Australia’s hopes fade as Denly, Stokes help England dominate

Published September 15, 2019
England captain Joe Root will be wary of declaring too soon. — AFP/File
England captain Joe Root will be wary of declaring too soon. — AFP/File

LONDON: Ben Stokes and Joe Denly batted England into a potentially match-winning position in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval on Saturday as Australia’s hopes of a series win faded.

At tea the home side — desperate to finish their World Cup-winning season on a high by levelling the series at 2-2 — were 193-2, leading by 262 runs.

England captain Joe Root will be wary of declaring too soon though as India last year made 345 batting fourth at The Oval chasing 464.

Denly was unbeaten on a Test-best score of 82 while Stokes, playing as a specialist batsman, was 57 not out after passing 400 runs for the series.

England enjoyed two slices of good fortune on a pitch offering little in the way of help for the bowlers as the September sun beat down from a clear London sky.

Steve Smith dropped Stokes in the slips when the batsman was on seven and Denly should have been out lbw on 54 but Australia failed to review.

Stokes started his innings slowly but accelerated, reaching his fifty off 89 balls with a huge six off leg-spinner Marcus Labuschagne over wide long-on.

The left-handed batsman is second only to Smith in the combined run-scoring charts over the series, albeit more than 300 runs adrift of the Australian’s total of 751.

Denly looked increasingly confident as his innings progressed, finding the boundary regularly as the tourists’ spirits drooped.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon struck twice in the morning session, removing Rory Burns and Root but Australia failed to make a much-needed breakthrough after lunch.

England are aiming to restore pride even though Australia have already retained the Ashes urn.

The tourists came into the match hungry to wrap up their first series victory in England since 2001 after winning last week’s fourth Test to take a 2-1 lead but that looks increasingly unlikely.

Burns and Denly put on 54 for the first wicket — the highest opening stand of the series for either side — after surviving a torrid four over on Friday evening during which they scratched nine without loss and had Denly dropped by Marcus Harris.

The Australian opener split the webbing in his left hand in the drop and did not take the field on Saturday. He required stitches but is expected to bat.

Off-spinner Lyon struck in his third over when Burns bottom-edged a short ball outside off-stump, with wicketkeeper Tim Paine taking the catch.

Root also fell in tame fashion, edging Lyon to Smith at slip for 21 to leave England 87-2 in the 28th over.

Jofra Archer put England in pole position on Friday, taking six wickets to bowl Australia out for 225, giving the home side a useful first-innings lead of 69.

Smith top-scored with 80 to take his tally for the series to 751 runs in just six innings.


ENGLAND (1st Innings) 294 (J.C. Buttler 70, J.E. Root 57, R.J. Burns 47; M.R. Marsh 5-46, P.J. 3-84).

AUSTRALIA (1st Innings):

D.A. Warner c Bairstow b Archer 5
M.S. Harris c Stokes b Archer 3
M. Labuschagne lbw b Archer 48
S.P.D. Smith lbw b Woakes 80
M.S. Wade lbw b Curran 19
M.R. Marsh c Leach b Archer 17
T.D. Paine c Bairstow b Curran 1
P.J. Cummins lbw b Curran 0
P.M. Siddle c Burns b Archer 18
N.M. Lyon b Archer 25
J.E. Hazlewood not out 1

EXTRAS (B-1, LB-2, W-5) 8

TOTAL (all out, 68.5 overs) 225

FALL OF WKTS: 1-5, 2-14, 3-83, 4-118, 5-160, 6-166, 7-166, 8-187, 9-224.

BOWLING: Broad 12-3-45-0; Archer 23.5-9-62-6 (1w); Curran 17-6-46-3; Woakes 10-2-51-1; Leach 6-1-18-0.

ENGLAND (2nd Innings, overnight 9-0):

R.J. Burns c Paine b Lyon 20
J.L. Denly not out 82
J.E. Root c Smith b Lyon 21
B.A. Stokes not out 57

EXTRAS (B-2, LB-10, NB-1) 13

TOTAL (for two wkts, 60 overs) 193

FALL OF WKTS: 1-54, 2-87.

BOWLING (to-date): Cummins 13-4-27-0; Hazlewood 15-5-40-0 (1nb); Lyon 14-2-46-2; Siddle 6-21-22-0; Marsh 6-1-20-0; Labuschagne 6-0-26-0.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2019


Sialkot speaks
31 Jul 2021

Sialkot speaks

The PML-N leadership is shell-shocked. A drubbing by the PTI in Sialkot? In the heart of Sharif territory?
Who messed up Afghanistan?
Updated 31 Jul 2021

Who messed up Afghanistan?

Russia and USA are squarely responsible for Afghanistan’s tragedy but Pakistan is certainly not innocent.


China-Taliban meeting
Updated 31 Jul 2021

China-Taliban meeting

WITH the government in Kabul appearing to stand on very fragile foundations, and as the clock ticks down to the ...
31 Jul 2021

Outages in Makran

IT is no surprise that people in Balochistan’s Makran Division have of late taken to the streets to protest in the...
31 Jul 2021

Reduction in polio cases

AFTER the long and tedious efforts of those running the national polio programme, there are signs that Pakistan ...
30 Jul 2021

Judge’s elevation

A CONTROVERSY roiling the legal fraternity for a few weeks has come to a head. It was precipitated by the Judicial...
PTI’s Sialkot win
30 Jul 2021

PTI’s Sialkot win

The PML-N’s internal duality is a particularly acute factor that is dragging down the party in electoral contests.
30 Jul 2021

Attack on Chinese

AN attack targeting two Chinese nationals in Karachi on Wednesday should put the security apparatus on alert in ...