England finally managed to keep Steve Smith under a score of fifty in the ongoing Ashes as Stuart Broad dismissed him on 23 to help the home team inch closer towards a series-levelling win in the fifth Test at The Oval on Sunday.
Chasing a total of 399, Australia find themselves in all sorts of trouble after getting reduced to 85/4. Given the exploits of Smith in the Ashes so far, much of the visiting side’s hopes were rested upon his shoulder. But he failed to deliver today as Broad got him off with a shorter one.
Smith, much like his usual stance, shuffled a little towards off and tried to flick the ball between fine and square-leg. But he failed to keep the ball down as Ben Stokes took a good low catch diving towards his left at leg slip. As Smith walked the pavilion, the English players erupted in joy for dismissing him under 50 for the first time in the final innings of this year’s Ashes.
Before getting dismissed for 23 today, Smith’s lowest score in this series was 80, a testament to the kind of dominance he has had on the English bowlers in this series. With one double-century, two centuries and two half-centuries in seven innings, he has already put himself in the illustrious list of scoring the most number of runs in a single Test series. Smith stands at the fifth position with 774 runs in the list which is topped by Sir Don Bradman with 974 runs.
After getting bundled out for 294 in the first innings, England came back strongly to bowl out Australia for 225 as they took a crucial lead of 69 to begin their second innings. England started their second innings with some effortless batting from Joe Denly and Ben Stokes as the duo added more than 100 for the fourth wicket.
While Denly missed his century by a whisker before getting dismissed for 94, Stokes went to the pavilion after a masterful 67. Important contribution of 47 by Jos Buttler down the order made sure the home team crossed the mark of 300 and set the visitors a target of almost 400.