Broad signs off with two quick wickets as England beat Australia by 49 runs in fifth Ashes Test

Veteran pacer Stuart Broad was given a befitting farewell to his illustrious cricketing career after England defeated Australia by 49 runs in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval on Monday. The result saw the series end in a thrilling 2-2 draw, with Australia retaining the Ashes trophy. Australia started their innings from 135 for no loss, seemingly in control with all 10 wickets in hand. But a ball change in the 37th over caused a turnaround, as their top three batsmen were dismissed in quick succession. Steve Smith and Travis Head led Australia’s recovery, but rain interrupted play.

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Following a two-hour delay, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali dismantled Australia’s batting lineup, taking four wickets for just 11 runs. Todd Murphy and Alex Carey offered some resistance, but eventually, Broad’s unique tactic of swapping bails brought him the last two wickets of Murphy and Carey, concluding his cricketing journey on a high note as Australia were bowled out for 334. Despite this impressive win at The Oval, England leveled the series after being 2-0 down, although Australia had already retained the Ashes.

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On the final day, Australia required 249 runs for victory, with Usman Khawaja and David Warner both having scored their half-centuries. However, the replacement ball, introduced after Mark Wood’s bouncer hit Khawaja on the helmet, provided significant movement, leading to England’s breakthroughs. It also raised questions in the Australian camp, as the ball appeared to be newer than what was being used.

Woakes dismissed Warner for 60, while Khawaja fell soon after, being trapped lbw by Woakes for 72. Marnus Labuschagne was also dismissed early, caught by Zak Crawley at second slip off Wood’s delivery. Smith and Head then formed a crucial 95-run partnership for Australia, displaying some impressive strokes against England’s pacers. Lunch was taken with Australia at 238 for three, needing 146 more runs for victory.

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After the rain delay, Smith reached his half-century, but the partnership eventually ended when Head edged one from Ali to slip, departing for 43. Woakes removed Smith for 54, and Ali dismissed Mitchell Marsh for six with a fantastic catch by Bairstow. Woakes continued his impressive spell, taking the wicket of Mitchell Starc for a duck. Moeen also contributed, dismissing Pat Cummins for nine, with Stokes taking a remarkable catch at leg-slip.

Broad joined in the action, taking a crucial edge off Murphy, who scored 18 runs. He then secured a perfect ending by dismissing Carey for 28, achieving his 604th Test wicket. With this victory, England levelled the Ashes series 2-2, making it a memorable conclusion for Stuart Broad’s extraordinary cricket career.

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