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Australia withstand England fightback to lead fifth Ashes Test

Australia withstand England fightback to lead fifth Test
© Reuters
Australia withstand an afternoon fightback from England to take the lead in the decisive fifth Ashes Test match at The Oval.

Australia have established a 12-run lead over England at stumps on day two of the fifth Test at The Oval.

The Baggy Greens, who have already retained the Ashes courtesy of their 2-1 lead with one match to go, begun the day on 61-1, but at one stage looked like facing a considerable deficit at the midway point.

However, Australia turned 185-7 into 295 all out, giving them the momentum ahead of the beginning of England's second innings on Saturday.

The home side were left frustrated during the opening session, with the only wicket to fall being that of Marnus Labuschagne (9) who was superbly caught by Joe Root off the bowling of Mark Wood.

Nevertheless, England turned the screw during the afternoon, taking five wickets at regular intervals after Stuart Broad had struck twice soon after lunch.

Usman Khawaja was one of the batsmen to go having made 47, and the remainder of the top seven failed aside from Steven Smith, who made an important 71 off 123 balls before succumbing to Chris Woakes.

Australia's tail wagged, though, with Pat Cummins making 36 off 86 balls in what was a true captain's innings when his side were wilting, while Todd Murphy struck 34 from 39 deliveries in a knock which featured three sixes.

Root took the final wicket, recording figures of 2-20 at a time when Moeen Ali remains out of the attack due to a groin injury, and it will be interesting to see where the all-rounder lines up on Saturday when England bat for the final time in the series, needing to set a sizeable target to give them a chance of levelling the series.

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Australia celebrate taking an England wicket during the fifth Ashes Test on July 27, 2023.
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