02242018

The Ashes LIVE 2015: England vs Australia cricket score from day two of the fifth Test at The Oval 

Well, this really was a session of two halves. It looked like more of the same from Australia early on, but this match really came to life on the hour mark.

With Steve Smith and Adam Voges picking up where they left off last night, on 78 and 47 respectively, an ominous air began to make its way around the Oval. As midday approached, England desperately needed to break the 146-run partnership – and Ben Stokes did the honours.

The Durham all-rounder, after bowling on the wide side all morning, sent down a glorious in-swinger that rapped Voges on the pads in front of off-stump. The veteran Aussie, clearly expecting a short ball, was caught way back in his crease and reviewed the decision nonetheless – but to no avail.

After a sleepy first hour the atmosphere at the Oval went up a few notches – and a few minutes later, it was positively rocking.

Just two deliveries after Voges’ departure for 76, Steven Finn steamed down the pitch and fired down a short wide one to Smith. The new Australian captain, who has developed a reputation for going after almost anything that comes his way, duly obliged with a big swipe and nicked it through to the slips.

England were jubilant, but Finn knew immediately he had overstepped – and how. Replays confirmed the Middlesex seamer’s foot was a good three inches over the line, and after an amateurish display of cricket all round, Smith lived to fight another day.

It was the second time Finn had been denied his 100th Test wicket by a no ball – having seen Peter Nevill called back at Trent Bridge two weeks ago – but he didn’t have to wait much longer to reach the milestone. His back-of-a-length delivery to Mitchell Marsh generated excellent bounce and the all-rounder edged to Ian Bell at second slip, who took the catch above head height to send him back to the hutch for three.

Then came Smith’s ton – at the same ground as his first in Test cricket – but Australia’s joy didn’t last long. Nevill, who was just beginning to look settled, became Moeen Ali’s second scalp this match shortly after. The wicketkeeper was sent packing on 18 thanks to some fine work from his opposite number Jos Buttler, who anticipated Nevill’s edge down the leg-side brilliantly.

Then Ali struck again two balls later, clean bowling Mitchell Johnson for a duck. All of a sudden Australia were 376 for seven, and we had a game on our hands.

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