|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2013|
DateLine: 22nd August 2013
By Andy Jalil at The Oval
In association with INVESTEC
London – Having had a great chance of victory taken away from them by the weather in the third Test, Australia may well suffer a similar fate in this final Test although it is some way to go with three days remaining. Australia had declared their first innings in which Steve Smith had led them with a brilliant maiden Test century, to 492 for nine declared and remained unbeaten on 138 from 241 balls. By close of play, England in reply were 32 without loss from 17.3 overs, trailing by 460 runs.
With rain through the night and in the morning, it was 2.30pm local time before play could start with Australia on 307 for four overnight. The overs to be bowled were reduced to 63 and close of play was re-scheduled for 7pm or 7.30 if the overs were not completed.
Trailing three nil in the series it’s a match that Australia need to win to lift their morale and have some confidence for the return series in three months’ time. England, on the other hand will gain considerable psychological advantage if they were to wrap up the series four nil for the first time in Ashes history.
After resuming their innings, the nightwatchman Peter Siddle went in the fifth over when James Anderson produced a beautiful ball that shaped in and after pitching moved away to hit the top of off stump. Siddle had added just 5 to his overnight score of 18 and Australia were 320 for five. Australia’s hopes of achieving a big first innings total rested on Steve Smith, 66 not out from the previous day and Brad Haddin.
They batted with caution but took every opportunity to score when the ball was there to be hit. Haddin hit two fours in an over from Chris Woakes, a lovely on-drive and then a slash that went to third man. Smith too took a boundary off Woakes, driving him to mid-off to take his score to 78 and in the next over, off Stuart Broad a powerful square drive to the point boundary saw him to 83. The fifty of their stand came from 94 balls as they picked up runs steadily.
Shortly before tea, the time for which was extended by an hour, Smith on 94 brought up his century in great style with a lofted six over long-on off Jonathan Trott. The same over brought the dismissal of Haddin on 30. He played-on in attempting a hit to the off after he had added 65 along with Smith who then put on 37 with James Faulkner taking the total to 422.
The debutant Faulkner, on 23, provided another debutant, Woakes, with his maiden Test wicket when his shot was held at deep backward square leg. A flighted ball, his second of the day, from Graeme Swann accounted for Mitchell Starc for 13. But a hard-hitting innings of 33 from 27 balls from Ryan Harris, which included two huge sixes and a four, took the total to 491 after a 45-run partnership with Smith.
Smith meanwhile had been adding quick runs after his wonderful century spanning six-and-a-half-hours during which he struck sixteen fours and two sixes before the declaration came. After tea the scoring rate had greatly increased with the first ten overs costing England 80 runs. Anderson finished with four for 95 while Swann who only bowled three overs on the second day for 24 runs ended with two for 95. Broad, Woakes and Trott had one each.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)