Stuart Broad produced a fairytale finish to his career as he took the final two wickets to give England cricket victory over Australia cricket by 49 runs in the fifth Test and snatch an Ashes series draw.
The 603rd and 604th scalps of Broad’s Test career ensured Ben Stokes’ side levelled the series at 2-2 with Australia all out for 334 to end a thrilling series in style.
Broad, who announced during the Test that he will retire from cricket after the series, left the field alongside Moeen Ali, who is also expected to retire from red-ball cricket following this match, to a standing ovation from the Oval crowd
Follow the result and reaction from a thrilling day five at the Oval below.
Four wickets in 16 minutes: How breathtaking England reinforced faith in Bazball philosophy
Jonny Bairstow was left sprawling, tumbling to the Oval turf with the ball snuggly inside his glove. The acrobatics of England’s much-maligned wicketkeeper, to remove Mitchell Marsh off Moeen Ali’s bowling, epitomised a wild, breathtaking 16 minutes, which helped blow Australia away on day five of the fifth Ashes Test.
The principles of Bazball have always been a little murky and have been furiously debated for months. But how can anybody detract from this infectious brand of cricket and entertainment, when it provokes such rowdy, joyous scenes in the stands. England did not reclaim the Ashes, but this 49-run victory, to square the series at two apiece, bottled up something more precious.
Steve Smith, perhaps the greatest batter of his generation, was finally able to flow in this final innings of the series. But his 54 and a stand of 95 alongside Travis Head, along with yet more showers in the capital, could not deny Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes’ troops.
Stuart Broad’s fairytale England finale gives Ashes era the ending it deserves
Australia retain the urn, that was decided when the rain denied any possibility of a result at Old Trafford, but on a final day, with momentum shifting firmly in favour of Pat Cummins’ side, England again just showed their determination.
England beat Australia by 49 runs to earn a 2-2 draw in the Ashes on day five at the Oval
England coach Brendon McCullum reflects on a drawn series
“We were saying up there we should just go around again, play all five again. What an amazing series to be a part of. Two incredible cricket teams with contrasting styles, and it lived up to the billing. It was special to be a part of and to walk away at 2-all is a reflection of a great series.
“You come into the series with lofty ambitions of how you want to play, but when you do go 2-0 down, particularly in games where you felt you had opportunities to win, can be quite testing. With the skipper as convinced in his belief and the direction he wants to take this team, and the senior players in this team, we were able to hold the fort. If anything, we got better and better as the series went on. That is probably the most pleasing aspect - to stay true when you are under pressure. In these last few Tests we’ve seen this team grow up and really become accustomed to the type of cricket we want to play.
“As both Pat and Stokesy said, there are many times where you are going to look back and say we could have done things differently. But I don’t think we’d would have been able to come back from 2-0 if we’d had that as our mindset. For us, it was about having total conviction in our methods and not having any regrets about what we did. In the end, it brought about our best cricket. You want to keep looking forward and trying to achieve special things.”
Moeen Ali confirms re-retirement after Ashes
“I know I’m done,” Moeen says to Sky, confirming he’s going back into Test retirement after answering his captain’s SOS at the start of the series. “If Stokesy messages me again, I’m going to delete it. I really have enjoyed it and it’s great to finish on a high.”
Australia retain the urn after a 2-2 Ashes series draw
And Pat Cummins also has a chat with Sky Sports
“We said from the start we are over here to try and win the Ashes. It’s why we all start playing cricket - unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, but a great day.
“We can be hugely proud of retaining the Ashes. It’s no easy feat against a high quality England side. It’s a similar group to 2019 and it felt like we were just a little short of the goal. But what a great series.
“There were so many moments throughout the series. I think that’s what makes playing an Ashes, especially an away Ashes, so difficult. I’m really proud of how we’ve stuck strong, pretty consistent throughout. There are a couple of moments that you might change which might’ve made a difference, but a great series. There’s no point looking at it. 2-2 is the score.
[on Stuart Broad] “Great competitor. Always seems to save his best for Australia. I think I’ve played a third of the amount of Test matches he’s played and can’t fathom playing that many. I’ve loved playing against him and I wish him all the best.”
