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The Ashes: England announce unchanged XI for fifth Test

England have announced their team for the fifth and final Ashes Test with Australia, naming an unchanged XI for the first time this series.

James Anderson keeps his place for what may be his final Ashes Test on home soil, despite failing to take more than a single wicket in any of his six innings so far.

The swing bowler has taken just four scalps over the course of the series at an average of 76.75, and the Oval hasn't been the happiest of hunting ground for Anderson, taking 49 wickets at 32.12.

The batting order remains unchanged after all batters reached at least 50, with the exception of Ben Duckett, who's had a fine series, averaging 34 thanks to a 98 and 83 at Lord's.

Jonny Bairstow was also much improved with the gloves and was cruelly denied a century, being stranded on 99, while Stuart Broad, who's had another excellent Ashes, retains his place in the attack.

It was a hugely underwhelming end to the fourth Test with weather costing England a win as a one and a half days were rained off.

It took England just over a day to bowl Australia out, with England all out for a near run-a-ball 592 before tea on day three. 

Despite reducing the tourists to 113/4 by the end of day three, only 30 more overs were bowled on day four, with the final day a total wash-out.

What made the result all the more frustrating for England is the position they’d put themselves in. Leading by 275, there was every chance the hosts would have won by an innings if they’d been able to take the 10 wickets, with the weather preventing a result.

It’s been a series of near misses for England, but despite Australia retaining the Ashes with a Test to spare, Bazball won't be going anywhere. 

There were questions as to whether or not England would temper their approach in an Ashes series, but we’ve seen – for better or worse – gung ho cricket from the off.

From the first innings declaration – which arguably came 30 runs too soon – in the first Test, to Ben Stokes’ heroic, but ultimately fruitless, 155 in the second, to the impressive 251-run chase at Headingley, we’ve seen the best and worst of Bazball, and despite being 2-1 down heading into the final Test at the Oval, no one can deny it’s been an encapsulating series.

Though Australia will lift the little urn at the conclusion of the series, England will be eager to at least level the series; a mental boost if nothing else knowing that only rain denied them a series win as preparations begin for the Ashes series down under in 18 months’ time, while the tourists are looking for a first series win in England in more than 20 years.

The hosts are slight favourites at 11/8 while Australia are 7/4 to level the series.

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