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Ashes 2019: 5th Test – Archer, Curran run riot as Australia crumble on Day 2

Jofra Archer completed a six-wicket haul alongside a swinging Sam Curran’s three-fer to bundle Australia for 225 on day 2 of the fifth Ashes Test. At stumps, England were 9/0 with a valuable lead of 78 runs going into the third day at The Oval. As many as 12 wickets fell on a single day of Test cricket.

Resuming day 2 on their overnight score of 271/8, England could barely add 23 runs to the total. Jos Buttler (70) was the first one to depart, followed by Jack Leach (21). Buttler tried to go for the big shot but inside-edged a Pat Cummins delivery onto his off stump. Leach made a fighting 21 but eventually ended up becoming Mitchell Marsh’s fifth victim.

Warner flops, Smith tops: Australia’s same old story

Perhaps, there couldn’t have been a more fitting description of the state of opening batsmen around the world right now. For the umpteenth time in this series, Australia’s openers made their way back to the pavilion without making their presence felt. David Warner recorded his eighth single-digit figure this Ashes, the most by any Test opener in a series. Marcus Harris too failed to impress leaving yet another unfinished job for a batsman who has been their sole resurrector this series. Steve Smith once again found himself in a rebuilding exercise alongside his favourite partner, Marnus Labuschagne. The duo added 69 runs for the third wicket as the England bowlers continued to put on a lid on them.

Archer roars, Curran swings

But this time, it was Archer who became England’s destructor-in-chief by first getting rid of both the openers. Later, he came back to trap a well-set Labuschagne (48) plumb in front. Matthew Wade (19) and Mitchell Marsh (17) continued playing second fiddle to Smith, who was prepping himself for another marathon of an innings. But their stay was cut short by Archer and especially Curran, whose beautiful spell of swing bowling kept Australia on their toes.

Smith though kept batting the way he has been since the start of the series, despite running out of partners at the other end. It wasn’t until Australia were seven wickets down that Smith fell, after having been given a lifeline earlier by Joe Root. England’s comeback man Chris Woakes finally got Smith to miss a straight one with the batsman just 20 runs short of his fourth Ashes hundred. It was the final nail in Australia’s coffin and at 187/8, they were in all sorts of trouble.

Archer and Curran then teamed up to clean the Australian tail, but not before Peter Siddle (18) and Nathan Lyon (25) extracted some helpful runs. Their 37-run stand helped the Aussies get closer to the English total, as they were all-out on 225.

England’s openers came out to bat under lights in the last 15 minutes or so. Pat Cummins steamed in to bowl the first over, peppering Rory Burns with body blows. From the other end, Josh Hazlewood came blazing and almost had Joe Denly caught at gully. If it wasn’t for Harris’ confusion to take a sitter, England would’ve lost their first wicket in the final over of the day’s play.

Brief Scores: England 294 & 9/0 lead Australia 225 (Steve Smith 80, Marnus Labuschagne 48; Jofra Archer 6-62) by 78 runs.

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