Cricket

Australia take control of 5th Ashes test thanks to Smith ton

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Steve Smith became the youngest Australian to make an Ashes century since Ricky Ponting in 1997 to help his side compile an impressive first inning total on a rain-affected second day of the 5th and final Ashes test at the Oval.

The 24-year-old's sublime 138 from 241 balls helped the visitors reach 492/9 before captain Michael Clarke declared and gave England a tricky 17 overs to face before bad light ended play.

The day had begun with dark, heavy clouds over the Oval and it wasn't long before the heavens opened, meaning over 20 overs were lost.

The two teams eventually emerged at 2.30pm and Smith picked up where fellow centurion Shane Watson left off the day before, helping his side accelerate as they looked to counter the time lost to the elements.

The overcast conditions were offering England's bowlers plenty of assistance, and nightwatchman Peter Siddle was the first to fall to James Anderson having made an entertaining 23 from 27 deliveries.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin arrived at the crease and immediately tried to up the tempo once more in the search of quick runs, and he made good progress before his untimely demise.

In a test where England have been criticised for their decision to select rookie spinner Simon Kerrigan the breakthrough came from an even more unlikely source as Jonathan Trott provoked Haddin into dragging on.

Smith continued his pursuit of 150 unabated and helped his side reach 394/6 by tea, and new partner James Faulkner forced the issue by hitting three fours from Stuart Broad's first over after the break.

Faulkner then suffered the same fate as Haddin as he was snared by part-timer Trott, but not before he had made 23 at a strike rate of almost 110.

Mitchell Starc came and went with the night drawing in but still the declaration didn't come as Ryan Harris swung his bat to great effect before his useful innings of 33 was bought to an end by Anderson.

That prompted the declaration and England emerged to face a tricky spell before the close of play. Although progress was far from either speedy or serene both Alastair Cook and fellow opener Trott made it through unscathed with 32 runs on the scoreboard before the umpires called proceedings to a halt because of the diminishing light.

England came into this final Ashes test hoping to claim an unprecedented 4-0 series win, and while that now looks unlikely they will look to make good progress on day three with the forecast set fair to try and ensure ensure Australia go home from a difficult tour empty handed.

Topics:
The Ashes
Australia cricket
Cricket
England cricket

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