It was an indifferent day for England's bowlers © Getty Images
It was an indifferent day for England’s bowlers © Getty Images

Steady and effective batting by Chris Rogers, David Warner, Steven Smith  and Adam Voges has enabled Australia to gain the upper hand at stumps on the first day of the final Test at The Oval. David Warner top-scored with 85: he pulled, late-cut, swept and drove to get his boundaries as he negotiated all the bowlers smartly. Steven Smith, the No. 3, took over the role of the enforcer towards the latter half of the day. He has hit nine fours to various parts of the ground, and a six, a clean strike over long-off, to finish the day unbeaten on 78. His partnership with Adam Voges is a healthy 101. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: England vs Australia, 5th Test, The Oval, Day 1

Smith and Voges relied on a tried and tested method of waiting for the loose ball to put away. They located gaps on the field and placed the balls there, in case of deviation of lines from bowlers, to collect their runs without much drama. Smith was severe on Ali, hitting him for two fours and a six to get 19 off the off-spinner’s 15 balls, and Steven Finn, against whom four fours were struck. Voges, on the other hand, played a few clinical flicks towards deep midwicket to get his runs. He hit Finn for three fours, and Stuart Broad and Stokes for two fours each. LIVE CRICKET UPDATES: England vs Australia, 5th Test, The Oval, Day 1

The eventual run-rate of 3.60 confirmed the fluency of Australia’s innings, but it did not start like that. The first boundary was scored after 14 overs, as Broad and Wood were accurate outside the off stump and got bounce and seam movement in helpful conditions. Rogers and Warner survived a few chances that fell short of slip or the gully fielder.

But Rogers opened up. Whenever he got the chance, he hit the fast bowlers square through the off side. In fact, most of his boundaries were scored either at the sweeper cover boundary or through extra-cover. He was out against the run of play when he edged a short delivery from Wood outside the off stump. READ: Steven Smith goes past 3000 Test runs on first day of 5th Ashes Test at The Oval

Warner soon followed, after hitting a few boundaries in the company of the staid Steven Smith. He edged Ali to slip, to give the off-spinner something to show for, for the 49 runs given away in 10 overs. Wood, Stokes and Ali were the three wicket-takers for England. Broad and Wood, the potent bowlers that threatened in the initial overs of the morning session, eventually registered economy rates of 2.86 and 2.27 respectively, whereas among the three other bowlers, the minimum economy rate was at 3.68, suggesting the planning the batting order had done to come through England’s bowling examinations.

Michael Clarke, in his final Test, scored 15 before faintly edging Stokes behind.

Brief scores:

Australia 287 for 3 (David Warner 85, Chris Rogers 43, Steven Smith 78*, Adam Voges 47*; Mark Wood 1 for 41, Moeen Ali 1 for 49, Ben Stokes 1 for 59) vs England

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