England were devoid of ideas — but hope is far from lost

A general view of the ground as play is abandoned due to the rain on day four

The day was called off with Australia 135/0 – Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

  • England vs Australia, fifth Ashes Test full scoreboard

By Nick Hoult, at the Oval 

The Ashes series that keeps on giving is set up to provide one more twist. Just when England thought they had laid on the perfect farewell for Stuart Broad, Australia coursed with defiance to give themselves hope of pulling off the biggest ever Ashes run chase.

David Warner and Usman Khawaja were part of the guard of honour that welcomed Broad on the field the morning after his retirement announcement but were soon blunting his attempts to bring home one more Ashes victory.

Warner and Khawaja combined for a 135 run unbeaten opening stand in the chase of 384 to win when rain washed out the rest of play just over an hour after lunch. England start the final day needing 10 wickets, Australia 249 runs. In recent times a run chase of 249 on the final day has not been much of a problem in England, at least to the Bazballers, but the pressure of the prize at stake could induce mistakes on both sides. Who will hold their nerve to the end in this tightest of series?

With more rain forecast on Monday, a draw is part of the equation again too. England are still ahead, just, with Australia requiring an awful lot of runs, and possibly a mixed mindset if they start thinking about settling for a draw that would seal a 2-1 result.

England may look back and be thankful for the rain if they come out on Monday with more fizz in their bowling after 38 fruitless overs at Australia’s openers.

England vs Australia live: Latest score from Ashes fifth Test as rain delays Australia chase of 384

The covers came on during the afternoon drinks interval… and never came off – Action Images via Reuters

Warner and Khawaja’s stand is the highest opening partnership for Australia since the 2005 Ashes Test at the Oval, and that still ended in glory for England, albeit it a draw. The parallels with that series refuse to end.

Both men are playing their last Tests in England so Broad is not the only one with a reason to write the fairytale send off. Warner has never scored a hundred in England and would love to stick it up the Poms one more time, and Khawaja made his one and only century here in the first Test at Edgbaston. With Steve Smith almost certainly playing his last Test in England too, three of Australia’s top four have personal motivation to go with the team’s desire to end their long wait for an Ashes series win in this country.

England badly need Broad to provide some early inspiration. The pitch is flat, there was less seam movement on Sunday, according to Hawk-Eye, than at any stage in the series since the first Test. With Moeen Ali struggling to cope with a groin strain, he bowled five patchy overs, and Ben Stokes unable to bowl, it leaves a lot of work on the shoulders of England’s aged pace attack.

James Anderson started the day marching to the crease with Broad, holding back so his friend could pass by the line up of Australian players and take the applause. Broad turned down singles, intent on facing the pace of Mitchell Starc and swiped the last ball of the first over of the day for six, the 55th of his career, good enough to fifth on England’s all time six-hitter list. It would be his final act with the bat in Test cricket. Only Wayne Daniel is believed to have hit the final ball of his Test career for six.

England's Stuart Broad in action with the bat

Stuart Broad hit the last ball he faced in Tests for a six – Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters

Anderson was lbw reverse sweeping in the next over, England adding just six to their overnight total. They turned down singles in the pursuit of fours and sixes which continued the outward impression that started in the final half hour on Saturday that England felt they had enough.

England were so dominant with the bat that it clouded the late order collapse when they lost five for 57, some of them poor shots, as they chased one big hit after another. It reduced the target below 400, and gave Australia a chink of light that was implausible when England were 320 ahead with seven wickets in hand, when Joe Root was bowled by a grubber. Credit to Australia though, for their bowlers never gave up and found a hint of reverse that made batting a touch more difficult.

Australia will claim their methods have been vindicated if they get home on Monday, flogging jaded Englishmen. The contrasting approaches to batting have had the biggest effect on the bowlers. England’s attack has bowled 196 overs more, and counting, than the Australians, and all apart from Anderson, who turned 41 on Sunday, are playing at least their third match in a row. In Wellington last February, England’s attack ran out of legs in a tight finish after New Zealand followed on and scored 483. The cumulative effect of the batsmen giving them so little rest could yet be a decisive factor in this Test.

Warner and Khawaja batted with much more intent than the first innings go-slow, bringing up fifty in the 13th over and putting the pressure back on England. For some reason England held back Mark Wood until the 31st over, raising fears of an injury, but more likely they were waiting for reverse swing. The wet weather has probably taken that out of the equation now.

