunity to seize the initiative. Anderson claimed his first wicket when Marsh, on 16, dragged the ball on to his stumps and Carey lifted Root for six before perishing next ball when he miscued a drive into the hands of Stokes at short extra cover. Starc fell to a short ball from Wood for seven, Ben Duckett taking a simple catch at long leg to bring Australia captain Pat Cummins to the crease.