Mitchell Marsh caused mayhem for the English batsmen on his return as he took four wickets. He dented the middle-order before Jos Buttler fought back for an unbeaten 64 to take the hosts to a commendable 271/8 at the stumps of first day’s play of final Ashes Test at The Oval on Thursday.
Appearing in the first Test of the series, Marsh made full use of his selection and gave the team management every chance to regret for not picking him up earlier. He returned with his career-best figure of 4/35 in just 16 overs. He broke the backbone of the English middle-order as Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes fell victim against him.
However, his efforts were put in the shade and all everyone took home with them after the end of the play was Buttler’s fightback to keep England alive in the game. He batted brilliantly for his first half-century of the series and remained unconquered on 64 off 84 deliveries.
He started the day slowly but once settled, he batted like his usual self and hit Josh Hazlewood for three sixes to bring his 50 before stitching an unbeaten stand of 45 with Jack Leach to take the home team out of the hole.
Earlier, asked to bat first, the hosts lost one of the openers Joe Denly (14) early. Joining Rory Burns (47 off 87), Joe Root staged a gritty knock of 57 in his stay of 141 deliveries. He was part of a 76-run stand with Burns before the opener got out. No other English batsmen could make it big as the middle-order crumbled after getting a start.
From the Australian front, Other than Marsh, Pat Cummins and Hazlewood took two wickets each. Despite lacking their regular venom, both the bowlers provided enough support to Marsh for the visitrs to gain a slight upper-hand on the first day.