Australia's Usman Khawaja and David Warner were very impressive on day four

Australia’s Usman Khawaja and David Warner were very impressive on day four – Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters

Australia’s batting was chanceless, Warner’s shot of the day was a lusty blow for four down the ground off Anderson, while Khawaja outscored his partner, even looked more lively running between the wickets. Anderson’s series was summed up with a beamer, this master of line and length losing his radar so completely he nearly decapitated Warner, who somehow deflected it with his bat for four. It came in an over when Anderson conceded 11 and was taken off for Wood, who found an edge with his second ball that flew past slip. Two overs later he hit Khawaja on the head and while he was undergoing a concussion test, England persuaded the umpires to replace the ball, hoping for a change of fortune. Two deliveries later it flew to the boundary again, Khawaja steering a wide one from Wood through third man, the look on Stokes’s face matching the gathering black clouds.

The morning began with a montage of Broad’s great moments played on the big screen to the backdrop of Jerusalem. The film ended with his ‘oh my God’, hands to face reaction in his eight for 15 with a tagline “Thank You Stuart’. He has one more day as a Test cricketer and England need him to provide a final flourish, one last spell for the highlights reel.

Rain ends day four with Australia 135/0: as it happened, below

05:00 PM BST

Close of play: Australia 135/0 (Warner 58* Khawaja 69*) target 384

That’s your lot for the day. Best thing we can say about the afternoon is at least they’ve pulled the plug (it had felt inevitable for some time) and we can all get on with the rest of Sunday.

Anyway, here’s Will Macpherson: “It’s official: we are done for the day. It’s too wet to clear up in 90 minutes, and it’s still raining. We will try again tomorrow, with Australia needing 249 runs and England 10 wickets. A shame, but beautifully poised.”

The Aussies had much the better of the day, getting rid of England’s last wicket without fuss (although Stuart Broad did hit a six) before David Warner and Usman Khawaja batted calmly, confidently and at a decent tempo to put on 135 without loss.

Neither the ball nor the pitch appeared to be doing much and England looked a little bit jaded. Perhaps a rest overnight will freshen them up.

Good one from earlier by the way: Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja snap back at crowd after being called ‘boring’

The forecast is better for tomorrow. Hopefully one side or other has enough time to force a result. We will get to the report of today’s play shortly and I think that’ll about do it for the blog. Cheers.

04:56 PM BST

That’s it

They have called the day’s play off.

04:40 PM BST

Patrons amusing themselves as best they can

Spectators play a makeshift game of cricket at the Oval

Spectators play a makeshift game of cricket at the Oval – PA

Is the bat invisible?! What is going on?

Ah. It’s an umbrella. I see now.

Spectators play cricket at the Oval

Brolly boy – PA

04:38 PM BST

It is still raining at The Oval

And very large puddles on the covers.

04:19 PM BST

I’m pretty sure that Will

has got that one spot on but they won’t be pronouncing the patient dead for a while yet.

I’m a few miles North of the ground and it’s suddenly stopped raining here and it is actually quite bright now. For what that’s worth (not a lot).

04:08 PM BST

On that note…

Here’s Will Macpherson:

“Very, very heavy rain now… I think we must be done for the day.”

04:06 PM BST

Huge pools of water on the covers

Ian Ward on Sky Sports says “it is teeming down”. Even if it were to stop raining right this second, I reckon the clear-up will take a while.

04:03 PM BST

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04:01 PM BST

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04:00 PM BST

What do the bookies think?

Australia can be backed at about 4/6 to win the Test match. The draw is 9/4. England are 2/1.

03:53 PM BST

Weather update

It’s absolutely chucking it down in London at the moment.

03:46 PM BST

Glenn McGrath

If you’ve for Sky Sports, I commend to you the masterclass that Glenn McGrath is currently doing with Mike Atherton et al.

I regret to inform you that the man we once knew as The Evil Glenn McGrath seems a nice man.

03:41 PM BST

Pretty much spot-on so far

03:25 PM BST

Here’s Weatherman Will Macpherson

“It’s pretty set in here, but has got a bit brighter in the last 10 minutes. There seems to be some optimism but we could get a bit of play late afternoon, but it doesn’t look that likely right now.”

03:22 PM BST

Wow this looks GRIM

The scene at The Oval

The scene at The Oval – Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters

03:20 PM BST

Tea is being taken

That’s an early tea, for all you tea-time teatime sticklers.

03:02 PM BST

Stokes supplicates

England vs Australia live: Latest score from Ashes fifth Test as rain delays Australia chase of 384

England’s captain Ben Stokes laments the rain as the team comes off – AFP via Getty

03:00 PM BST

This looks worse than first thought

02:58 PM BST

England probably the happier

of the two sides. The Australians had the momentum and were looking pretty comfortable.

