England wins the fifth Test by 49 runs because to one final magic show from Stuart Broad

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In his final innings of Test cricket, Stuart Broad hit

With the final two Australian wickets to tie the Ashes series at two all at The Oval, Stuart Broad produced one last moment of brilliance before calling it a day in his professional career. 

To complete a recovery from a two-nil deficit, Todd Murphy and Alex Carey edged behind for England’s 603rd and 604th Test wickets, respectively. Todd Murphy is now the all-time Ashes wicket-taker for England.

Rain wiped off England’s chances of winning in Manchester, but Australia kept the urn despite missing out on another chance to win the first Ashes series outside of England since 2001. They made good progress toward a challenging 384 objective to win, but on the fifth day, they crashed spectacularly after tea.

Australia needed 146 more runs to win with seven wickets left, and Steven Smith and Travis Head were both set when it started to rain just as the players were getting out onto the field following lunch. After tea, they reduced the score by another 26 runs before experiencing a spectacular collapse that left them 4 for 11 in 19 balls.

In what was very certainly going to be his final Test match, Moeen Ali bowled despite having a groin injury. He got one ball to spin sharply out of the rough as Head edged to slip, and Chris Woakes then found Smith’s outside edge as the old ball nibbled away just a little bit off the seam.

When Mitchell Starc nicked his second ball to second slip after Mitchell Marsh inside-edged onto his pad, The Oval erupted in cheers. Jonny Bairstow held onto a fresh opportunity while falling low to his right. Moeen’s leg slipped through his thigh pad as a result of Pat Cummins’ sudden fall.

Murphy was summoned to the crease as a result, and despite there still being 90 runs needed, he and Carey stood their ground to make progress. 

Broad wheeled away in his customary celebration as his subsequent delivery was nicked behind after two successive balls beat Murphy on the outside edge. This was similar to how he had done in the first innings when he shifted the bails at the non-striker’s end.

With a hint of movement hanging on the second new ball, England chose not to take it, and Broad had Carey edging to second slip before Zak Crawley fumbled a promising opportunity. Broad basked in the glory of one last flourish to round off his illustrious career, but Bairstow held on when Carey drifted behind once again.

The fourth day had been difficult for England’s seamers as they tried to make chances, but a replacement ball, chosen 11 deliveries before Sunday’s early close, and favorable overhead circumstances allowed them to stay in the game from the start of the fifth morning, with Broad nearly instantly beating the bat.

Warner was caught behind by Woakes’ angled delivery in the fourth over of the day. Even though it’s often believed that Broad is the one who assaults Warner the most, Woakes has seized the title in the past two weeks after dismissing him thrice in the match in Manchester and twice more in South London.

When Broad’s nip-backer touched Marnus Labuschagne on the thigh but outside the line of off stump, England burned a review, but Usman Khawaja could not be saved by the DRS in Woakes’ subsequent over. With a 72 in the fourth inning, he ended Khawaja’s outstanding individual series by trapping him on the front pad with a full and straight throw.

Labuschagne, the only frontline Australian batter to handle Mark Wood’s pace at both Headingley and Old Trafford, was squared up to fall to him for the second time in the game for only 13. A length ball that moved away from him late beat him and edged to second slip, where Crawley had a fine, low catch.

In 62 balls, Smith and Head launched a counterpunch that resulted in a 50-run stand. While Smith appeared to be returning to his best after two quiet Tests since his century at Lord’s, Head was repeatedly beaten on the outside edge by Broad but smashed back-to-back boundaries off James Anderson.

He was dramatically saved in the over before lunch when Stokes caught Moeen’s off break at leg slip but lost control of the ball and brushed it against his thigh as he sought to celebrate by throwing it up. Smith managed to survive and reach the halftime score of 40 despite England challenging the on-field judgment and being disappointed to lose a review.

Both the second and third sessions were postponed due to rain. Soon after the match resumed, Smith reached his second half-century of the contest and first in the fourth innings of a match in seven years. However, Head was bowled by the very next delivery, and England seized the opportunity.

Despite leading the series two-nil after the first two Tests, Australia’s defeat means that a generation of current greats will exit the game without taking the series in England by a clear margin. Only Murphy, who played for them at The Oval while he was under 29, will be around in four years. Many others won’t.

And for England, this served as confirmation of a remarkable shift in how they approached Test cricket. Despite barely landing a blow during the disastrous Ashes tour 18 months prior, they had Australia on the ropes for most of this series. It was a suitable send-off for Broad and Moeen.