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England v Australia: Fifth Test review: Stuart Broad gets his perfect farewell

A fascinating Ashes series finished with a fantastic final Test, as England secured a dramatic 49-run victory at the Oval to level the series 2-2, with Stuart Broad ending his career on a high.

Australia had already retained the urn but wanted a first series win in England since 2001, although the hosts were determined to deny the tourists and came out on top in a thrilling final day.

Just like in the series overall, day five swung one way and then the other before England eventually claimed the win, with the retiring Broad taking the last two wickets.

Woakes leads England fightback

The England attack struggled on day four, with the pitch offering very little and the conditions hardly helping with swing bowling.

Australia started the final day at 135-0 but the conditions looked to have become more favourable in the early stages, from a bowling viewpoint, especially with a change of ball after the original went out of shape.

The tourists added just five runs before losing their first wicket, when Chris Woakes had David Warner caught behind for 60.

Australia were then reduced to 141-2 when Usman Khwaja was trapped lbw by the outstanding Woakes, before Marnus Labuschagne was caught at slip by Zak Crawley off the bowling of Mark Wood.

Steve Smith and Travis Head steadied the ship prior to lunch, when the tourists were 238-3 and needing 146 more runs to win.

Just before the break, England thought they had got the scalp of Smith. The Australian vice-captain gloving the ball to Ben Stokes at leg slip, but despite catching one handed, the England skipper then dropped the ball in the act of celebrating and Smith survived.

England rip through Australia late on

A prolonged break due to rain put a result in doubt, with the players not re-entering the arena until 4.10pm, but when they did return England had their tails up.

Travis Head was the next wicket to fall, for 43, after edging Moeen Ali to Joe Root at first slip. At that stage, Australia were 264-4 and still seemingly on top.

However, England then took three wickets for just 11 runs, with Smith (54), Mitchell Marsh (6) and Mitchell Starc (0) falling to a combination of Woakes and Moeen – who may be part of England’s World Cup squad, for which they are 3/1 to win.

Stokes made up for his earlier faux pas when taking a catch to dismiss Australia captain Pat Cummins and then it was Broad who finished the job.

Although he hadn’t taken a wicket in the second innings, Broad – 11/8 to win the 2023 Sports Personality of the Year award – stepped up to the plate to win the Test.

After Australia had moved on to 329-8 and needing 55 more runs, a few nerves would have been circulating around the crowd but the 37-year-old Broad finished his career in style.

Firstly, he had Todd Murphy caught behind with a beauty and then he and Jonny Bairstow teamed up again to claim the scalp of Alex Carey to ultimately level a thoroughly entertaining series.

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