02:55 PM BST

The weather in the West

of the country isn’t especially encouraging.

02:45 PM BST

Drinks: Australia 135/0 (Warner 58* Khawaja 69*) target 384

Will Macpherson: “Rain falling as the players take drinks, not long after we had a long delay for the concussion check. Wouldn’t be a surprise if we had a delay soon…. And with that, they are going off.”

The rain intensified during drinks and the umpires have taken the players off.

02:42 PM BST

OVER 38: AUS 135/0 (Warner 58* Khawaja 69*) target 384

Change of bowling: here’s Chris Woakes. Warner is able to leave plenty of this over, pushed across him but too wide. Tries to pay that off with the straight inswinger off ball five, but that’s too leg side.

Scyld Berry: “Well, this is nicely set up, isn’t it? For Stuart Broad to take the second new ball when Australia are 300 for no wicket and to run through them?!”

Rain is coming down there…

02:32 PM BST

OVER 37: AUS 134/0 (Warner 58* Khawaja 69*) target 384

Wood with a sharp one, Khawaja turns his head on it and is clanged on the back of the helmet. Ricky Ponting notes that the Aussies, such as Usman, are not wearing the stem guard for the back of the head, while England players are mandated to do that.

The trainer on to look at Khawaja, who is up and smiling but they are going to get him a new helmet. And also they are changing the ball by the looks of it, I dunno if that is because the ball got damaged by Usman’s headgear.

Usman Khawaja of Australia is hit on the helmet by Mark Wood

Usman Khawaja of Australia is hit on the helmet by Mark Wood – Getty Images Europe

The new ball swings… Usman tucks it off the pads for a couple. Now he’s squared up! And edges through the gully for four.

Wood leaves the field after that over.

02:29 PM BST

OVER 36: AUS 126/0 (Warner 58* Khawaja 61*) target 384

Khawaja with a nicely played late cut. Shot.

Warner now looks to be taking Root on. He’s slapped through point for four, and then smashed him through midwicket for the same result.

England are the side looking for answers so far today.

Will Macpherson: “Joe Root is bowling pretty nicely here, but he’s not the ideal partner for Mark Wood, because he rattles through his overs. Wood won’t get much rest. Little bit of restlessness here now; Australia need so many runs, but this is a terrific platform from which to build. Khawaja went past Crawley into the lead on the series run-scoring charts. This is excellent batting.”

02:27 PM BST

OVER 35: AUS 113/0 (Warner 50* Khawaja 56*) target 384

Excellent work from Brook on the rope as he keeps a Warner pull down to two. But no flies on Davey Warner today, he’s batted very well indeed for this half century and he’s dealt with Wood well in that over.

02:21 PM BST

OVER 34: AUS 110/0 (Warner 48* Khawaja 55*) target 384

Root to Usman, and he’s nutmegged Jonny Bairstow. Through the legs for four byes.

02:20 PM BST

OVER 33: AUS 104/0 (Warner 47* Khawaja 50*) target 384

Here comes Mark. Usman brings up his half century with a streaky one through the covers for four!

Good Aussies vs Crowd bust-up earlier.

Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja snap back at crowd after being called ‘boring’

02:10 PM BST

OVER 31: AUS 99/0 (Warner 46* Khawaja 46*) target 384

Root bowls a one-run over but the round of applause at the Oval is because Mark Wood is coming on for a bowl. Will Macpherson adds: “Chris Woakes is warming up as well, so we might get a bit of reverse from both ends.”

02:10 PM BST

OVER 31: AUS 98/0 (Warner 45* Khawaja 46*) target 384

Shot from David Warner – splendid stroke through the covers for four.

Beamer from Jimmy! It arrives at David Warner at chest height and the Aussie opener does absolutely brilliantly to concertina his body into a Z shape, get out of the way, and get enough bat on it to guide it over the slips for four! James Anderson apologises without delay and Warner, laughing, accepts it in good heart. Single to midwicket the next ball.

That’s 11 off the Anderson over and perhaps time for a shake-up. Still an awfully long way to go for the Aussies but this half hour since lunch has been trouble free really.

02:03 PM BST

OVER 30: AUS 86/0 (Warner 36* Khawaja 45*) target 384

Root. Just one off the over. He’s bowling well. Perhaps time for a bit of Mark Wood though? The atmos at the ground seems very quiet.

Ah, and right on cue, Will Macpherson reports: “Finally, a sighting of Mark Wood warming up. Got to be given a go soon.”

