Day Four at the Oval: Broad and Leach complete the victory for England despite valiant resistance from Wade

Dannie Byrne

Lyon bowled the first over of the day and immediately got the ball to turn away from Leach. He dropped short and Leach clubbed it to the extra cover fence. Cummins bowled from the other end and Archer was caught behind off his glove down the leg side. Marais Erasmus initially ruled not out but Paine used the DRS successfully for a change and Archer was obliged to return to the Pavilion ( 317 – 9 ). It was Cummins’ 29th wicket of the series, the highest in an Ashes Series by a bowler not taking five wickets in any innings. Broad hit Cummins for a six straight over Siddle’s head at deep square leg and with five men on the boundary he smashed another six into the groundsmen’s hut under the Bedser Stand. Leach was caught at wide mid-on by Hazlewood off Lyon and the home side were all out for 329 effectively setting the Australians an unlikely target of 399 for victory.

Broad and Archer opened the bowling for England and Warner immediately played and missed to both. Broad over-pitched and Harris drilled the ball straight back beyond his outstretched hand. Archer dropped short and Warner cracked the ball through extra cover off the back foot. A leg bye was signalled to take the score to 14–0, the highest opening stand for Australia in the entire series. Harris clipped a delightful shot off his legs through mid-wicket and then saw his off stump cart-wheeling towards the slips after the next delivery from Broad ( 18–1 ). Warner edged Archer wide of third slip at knee height for a fortunate boundary but then managed to find Burns at third slip with an edge off Broad’s next over ( 29 – 2 ).

Curran replaced Archer after 4 overs and Leach took over from Broad after 6. Labuschagne was brilliantly stumped following an excellent delivery from Leach that drew him slowly out of his crease ( 56 – 3 ). Lunch was taken with the score 68 – 3 from 21 overs. Woakes bowled from the Vauxhall End after the interval and Broad returned from the Pavilion End with Wade, another left-handed batsman now at the crease. Smith was caught at leg slip in a purposely set trap off Broad with Stokes grabbing the ball with both hands while diving low to his left( 85 – 4 ). Smith left the field disappointed,but received a well-deserved standing ovation having scored 774 runs from 7 innings in the series at an average of 110.57.

Leach replaced Woakes after only three overs and Wade used his feet well to hit the left-arm spinner for three successive boundaries. Marsh was brilliantly caught by Burns in the gully but unfortunately for England the third umpire spotted a no-ball. Having bowled 850 overs in Test Cricket this was the first time Woakes had been called for a no-ball. Ironically when the same happened to Leach on dismissing Smith at Old Trafford it was also his first no-ball in Tests. Wade edged Woakes again and this time the ball fell short of Stokes at second slip. Archer replaced Woakes at the Pavilion End and the 50 partnership was completed from 74 balls. Root brought himself on from the Vauxhall End and Wade brought up his half century from 65 balls. Root finally made the break through for England when Marsh was caught by Buttler at short leg off a thick inside edge ( 148 – 5 ).

Archer was convinced he had Paine lbw and a review was wasted proving the umpire to be correct. Leach was brought on from the Pavilion End and a slog sweep from Wade two deliveries before Tea dropped just short of Curran at deep square leg. The players eventually left the field with the score 167 – 5 from 47 overs with a further 36 still to be bowled in the day.Curran and Archer bowled after Tea and Archer wasted another review on an lbw shout against Wade where the ball had clearly pitched outside the line of leg stump. At least Broad had competition in the side now when it came to vigorouslypersuading the captain to use up reviews unnecessarily.

Wade hit Archer over fine leg for a six and the 50 partnership with Paine was completed from only 66 balls. Paine was adjudged lbw by Dharmasena after a rather lengthy pause reminiscent of Steve Bucknor twenty years ago. The DRS was again called for and once again the umpire’s decision was vindicated ( 200 – 6 ). Wade edged Archer over gully for a boundary to take his score to 92. The batsman and the bowler were exchanging words and the bouncers were fast, furious and plentiful. Wade stood his ground and a drive through mid-on took his tally to 96. The drinks interval came along and Root replaced Leach at the Vauxhall End. Wade completed an excellent century, his fourth in Test cricket from 147 balls including a six and fifteen 4’s.

Wade survived a missed stumping when on 106 when a delivery from Root lifted sharply and Bairstow was unable to take the bails off quickly enough. He was dropped off the next delivery by Stokes at slip diving to his left, another very difficult chance. Cummins had resisted admirably until Broad had him caught behind to bring to an end a stubborn partnership ( 244–7). Root was convinced he had Wade caught at slip off the next delivery and the umpire agreed. Wade was less convinced and called for the review. The batsman had hit the ground creating a cloud of dust and the ball had turned prodigiously to miss everything. Siddle edged to where a second slip should have been standing and Root placed a fielder there after the horse had bolted. He had clearly been studying the Virat Kohli theory on tactics and captaincy.

Leach replaced Broad at the Pavilion End and the floodlights were switched on.Root enticed Wade to dance down the wicket and Bairstow completed the stumping on this occasion ( 260 – 8 ). Lyon swept Leach straight to Root at mid-wicket ( 263 – 9 ) and Hazlewood did the same to his first delivery. Root took another superb catch diving full length to his left and the Australians were all out for 263. England had won by 135 runs and an Ashes Series was drawn for the first time since 1972. Archer was named Player of the Match and Stokes and Smith as Players of the Series. I wandered off to the Black Dog for a celebratory pint of Little Victories IPA while looking forward to catching up with Terry on Monday evening and deciding on which direction he should next point the rainbow coloured umbrella.

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