In the final Ashes Test at The Oval, England’s hopes of leveling the series were revived by Chris Woakes, who removed both Australia’s openers, David Warner and Usman Khawaja, early on the last day of the match. Australia, being the holders, had already retained the Ashes with a 2-1 lead in the series.

Australia began day 5 on 135-0, with Warner on 58 not out and Khawaja unbeaten on 69, making them the marginal favorites to secure a 3-1 series victory and the first Ashes campaign triumph in England since 2001.

Woakes accurate bowling led to the downfall of Warner and Khawaja:

England’s pace legend Stuart Broad, who had announced his retirement after the match, led the attack in an attempt to take the wicket of Warner for the 18th time in Tests. However, it was Woakes who provided the crucial breakthrough. The 34-year-old bowled an exceptional delivery that dismissed Warner. Bowling over the wicket to Warner, the left-hander edged the ball while playing on the front foot. The good-length ball angled across the Aussie southpaw nipped off the seam, and took the outside edge, resulting in a simple catch for wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow. Warner’s removal brought a sense of relief for England, who were desperate for a wicket.

Here’s the video: 

Following Warner’s departure, England gained momentum, and it wasn’t long before Khawaja, the leading run-scorer in the series, also fell. Woakes trapped Khawaja lbw for 72 with a full-length delivery that caught him on the crease in front of the middle and leg stumps. The 36-year-old reviewed the decision in the hope that the ball had pitched outside the leg stump, but the replays upheld umpire Joel Wilson‘s initial decision.

Here’s the video: 

Warner and Khawaja’s partnership of 140 runs was the best first-wicket partnership Australia had produced in England since Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer put on 185 runs in the corresponding Test at The Oval in 2005, where the Ashes were lost by Australia.

The centurion of the Manchester Test, Marnus Labuschagne‘s couldn’t do much and got out to Mark Wood for just 13 runs. After his fall, the responsibility to stabilize the Australian innings and chase down the target of 384 runs in the fourth Ashes Test at Manchester fell on the experienced Steve Smith and the attacking batter Travis Head.

Also Read: Steve Smith gives a fierce response to Michael Vaughan’s statement about his retirement after Ashes 2023 

Both Smith and Head showed great determination and skill as they held on to the crease and formed a crucial partnership. They displayed a mix of solid defense and aggressive strokeplay, making it difficult for the English bowlers to break through. Their partnership not only provided much-needed stability to the Australian innings but also brought relief to the Australian camp, which was under pressure to win the Test and retain the prestigious Ashes urn. They safely took their side to lunch without any further damage with a score of 3/238.

Also Watch: Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja engage in fierce conversation with a fan at the Oval

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