02:01 PM BST

OVER 29: AUS 86/0 (Warner 36* Khawaja 44*) target 384

Warner is meeting the ball with a full face and timing it into the offside but there’s no way through the field. As Nasser and Butch say on Sky – England happy to see that, they only have to mistime one, the ball sticks in the pitch etc.

More effective, and lower risk, for the Aussies is this late dab by Warner through the near-empty slip cordon. Four,.

01:57 PM BST

OVER 28: AUS 82/0 (Warner 32* Khawaja 44*) target 384

Joe Root seems to be getting a bit of drift through the air, and not just moving it away from the lefties as you’d expect. Bairstow shouts: “well bowled, that went the other way” as one ball seems to drift in towards leg. Root’s bowling with a slingy sort of low arm.

Warner is circumspect.

01:53 PM BST

OVER 27: AUS 79/0 (Warner 30* Khawaja 43*) target 384

I mentioned that Usman is not fighting shy of driving the ball and this is a nicely places shot through cover for a couple.

01:51 PM BST

OVER 26: AUS 77/0 (Warner 30* Khawaja 41*) target 384

Good over from Joe Root. Getting a wee bit of turn, and there’s a moment of alarm for David Warner as he tries to cut at one that does enough. Play and a miss.

Wood is off the field. Lawrence is on. England will be hoping the ball reverses. Not yet, not yet.

Here is Tim Wigmore:

“Joe Root opening with Anderson after lunch is a sign of a few things: how well he’s bowled this series, two left-handers being at the crease, Moeen Ali’s fitness – and the wicket still being fundamentally excellent to bat. Khawaja and Warner have been much less passive than Australia were at the start of their first innings. Good signs for Australia but still over 300 more runs to get.”

01:48 PM BST

OVER 25: AUS 76/0 (Warner 30* Khawaja 41*) target 384

Khawaja happy to take on the drive nevertheless, and timing it well enough that although he picks out the fielders, it’s all safe. Just one off Jimmy’s over.

England vs Australia live: Latest score from the Ashes fifth test after Broad given guard of honour

England vs Australia live: Latest score from the Ashes fifth test after Broad given guard of honour

01:42 PM BST

The players are back out

Here is Will Macpherson: “We are getting going again with a bit of moisture in the air, and a bit more rain forecast. Anderson to kick us off, so still no Wood, who I’m not sure is on the field.”

James Anderson will resume. He has got a ring of three men on the offside, close-ish and catching, hopefully from a misdriven cutter.

01:29 PM BST

Good afternoon all

Thank you Rob. Tyers here.

Well, well. It’s still very nicely set up for England but they will be getting nervous because the Aussies have batted really well so far. And it is currently raining. I’ll update as soon as I can on that.

01:12 PM BST

A change of blogging at the Telegraph End

That’s it from me for today. Alan Tyers will be with you after lunch, though it looks like there will be a bit of a delay because of the rain. Thanks for your company – bye!

01:08 PM BST

Watch Australia give Stuart Broad a guard of honour

01:04 PM BST

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01:03 PM BST

Lunch: Australia need a further 309 runs to win

That’s an excellent morning for Australia, who gave Stuart Broad a guard of honour and then pottered comfortably to 75/0 on a sleepy Oval pitch. The ball did very little for England’s bowlers, just the odd bit of turn and a soupçon of reverse swing, but they controlled the scoring rate pretty well after Ben Stokes switched to a subcontinental field.

Before thatBroad, retiring but never shy, heaved his last ball in Test cricket for six. Of course he did.

Before the start of Australia’s second innings I thought the chances of England winning were 85-15. After Australia’s start of 75 without loss, I reckon it is now 75-25. England seem to be waiting for the ball to reverse swing but rain, dampening the grass, will delay that process. In any event, for pace or swing, over to you again, Mark Wood.

01:01 PM BST

OVER 24: AUS 75/0 (Warner 30 Khawaja 39)

Root’s last ball before lunch brings an unsuccessful LBW appeal against Warner, who fell over a very full delivery that would have missed leg stump. That’s lunch.

12:58 PM BST

OVER 23: AUS 72/0 (Warner 29 Khawaja 37)

England are keeping Warner quiet, with no boundaries since the 12th over. Anderson offers him a few tempters outside off stump, knowing there are three men on the drive. Warner says no thank you, which means another maiden, the seventh in 16 overs of seam this morning.

Definitely curious that we are yet to see Wood. You’d think now we won’t see him until after lunch, and he will be at best the sixth bowler used. He’s obviously going to be tired after recent exertions, but he’s so important that they need to get him into the game before long.

Mark Butcher, who played all his career at Surrey, has just said on Sky that he thinks they are saving him until the ball starts reverse-swinging.

