England vs Australia, 5th Test highlights: Aussies retain urn but Ashes 2019 ends in a stalemate
International cricket in England summer comes to an end with the Ashes 2019 ending in a stalemate. Even though the coveted urn is heading back to Australia, the series ended at 2-2. The Ashes 2019 didn’t disappoint a bit with high-intensity cricketing action holding every cricket lover close to the scene in England. The fifth and final Ashes 2019 Test at the Kennington Oval in London was a fitting ending to an enthralling series where the pendulum kept swinging to and fro towards both the sides. England won the Oval Test by 135 runs courtesy of overall brilliance of Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Joe Denly and Jofra Archer. The win not only ended the series 2-2 but would also be a massive relief for Joe Root as a skipper. It also marked a happy ending for coach Trevor Bayliss, who changed the face of English cricket by dipping the players in an aggressive style of play.
Ashes 2019, 5th Test at The Oval: Top Highlights
Thank you, Steve Smith, for making Ashes 2019 immortal!
Steve Smith ended the Ashes 2019 with a staggering 774 runs under his belt at a mind-boggling average of 110.57 including three centuries, three fifties and the highest score of 211. Smith started the Oval Test with his natural swagger and zipped past to 80 runs in the first innings before being caught plumb by Chris Woakes. The 80-run knock was Smith’s lowest score in the entire Ashes 2019 before getting dismissed for just 23 in the second innings. This was without a shadow of doubt Smith’s Ashes as he made a breathtaking return to red-ball cricket for the Baggy Greens. Smith was rightfully named Australia’s Player of the Series for his outing with the willow and there was no other batter in the series who came close to Smith – in terms of runs, quality and hunger to tackle every situation.
Ben Stokes – oh wait, Sir Ben Stokes!
England's Man of the Series! While fans would argue that Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer kept England in the hunt during the Ashes 2019, it was Ben Stokes who continued his stunning form with both bat and ball and kept the hosts driving in the series. Stokes not only scored two crucial centuries in the series but also bowled some long spells with the ball – remember the first Test when James Anderson left the field after bowling just 4 overs! Stokes ended up with 8 wickets to his name but it was not the wickets that was important, it was the pressure which Stokes built during his spells. Stokes notched up an impressive 441 runs – even though it may look minuscule in front of Smith’s achievements – but ask any expert, how important those runs were especially in a batting line-up which was starving for runs. And no one can forget the Headingley heroics, where Stokes played a dream knock to level the series 1-1.
Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad – a match made in heaven
The English pace duo of Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer was something which England cricket will look forward to using in upcoming Test series under the ICC World Test Championship. In the absence of veteran James Anderson, Archer and Broad took the onus and created plenty of problems for the Aussie batting line-up. While the top-order batter failed to deal with Broad’s wobbling seam movement, Archer made full use of his raw pace to rattle the middle-order and tail-enders. Broad and Archer ended the Ashes 2019 as the second and third highest wicket-taker respectively in what was scintillating series for the duo. Even in the 5th Ashes 2019 Test, Broad and Archer hunted in a pack. Archer's six-fer rattled the Aussie batters in the first innings whereas Broad’s four-fer in the second innings was the cherry on the cake for England.
Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Wade – the rocks of the Australian batting order
Marnus Labuschagne didn’t come into the scene until Jofra Archer left Steve Smith concussed in the Lord’s Test. Labuschagne not only became the first substituted player in Test history but also left a long-lasting mark with his batting performances. Labuschagne scored four half-centuries in the Ashes 2019 and also picked up some crucial wickets with his gentle leg-breaks.
Whereas Matthew Wade started the Ashes 2019 with a century and also ended with one. The 31-year-old had some cold moments in between the tournament but his determination and grit are some traits which many Aussie batters failed to display in the entire series. His century at the Oval was of the highest quality and the Baggy Greens would be happy to see Wade perform for the national side.