5th Ashes Test: England beat Australia by 135 runs to level series 2-2
England beat Australia by 135 runs in the fifth and final Test of this year’s Ashes on Sunday, ensuring the first drawn series since 1972. Australia had already retained the urn after their win in the fourth Test at Old Trafford gave them a 2-1 lead. England’s win at the Oval denied the tourists an overall series win, as the hosts avoided a first home Ashes defeat since 2001.
Earlier, England added 16 runs to their overnight tally, with Jofra Archer and Jack Leach the last men out.
Stuart Broad then pounded in, roared on by a packed crowd, who raised the roof when he demolished Marcus Harris's off-stump in the fifth over of the Australian innings. In his following over, Broad ended David Warner's miserable series, with the opener edging him to Rory Burns in the slips and departing for 11.
Warner, who returned to international cricket in June after a 12-month ban for ball-tampering, had a good World Cup but has endured a torrid time in the Ashes.
But not Steve Smith, who scored an astonishing 774 runs in just seven innings. He was dismissed for just 23. While the former captain was at the crease, Australia retained a faint hope of chasing down a daunting target of 399 to seal their first Ashes series win in England since 2001.
But when Ben Stokes dived to his left at leg slip to catch Smith off paceman Stuart Broad, England knew they had removed the last serious obstacle in their victory charge.
At tea, Australia, who have already retained the Ashes, were 167-5.
Smith, who scored an astonishing 774 runs in just seven innings, was out for a score of less than fifty for the first time in the series. The Oval crowd gave him a standing ovation as he walked back to the dressing room in the September sunshine, with Australia in deep trouble at 85-4 in the post-lunch session.
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh was caught in the slips by Burns off a Chris Woakes delivery but was reprieved when replays showed it was a no-ball. But he was out for 24 after prodding the ball into the hands of Jos Buttler at short leg off the bowling of Root.
England, who became world champions in the one-day game for the first time in July, were desperate to end a long summer by levelling the five-match series at 2-2.
Australia were seeking their first Test series win in England for 18 years but only once before have they scored 399-plus runs in the fourth innings to win a Test match, against England at Headingley in 1948.
The tourists won the first Test at Edgbaston and the fourth at Old Trafford while Ben Stokes inspired England to victory in the third Test at Headingley. The second match, at Lord's, was drawn.