12:54 PM BST

OVER 22: AUS 72/0 (Warner 28 Khawaja 37)

Khawaja hits Root for consecutive boundaries to third man, a thick edge played with soft hands followed by a very late cut. He’s closing in on Zak Crawley, who is the leading runscorer in this series: Crawley 480, Khawaja 461.

12:51 PM BST

OVER 21: AUS 63/0 (Warner 28 Khawaja 29)

Anderson replaces Broad. Still no sign of Mark Wood, though he is on the field so he’s probably just a bit stiff and sore. There’s one slip and a slightly wonky umbrella field for Khawaja, who thinks about driving a wider cutter and then decides against it.

A caught-behind appeal is turned down when Khawaja chases a very wide yorker. There was a noise but it was bat on ground. Good stuff from Anderson.

James Anderson appeals for the wicket of Usman Khawaja

James Anderson appeals for the wicket of Usman Khawaja. – Gareth Copley/Getty Images Europe

12:46 PM BST

OVER 20: AUS 63/0 (Warner 28 Khawaja 29)

Root replaces Moeen, who looked uncomfortable during a spell of 5-0-19-0. He has a good record against left-handers in Test cricket, with an average of 30-odd, and his third ball turns sharply outside off stump. Warner then clatters a drive through extra cover for two, splitting the two men on the drive.

There have been 14 runs off the last eight overs, so England are starting to build some pressure.

12:43 PM BST

OVER 19: AUS 61/0 (Warner 26 Khawaja 29)

Stuart Broad hasn’t played a white-ball game of any kind since 2017, but he’s using some of those skills now: cutters, slower balls, a yorker that Khawaja keeps out. An England player, Stokes I think, moves the ball around in the hope of a change of fortune. No dice, solider: it’s another maiden.

Stuart Broad acknowledges the Oval crowd

Stuart Broad acknowledges the Oval crowd. – Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

12:37 PM BST

OVER 18: AUS 61/0 (Warner 26 Khawaja 29)

Moeen continues, though it’s increasingly clear that his groin injury is causing a fair bit of discomfort. Warner, who is into the twenties for the seventh time in the series, bisects the two short covers to drive a single; Khawaja tucks another off the pad.

Two from the over. It might be time for Joe Root and/or Mark Wood just before lunch.

12:34 PM BST

OVER 17: AUS 59/0 (Warner 25 Khawaja 28)

Broad now has three catchers on the drive for Khawaja. There’s no pace in the wicket now, so England are moving back towards the Brumbrella of the first Test. Bloody hell that seems forever ago, as we’ve been through so much since, but it was the middle of June.

Khawaja offers no stroke to a slower cutter that doesn’t miss off stump by all that much. England are definitely going into subcontinental mode.

12:29 PM BST

OVER 16: AUS 58/0 (Warner 24 Khawaja 28)

There’s some gentle drift for Moeen, but so far only one ball has really turned and bounced. Warner feels secure enough to come down the pitch and scrunch a single to mid-on. Australia need 326 more to win.

Moeen Ali

Moeen Ali could be a key man for England on a dry Oval pitch. – Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters

12:27 PM BST

OVER 15: AUS 56/0 (Warner 23 Khawaja 27)

The big man is back. Broad replaces Woakes (4-2-5-0) and beats Khawaja with a good delivery from round the wicket.

Khawaja toe-ends a pull into the off side, then flicks through midwicket for three. The pitch looks really flat, and I’m surprised we haven’t seen Mark Wood. Perhaps he’s carrying an injury as well; a few players on both sides surely are after such a gruelling series.

12:22 PM BST

OVER 14: AUS 51/0 (Warner 23 Khawaja 22)

Moeen’s spell is the usual mixture of good and bad balls, probably exacerbated by his groin injury. Warner cuts a single to bring up a calm, purposeful fifty partnership, their fourth of the series. Then Khawaja drives uppishly through the vacant cover region. That was a nice piece of bowling, and Ben Stokes immediately puts a man on the drive.

Usman Khawaja made a solid start at the Oval

Usman Khawaja made a solid start at the Oval. – Adrian Dennis/AFP

12:20 PM BST

The closing of a chapter

Telegraph Sport analysis

Telegraph Sport analysis

By Oliver Brown at the Oval

Amid all the Stuart Broad theatre at the Oval this morning, there was a touching moment as James Anderson took strike, with the crowd treating him to a serenade of “Happy Birthday, Jimmy” on the occasion of him turning 41. While Broad has deemed this the perfect platform on which to bow out, Anderson, for all his travails this series, is adamant he has much more left to give. Be that as it may, there is a palpable sense today that we are witnessing the closing of a chapter: a farewell to the grandest stage by not just one extraordinary England fast bowler, but potentially by two.

