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Australia hold upper hand on first day of Ashes decider



Australia´s Mitchell Starc (C) celebrates with Australia´s Pat Cummins (R) after bowling England´s captain Ben Stokes on the opening day of the fifth Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at The Oval cricket ground in London on July 27, 2023.—AFP 

Australia edged past England on the first day of the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval, leaving the hosts facing an uphill battle to level the series.

Winning the toss for the first time in the series, Australia capitalised on the favourable conditions, putting England in to bat on a green-tinged pitch. Despite England’s fighting effort, they were eventually bowled out for 283 runs, with Harry Brook being the standout performer with a resilient 85 off 91 balls.

Brook’s partnership with Moeen Ali, who scored 34, was crucial for England as they weathered two significant clusters of wicket losses. At one point, England lost three wickets for just 11 runs, and on another occasion, they slumped to four wickets for 28 runs. 

Australia, on the other hand, had their moments of wastefulness, dropping five catches, including a crucial one when Brook was on just five runs. The visitors also missed an opportunity to run Brook out when he was on 50.

England’s concerns were further compounded by Moeen’s groin injury, which he sustained during his batting innings. As a result, he was unable to take the field for bowling. James Anderson, despite being backed to play in the Test, had an unfruitful spell, bowling seven overs without taking any wickets.

With the series standing at 2-1 in Australia’s favour, the urn has already been retained by the visitors. However, England is determined to protect their unbeaten record in the Ashes series since 2001.

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