Australia heaped a lot of misery on the England bowlers at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on the third day of the fifth Ashes Test match. What bode well for the hosts were that each of their batsmen got plenty of runs as they lost only two wickets in the entire day and finished at 479/4.
English bowlers looked like they waited to work with the new ball, but once they got the same in the first session, the Aussies defied them comfortably. Another tough day at office awaited skipper Joe Root as he could not change the course of the game with the hosts taking 133-run lead and are walking away with the game at the moment. The spirit of the Aussies need to be lauded given that this is a dead-rubber Test as they have already regained the urn by winning the series 3-0.
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It was all Australia the entire time on the field, but interesting plots emerged for their star-studded batting line-up. Usman Khawaja played one of the best Test innings of his life to score a magnificent 171. Steve Smith climbed up the ladder with most runs by an Australian in an Ashes series, but he fell short of a 24th career Test ton. Then it was the Marsh brothers; Shaun and Mitchell, who continued with their sublime form with the bat.
Australia let their cricket do the talking and were ruthless to decimate the tourists. The crowd was fantastic with plenty of supporters turning up to see the home boy Smith break some new ‘Bradman’ record or even his own. Smith, who was on 44 overnight, scored another 39 runs on Saturday to be dismissed off Moeen Ali for 83 runs. The Australian skipper looked at ease up till then and was on course for another milestone, but a lapse of concentration saw him miss that.
- Smith averages 137.40 with the bat in this series
- Has 687 runs in this series
- Has batted long and faced 1416 deliveries in total
- Scored his 2nd fifty of the series
Smith will be delighted in the dressing room after seeing the others come in and score runs aplenty. Khawaja was the star of the day notching his 6th career Test ton and alongside Shaun Marsh, batted with a lot of concentration. Khawaja’s innings was laced with 18 fours and a six and it was a lot of hard work in the middle after it looked like he was prepared to stick his bat out for long part of two days.
Partnerships played a key role for uncompromising Australians. Khawaja and Shaun Marsh shared a 101-run stand to rule the second session of the day. Khawaja’s presence at the crease worked wonders for the hosts after earlier he added a superb 188-run partnership with Smith. Shaun then added another 104-run stand with his brother Mitchell as the contributions from each player hurt the English.
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Shaun Marsh has come off age and has shown in this series that he has a lot to offer still in that middle-order for the Australians. Batting on 98, Marsh has the chance to notch a 2nd ton of the five-matsh series and seal his place at No. 5. His brother too has been phenomenal and is looking more mature since a return from a long injury. After a superb 181 runs at Perth in the third Test, Mitchell batted well in the final session and like his elder brother, could be set for a 2nd ton in the series.
What was fascinating with Mitchell was his application. He attacked at the WACA in Perth, blocked well in Melbourne and here too after a slow cautious start, he broke the shackles in the final moment of he day. He scored just four runs from the first 32 deliveries, but went on to amass 59 off the next 48 balls.ky
This phase of the batsmen making the most of the opportunities will please the management at large. With everybody chipping in, it paves a positive scenario for Smith’s side.
Brief Score, 5th Test, Day 3: Australia (1st innings– 479/4 (Khawaja 171*, S Marsh 98*) lead England by 133 runs.