12:19 PM BST

OVER 13: AUS 49/0 (Warner 22 Khawaja 21)

Usman Khawaja has been the quiet her of this series. He has faced 1150 deliveries in this series, almost twice the next best (Ben Stokes on 626), and his ability to bat time was a big factor in both Australia’s wins.

He nails a pull off Woakes that is very well stopped by Brook, diving to his right at square leg. Because of that, Woakes bowls his second maiden in a row.

12:12 PM BST

OVER 12: AUS 49/0 (Warner 22 Khawaja 21)

I say! Moeen’s first ball turns extravagantly to beat both Khawaja and Joe Root at slip. It runs away for four byes but England won’t mind that.

Khawaja comes down the pitch to scrunch a single to mid-off. He looks positive today, and a strike-rate of 65 is comfortably his highest of the series. Warner works two more into the leg side and then pulls a loose delivery wide of mid-on for four. This is an excellent start for Australia.

Moeen Ali

Moeen Ali bowls on the fourth morning. – Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

12:09 PM BST

OVER 11: AUS 38/0 (Warner 16 Khawaja 20)

Woakes has bowled well to Warner in this series, dismissing him in the last three innings. He prefers to attack left-handers from over the wicket and is challenging Warner’s knowledge of his off stump. Warner defends solidly and it’s a maiden. He has 16 from 35 balls, Khawaja 20 from 31.

12:05 PM BST

OVER 10: AUS 38/0 (Warner 16 Khawaja 20)

Moeen Ali is coming into the attack. He hasn’t bowled in the Test because of a groin injury, but if fit he could be a key man because there was a lot of encouragement for Todd Murphy yesterday.

His second ball is too straight and tickled for four by Warner, who then heaves a full toss over midwicket for two. Moeen’s pace is apparently the same as usual, around 53-55mph, so hopefully the injury isn’t inhibiting him too much.

Both England’s spinners have been warming up, and it’s Moeen Ali who will get a go first. Perhaps an experiment to see how he goes? Root a nice insurance policy.

12:00 PM BST

OVER 9: AUS 32/0 (Warner 11 Khawaja 19)

England are down to two slips now, a reflection of how little the ball is doing. Woakes tries a surprise short ball, which Khawaja pulls on the bounce to Brook at square leg.

England might have to combine Mark Wood and some offspin soon as the ball isn’t moving for their fast mediums… yet.

Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes

Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes chat at the Oval. – Adrian Dennis/AFP

11:56 AM BST

OVER 8: AUS 31/0 (Warner 11 Khawaja 18)

Khawaja makes it back-to-back boundaries for Australia, driving Anderson beautifully through mid-on. In fact, make that three in a row: Anderson pitches one up, striving for swing, and is driven through extra cover this time. The over ends with a muted LBW appeal against Warner; it was missing leg.

It sounds like England are already trying to get the ball changed, as it is doing nothing. The next best thing might be a change of pace, either Mark Wood or Moeen Ali.

11:51 AM BST

OVER 7: AUS 20/0 (Warner 11 Khawaja 7)

An early change for England, with Chris Woakes replacing Broad after three overs. He’s had an outstanding series, 15 wicket at 19.66 to go with some vital runs, and his first ball snakes past Warner’s outside edge. The pressure is building – but Warner releases some of it by punching the last ball through mid-off for four. Excellent shot.

11:46 AM BST

OVER 6: AUS 16/0 (Warner 7 Khawaja 7)

Khawaja walks down the track to Anderson, albeit only to defend. Anderson has moved round the wicket now, and he beats Khawaja with a lovely full-length delivery. The pressure is starting to build; we’ve had just one run in the last three overs.

11:42 AM BST

OVER 5: AUS 16/0 (Warner 7 Khawaja 7)

This could also be David Warner’s last Test innings. He’d had an immensely frustrating series, with lots of starts but only one half-century – albeit a crucial one at Lord’s. The only game in which he really failed was at Headingley.

Warner is turned round by Broad and gets a leading edge that bounces just short of Duckett in the gully. For a split-second, as the ball left his bat, he probably feared that was the end.

11:39 AM BST

OVER 4: AUS 15/0 (Warner 7 Khawaja 7)

According to Benedict Bermange, Sky’s statistician, it’s been 71 years since somebody aged 41 and over took the new ball in a Test match. Here’s the list in fact.

Still no movement for Anderson, though that isn’t uncommon in this series. The ball has tended to swing more after around 10-15 overs.

