By Stephen Giles
- Australia close day one on 287 for three.
- New captain Steve Smith remains unbeaten on 78.
- David Warner scored 85 earlier in the day after tourists lost toss
LONDON,UK – England’s bowlers found the going tough on the opening day of the final Ashes Test as Australia made a solid start with the bat and with it, increased their chances of a consolation win.
The Aussies advanced to 287-3 at The Oval before bad light ended the day prematurely – with David Warner (85) and Steve Smith (78*) both piling on the runs.
After being humiliated by England inside three days in the last test, the tourists were put into bat by Alastair Cook on a green tinged pitch with more than enough cloud cover to encourage the bowlers to replicate their bowling masterclass at Trent Bridge.
However, Chris Rogers and particularly Warner played with a patience and resolve that has been mightily absent throughout the series, with both digging in to frustrate the hosts. Not a single wicket fell in the opening session as the Australian openers made it to 82-0 without much alarm.
Playing in his final Test, Rogers, 37, made a plucky 43 in a stand of 110 with Warner (85), before he chased a Mark Wood ball outside off-stump which flew to first slip, where Cook juggled before clinging on.
Next to go in identical fashion was Warner. Moeen Ali was able to find just enough turn in the pitch which bewildered Warner who only succeeded to nudge it through to Adam Lyth, who took the sharpest of chances at slip.
Michael Clarke – also playing his final Test – was given a ceremonial guard of honour as he walked out to bat, although there was to be no fairy-tale ending, airily driving off a Ben Stokes delivery but only succeeding in picking out Jos Buttler behind the stumps to fall for 15 – before Smith (78*) and Adam Vogues (47*) shared an unbroken 101- run partnership to seal a solid first day for the Australians.
It was a rather sedate day of International cricket in truth, however if Australia can push their score beyond 350 plus tomorrow, you sense they will be in a position of dominance from which to dictate the outcome of the match.
Australia opener David Warner:
“We knew it was going to be tough conditions, for us it was about leaving and respecting good deliveries. Me and Chris left well, which put us in a great position.
“The England bowlers bowled well but I felt it was our day. To come out and show what we’re made of was fantastic from our top order.”
The Investec Ashes 5th Test match continues at 11am – Follow via the Britwatch Live Score Service.