Jofra Archer took six wickets as England take charge of Ashes finale
England vs Australia, Jofra Archer took six wickets as England restrict Australia at 225 to gain the lead on the second day of the fifth Ashes Test on Friday despite another Steve Smith master class.
Joe Root’s team is desperate to level the series at 2-2 to finish their historic World Cup-winning season at a maximum, but have consistently pursued by the incomparable Smith.
The former Australian captain has now amassed 751 runs in just six innings, more than double the count of the next top-run scorer on both sides.
However, he was forced to settle for his lowest score in the series, 80, when Chris Woakes caught lbw in the evening session, stunned the sun-drenched Oval crowd.
Despite a series of late runs, Australia had to settle for a 69-inning deficit in the first inning, with pacemaker Archer finishing with 6-62 figures.
Smith came to the fold with Australia in 14-2 trouble in response to England’s first 294 innings after Archer had eliminated opening batsmen David Warner and Marcus Harris.
Smith, who only returned to pre-trial cricket last month after a year-long ban on his role in a ball-handling scandal, was watching for the start of his innings.
However, he soon found his touch, pulling out his 10th consecutive Ashes with a six on the spinner of the left arm Jack Leach.
Smith seemed to be playing a completely different game from all the other hitters, but had a lucky escape after tea when, in ’66, he overcame a delivery from Sam Curran to Root on the slips, only so that the England captain could seize the opportunity.
Previously, Warner, who was also banned for the ball-tampering scandal, was again fired by individual figures, caught by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
It was the eighth time Warner had fired in individual figures in the series.
Archer then struck again with a 90-mile-per-hour lightning bolt, with Ben Stokes clinging to an excellent opportunity for Harris on the second glide.
That dismissal led Smith to the crease, and he immediately greeted with a sharp bouncer, to the delight of the crowd.
Smith and Marcus Labuschagne repaired the damage early, placing 69 for the third-wicket Archer attacked again, trapping Labuschagne lbw for 48.
Matthew Wade was lbw with Sam Curran by 19 when Australia fell to 118-4, but quiet Smith diminished to his midcentury with 91 balls.
Wickets fell after tea, with Archer removing Mitchell Marsh and Curran firing Australian captain Tim Paine and Pat Cummins in successive dances.
Smith’s firing left Australia 187-8, but Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon played an entrepreneurial to add 37 for the ninth wicket, with Lyon crushing Woakes six on the square leg.
Archer knocked Down Lyon while Rory Burns took a sensational capture to finish Siddle’s hit.
At the start of the day, England added only 23 runs to their night score, with Jos Buttler out for 70.
Marsh took five wickets on his way back to the Test side, while Pat Cummins took three.
Australia won at Old Trafford last week to take a 2-1 lead in the series, meaning they will keep the ash urn regardless of the result on the oval.
However, they are hungry to finish their first victory in the series in England since 2001.
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