Will Macpherson reports that it’s raining very lightly at the Oval, though play will continue for now.

Jimmy Anderson

Jimmy Anderson is the oldest man to take the new ball in a Test since 1952. – Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters

11:34 AM BST

OVER 3: AUS 15/0 (Warner 7 Khawaja 7)

So far so good for Australia, with the new ball doing little in the air or off the pitch. They look busy between the wickets, which hasn’t always been the case with Khawaja in this series. Looks like Broad may have to play one last game of patiencee.

The weather forecast has improved slightly, though I’d still expect a rain break or two.

11:30 AM BST

OVER 2: AUS 11/0 (Warner 6 Khawaja 4)

The birthday boy Jimmy Anderson starts at the other end. The last 41-year-old to take a wicket in an Ashes Test, or for England in any Test, was… Graham Gooch at Brisbane in 1994: Slater c Gatting b Gooch 176. A quiet first over from Anderson, five from it.

A pretty ginger bit of fielding from Moeen Ali at midwicket there. Suspect England will just try to nurse him through; his action isn’t the most dynamic, so he might be able to bowl.

11:26 AM BST

OVER 1: AUS 6/0 (Warner 5 Khawaja 0)

Broad has four slips for Warner, who inside-edges the first ball nervously for a single. The four slips stay in place for Khawaja, with the addition of Stokes at leg slip. A bye down the leg side brings Warner back on strike, and he times a classy cover drive for four.

Good news for England: Moeen Ali – who is probably playing his last Test as well – is on the field.

Congratulations to Stuart Broad on a wonderful  career. He won’t end winning the Ashes but I sense there will be plenty of passion and emotion in this last innings. Can’t wait to watch this run chase.

Stuart Broad

Stuart Broad bowls the first over of his last innings as a Test cricketer. – John Walton/PA

11:21 AM BST

Australia need 384 to win

The players are back on the field. It’s time for Broad v Warner, one last time. I forgot to say that the Anderson wicket means Broad’s yahoo into the crowd was the last ball he will face in Test cricket. Who writes your etcs?

11:20 AM BST

Watch Stuart Broad hit his 55th and final Test six

11:18 AM BST

Impressive Murphy lives to tell a Bazball tale

So 6-132 in the match for Todd Murphy: he’s held up very well against England’s assault. Sense is that he could have bowled more earlier in both innings.

11:10 AM BST


Anderson LBW b Murphy 8 It was fun while it lasted. Anderson misses a reverse hoick at Murphy and is trapped LBW. He reviews, just in case, but everyone knows it’s out. Stuart Broad runs off the field to get his bowling boots on – cue another standing ovation – and Australia need 384 to win. FOW: 395 all out.

11:06 AM BST

OVER 81: ENG 395/9 (Broad 8 Anderson 8)

Hahaha. The first scoring shot of the day is a six over midwicket from Stuart Broad. He mistimed a few swings at Mitchell Starc, turned down a couple of singles – and then clouted the last ball of the over into the crowd to elicit the first truly lusty cheer of the day. I doubt it’ll be the last.

There was a montage for Broad on the big screen during Jerusalem, then a lovely round of applause. Huge cheer as he blocks the first ball, too.

Australia form a guard of honour for Stuart Broad

Australia form a guard of honour for Stuart Broad. – Adrian Dennis/AFP

11:01 AM BST

Australia form guard of honour for Stuart Broad

The Aussies have lined to pay tribute to their favourite enemy by lining up by the boundary. Here comes Stuart Broad to a standing ovation, a rare old spine-tingler at that. He smiles a little sheepishly and sticks his thumb up to say thanks to the people whose head he’ll be trying to knock off later today.

There was a beautiful moment just before Broad walked through the guard of honour. He put his arm round his mate Jimmy Anderson, who is 41 today, to suggest they should share the moment; Anderson was having none of it and stood back to allow Broad to walk onto the field alone.

10:57 AM BST

From Nick at the Oval

It feels like everyone is in place a bit earlier today sensing something special in the air as Stuart Broad playa out the final hours of his career. A standing ovation is assured as he walks out to bat this morning with his partner James Anderson. It’s not quite Walsh and Ambrose in 2000 as they both bowed out together but the end of an era for sure.

10:44 AM BST

Broad has one last chance to bowl England to Ashes victory

Broad has had a marvellous Ashes with 20 wickets, passing 600 in the process, and goes out suggesting he has more to offer, which is always the best way to finish. He will also know he has only taken one five wicket haul on this ground, against Australia in 2009, the first of many runaway spells that became his speciality (five for 19 in 47 balls).

