England raced to a total of 350 for seven at lunch on Day Five of the fifth and final Ashes 2013 Test at The Oval. They trail Australia’s 492 for nine declared by 142 runs. Matt Prior is batting on 35 and Graeme Swann is on 24. England added 103 runs in that morning session on Sunday.
The start of play was delayed on Day Five due to the weather. But once play began, England batted positively. Chris Woakes hit the first four of the day to a full delivery from Mitchell Starc outside off stump. The ball took the outside edge and went through the gully region.
Ian Bell then clipped a full delivery from Ryan Harris in the air towards the short mid-wicket region. But the ball just fell short of a fielder positioned there. Next over Woakes got another four towards the gully region. Starc’s delivery took a thick outside edge and flew just over the head of Nathan Lyon at gully.
Bell then drove straight down the ground to get a four. The positive beginning continued as Bell then played a delightful cover drive off Starc to get another four. It was quite an enterprising beginning to the day after a no show on Day Four and a slow show on Day Three.
Harris got the first wicket of the day. Woakes (25) edged a length delivery to Michael Clarke at second slip. New batsman Matt Prior hit three fours off Harris to get the score racing ahead. Bell (45) was then dismissed by James Faulkner. He came from round the wicket and angled one down the leg side. Bell went across and edged the ball to Brad Haddin, who took a brilliant left-handed catch on the dive. He is one behind Rodney Marsh’s world-record of 28 dismissals in a Test series as a wicketkeeper.
Stuart Broad did not last long and was bowled by Starc for nine. Swann came into the middle and started hitting fours one after the other. He then launched a massive six off fellow off-spinner Lyon over long-on. Lunch was taken as England were at 350 for seven, trailing Australia by 142 runs.
Australia 492 for 9 decl. (Shane Watson 176, Steven Smith 138*, Ryan Harris 33; James Anderson 4 for 95, Graeme Swann 2 for 95) lead England 350 for 7 (Joe Root 68, Jonathan Trott 40, Kevin Pietersen 50, Ian Bell 45; Mitchell Starc 3 for 92, Ryan Harris 2 for 64) by 142 runs.
(Shrikant Shankarpreviously worked with Mobile ESPN, where he did audio commentary for many matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20. He has also written many articles involving other sports for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)