Ben Stokes offers his post-series thoughts to Sky Sports
“I feel really good. 2-2 at a series like this I think is a fair reflection. Australia are world Test champions and an absolutely quality team. Going 2-0 down after the first two games, I don’t think many teams would have been able to respond in the way we did. Standing here, I’m pretty content about everything we’ve achieved over the last seven weeks.
“Having played a lot of cricket, you know what it is like in the fourth innings chasing. Australia got off to a great start, I thought they played incredibly well. But turning up again and having 250 more runs on the board, it’s always tough. It was do or die again, but we’ve been do or die since the second game. As I’ve said before, if anything that helps our cricket.
“The way in which Woakesy has come in and not only operated in the manner he has with the ball, but also with very crucial runs down in the tail which have been very good for us. Woody has put some unbelievable performances in. Yesterday and today, he could hardly walk. He did an unbelievable job to show that he wasn’t sore and to run in and bowl in the way he did is testament to the warrior inside of him. To have people like that in your team who will just run in and run in is great to have.
“I’ve played with Broady for a long, long time. He’s been an unbelievable performer for England. It was just written in the stars he was going to take that last wicket, wasn’t it?
“Mo came into the team because of an unfortunate injury to Jack Leach. I chose him because I know what he can do on his best days, and when it mattered, Mo produced another of his best days on the field for England. He changed the game for us - for Mo to retire, come back and put in those performances, he’s a great servant to England as well. We’ll let Mo reflect on everything and let him make a decision.”
The player of the match and England’s player of the series is Chris Woakes
And Andrew McDonald picks out Chris Woakes as England’s best, the Warwickshire all-rounder having altered the shape of the series in just three Tests.
“It’s been an amazing few games. The belief was there at 2-0 down that we could still go on and win the series, that’s the spirit in the dressing room, but I think 2-2 is fitting, really.
“I’d not been part of this team for more than 12 months so I was just desperate to come in and get a go. I couldn’t have asked for it to have gone much better, really.
“Five Tests with the gruelling schedule, I always felt I might get an opportunity at some point. I just tried to make sure I was ready. I didn’t feel in great rhythm coming into the series, but I got an early wicket [at Headingley] and from that moment on I did find a rhythm. You’ve got to have a bit of luck, of course, and thankfully from then on it went alright.
“Today is probably up there with my best moments in Test cricket. For Broady to go out the way he did was incredible. Today, with this crowd, was amazing.
“It’s not always easy to take big scalps. I think that is the most pleasing thing about this series, I’ve managed to get big players out. This is the pinnacle of cricket, in our opinion, so it’s amazing.”
The Australia player of the series is Mitchell Starc
England coach Brendon McCullum gives Usman Khawaja an honourable mention, but plumps for Mitchell Starc as his player of the series from the opposition.
“Jeez, it’s been an incredible five Test matches,” the series’ leading wicket-taker says. “It’s been exciting with ebbs and flows tonight - the way it finished today spoke to the quality of the cricket and the emotions of the Ashes.
“It’s come down right to the last session on day 25. Congratulations to Stuart on his retirement - I’m not sure he could have written that any better.
“It’s been a fantastic tour to be able to come and express myself the way I’d have liked to. We’ve had a pretty successful tour when you consider the Test final as well. It’s quite a resilient group, Pat’s played six, Josh has played four. It’s been a busy eight weeks for both teams but the quality of cricket throughout has been fantastic.
“Obviously we saw two different brands of cricket. Both teams stuck true to what they wanted to play throughout the series and ultimately it’s 2-all. It’s just great that Test cricket is thriving the way it is and we get the support we do.”
England win fifth Test at the Oval to secure 2-2 Ashes series draw
A marvellous end to a marvellous series, an Ashes that had just about everything. Australia deserve plenty of credit, an away draw never to be sniffed at and the urn again secure in their grasp, but they will be disappointed to have not converted a 2-0 lead into series victory. So many imponderables, but the tenor shifted slightly after the injuries to Nathan Lyon and Ollie Pope, Australia thrown off balance by the loss of their offie and England inserting Chris Woakes and Mark Wood into their side to swing the series back their way.
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