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5th Test, The Oval, July 27 - 31, 2023, The Ashes
283 & 395
(T:384) 295 & 334

England won by 49 runs


Stuart Broad conjures one last burst of magic as England win fifth Test by 49 runs

Series squared two-all at The Oval as retiring seamer claims last two Aussie wickets

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Stuart Broad struck in his final spell as a Test cricketer, England vs Australia, 5th men's Ashes Test, The Oval, 5th day, July 31, 2023

Stuart Broad struck in his final spell as a Test cricketer  •  Getty Images

England 283 (Brook 85, Starc 4-82) and 395 (Root 91, Bairstow 78, Crawley 73, Starc 4-100, Murphy 4-110) beat Australia 295 (Smith 71) and 334 (Khawaja 72, Warner 60, Smith 54, Woakes 4-50) by 49 runs
Stuart Broad conjured one last burst of magic, signing off from his professional career with the last two Australian wickets to square the Ashes series two-all at The Oval. England's all-time leading Ashes wicket-taker claimed his 603rd and 604th Test wickets, Todd Murphy and Alex Carey edging behind, to complete a comeback from two-nil down.
Australia retained the urn when rain washed England's victory hopes away in Manchester but they squandered another opportunity to win a first overseas Ashes series since 2001. They made significant inroads into a steep target of 384 to win, but collapsed dramatically after tea on the fifth day.
When rain arrived just as the players returned after the lunch break, Australia needed 146 more runs to win with seven wickets remaining, with Steven Smith and Travis Head both set. They chipped a further 26 runs off the target after tea, before a dramatic collapse of 4 for 11 in 19 balls.
Moeen Ali, bowling despite a groin strain in what was almost certain to be his final Test match, got one to turn sharply out of the rough as Head edged to slip, then Chris Woakes found Smith's outside edge as the old ball nipped away just a fraction off the seam.
Mitchell Marsh inside-edged onto his pad and Jonny Bairstow clung onto a sharp chance, sprawling low to his right, and when Mitchell Starc nicked his second ball to second slip, The Oval erupted in celebration. Pat Cummins fell shortly after, inside-edging Moeen to leg slip via his thigh pad.
That brought Murphy to the crease with 90 runs still required, but he held firm alongside Carey to whittle away at the target. After beating Murphy on the outside edge with successive balls, Broad switched the bails at the non-striker's end - as he had in the first innings - then wheeled away in trademark celebration as his next delivery was nicked behind.
England declined to take the second new ball with a hint of movement still on offer, and Broad had Carey edging to second slip only for Zak Crawley to spill a tricky chance. But Bairstow clung on when Carey feathered behind once more, and Broad basked in the glow of one final flourish to sign off from his epic career.
England's seamers had struggled to create chances on the fourth day but a replacement ball - chosen 11 deliveries before Sunday's early close - and helpful overhead conditions meant they were in the game from the start of the fifth morning, with Broad almost immediately beating the bat.
Woakes struck in the fourth over of the day, angling one across Warner to have him caught behind. Even if Broad is reputed to be Warner's tormentor-in-chief, Woakes has taken on that mantle in the last two weeks, dismissing him twice in the match in Manchester and twice more in South London.
England burned a review when Broad's nip-backer struck Marnus Labuschagne on the thigh, but outside the line of off stump, but the DRS could not save Usman Khawaja in Woakes' next over. He went full and straight, trapped him on the front pad and brought Khawaja's superb individual series to an end with a fourth-innings 72.
Labuschange had been the only frontline Australian batter to cope with Mark Wood's pace at both Headingley and Old Trafford, but was squared up to fall to him for the second time in the match for only 13. He was beaten by a length ball that moved away late, edging to second slip where Crawley held a good, low catch.
Smith and Head counter-punched, bringing up a 50-run stand in 62 balls. Head was repeatedly beaten on the outside edge by Broad but thumped back-to-back boundaries off James Anderson, while Smith looked somewhere back to his best after two quiet Tests since his hundred at Lord's.
He was dramatically reprieved in the over before lunch, gloving Moeen's offbreak to Stokes at leg slip only for Stokes to lose control of the ball, brushing it against his thigh as he went to throw it up in celebration. England challenged the on-field decision and were frustrated to lose a review, but Smith survived and reached the interval on 40.
Rain wiped out the second session and delayed the third. Shortly after the resumption Smith brought up his second half-century of the match and his first in the fourth innings of a match in seven years - but Head fell to the very next ball, and England grasped their moment.
For Australia, defeat means that a generation of modern greats will leave the game without winning a series in England outright, despite going two-nil up after two Tests. Murphy is their only player who featured at The Oval under the age of 29; many others will not be back in four years' time.
And for England, this was validation for an extraordinary transformation in their approach to Test cricket. They hardly landed a punch in a miserable Ashes tour 18 months ago but had Australia on the ropes for much of this series. For Broad - and Moeen - it was a fitting send-off.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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