Ashes 2015: England in trouble and facing an innings defeat as Ian Bell and Joe Root follow Adam Lyth back to the pavilion

TEA: Australia 481 England 149 & 123-3

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The Independent Online

England were in deep trouble and facing the prospect of an innings defeat by Australia at The Oval. The fifth Investec Test was meant to be a celebration of the grand reclaiming of the Ashes but instead the party has been distinctly pooped.

Only their captain, Alastair Cook, offered prolonged or substantial resistance as England tumbled to 123 for 3 at tea on the third day. He was unbeaten on 54 but with his side still 209 runs behind.

Australia enforced the follow on for the first time in Michael Clarke’s captaincy after dismissing the opposition for 149 in the morning. Although Moeen Ali and Mark Wood both played jauntily in a partnership of 57 they were out in successive balls to Mitchell Johnson to bring the innings to a close.

 

Almost inevitably, England lost Adam Lyth before lunch for only 10. It completed a miserable series with the bat for Lyth, with a total of 115 runs in nine innings. He was out as he had been too often before, fencing to slip.

Ian Bell’s stay of 40 balls was frequently excruciating as he struggled to find even a hint of fluency, especially against Peter Siddle, who marked his return to Test matches with an exemplary display of accurate seam bowling on an awkward length.

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Mitchell Marsh celebrates taking the wicket of Ian Bell

It was Mitchell Marsh, however, who claimed Bell’s wicket. A ball after he was dropped at mid-wicket fiercely pulling a short ball in the air to Chris Rogers’ left, he failed to cope with a rising ball which looped off his glove to Michael Clarke at slip. Clarke had already put down Bell once.

When Johnson lured Joe Root into hooking a bouncer down to long leg, England’s troubles multiplied and their chances of taking the match to a fourth day lessened.

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