Read more…

Stuart Broad

Stuart Broad prepares for day four at the Oval. – Alex Davidson/Getty Images Europe

10:33 AM BST

Stokes bowling seam in the warm-up

I get to the Oval at a similar time every day and this morning, an hour before play, it was palpably busier exiting the Northern Line than usual. A real buzz of excitement for what could be one of those days. There’s a suggestion on the radar of a bit of rain after lunch, but it won’t be like Old Trafford because, well, this is London and not Manchester.

A spot from the boundary: Ben Stokes bowling in the warm-up. Seam, not off-spin. Moeen Ali is ambling around chatting to his former captain Alastair Cook.

Joe Root

Joe Root looks on during England’s warm-up. – Mike Egerton/PA

10:32 AM BST

‘The ultimate Ashes warrior’

Ricky Ponting has paid tribute to the retiring Stuart Broad on Sky Sports.

10:25 AM BST

Jimmy Anderson: 41 today

As I type, Stuart Broad is signing autographs and posing for selfies in his bucket hat. He has stolen the limelight from his mate Jimmy Anderson, who turns 41 today. Knowing Jimmy, he’s probably quite happy about that.

10:23 AM BST

Crawley’s outstanding Ashes can rival any opener in history

He has exceeded all the other great names in one respect: his strike-rate. By no means can the strike-rates of all Test batsmen through the ages be calculated, through the loss of scorebooks, but it is almost certain that no specialist batsman has come anywhere near 88 per 100 balls in an Ashes series (and only India’s Virender Sehwag over a career).

10:20 AM BST

Stokes is England’s future at No3

The captain batting at three — potentially being held back occasionally in run chases — also allows England to persevere with an approach that has brought extraordinary success in recent years. This is the 12th Test since 2018 in which England have selected five specialist bowlers in addition to Stokes. They have won 10, and only drawn one — the previous Test at Old Trafford.

Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes made a classy 42 on the third day at the Oval. – Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters

10:17 AM BST

Ashes gift book

Relive the most dramatic moments in the history of cricket’s greatest rivalry with this personalised gift book.

10:13 AM BST

Oliver Brown on Australia

It was not that their cricket was incompetent, more that it was so dismally monochrome…  Where one side embodied enterprise and pluck, the other offered only suffocating rigidity.

Read more…

Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins had yet another tough day in the field. – Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters

10:12 AM BST

Ashes free bets

Having a bet on the final Test? Find the best Ashes free bets to use throughout the five days.

10:10 AM BST

Broad rivals Botham as England’s greatest Ashes performer

I’m not that surprised he’s gone now. Australia have always brought out the best in Broad. So with 26 months to go to the next Ashes, it makes sense that he’s gone now. It’s fitting that he’s ending his career against Australia.

Read now…

Stuart Broad

Stuart Broad reacts to a remarkable catch from Ben Stokes during his Ashes-winning spell of 8/15 at Trent Bridge in 2015. – Jon Super/AP

10:04 AM BST

‘Expect a more proactive Australia in the second innings’

09:39 AM BST

England go in search of wickets before the rain closes in

By Rob Smyth

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the penultimate day of this wonderful Ashes series. I use the word ‘penultimate’ with dispiriting confidence, because the forecast after lunch at the Oval is minging. Tomorrow looks okay, though, so there should be enough time for England to force a victory they richly deserve.

England closed yesterday on 389/9, a lead of 377, after one last festival of Bazball. It might have been even more: they were 332/4 when Joe Root was bowled by Todd Murphy.

The forecast means England need to get bowling as soon as possible, so it worked out okay in the end. I think we can probably say the same about Stuart Broad’s Test career. Broad caught everyone on the hop by announcing his retirement last night, his face a picture of pride and peace.

It was clear from day one that, whatever it is, Broad had it. But it took a while for the numbers to reflect that. After 20 Tests his average was in excess of 40; but the 22nd Test, at the Oval in 2009, brought the first of his Ashes-winning rampages, and he never really looked back.

Broad’s career has been defined the green and gold. Nobody has taken more Test wickets against Australia. Nobody, not even Sir Ian Botham, can match Broad’s record of three man of the match awards in Ashes-winning victories. Throughout the 1990s, he was the kind of hard-nosed brawler we dreamed of calling our own. The word ‘competitor’ has been used more than any other to describe Broad. Some Australians might prefer a different C-word, but deep down they respect a Cobber in Pom’s clothing.

This isn’t quite the fairytale ending to Broad’s career – imagine if the score was 2-2 and he announced that last night – but it’s perfect in every other way. Or at least it will be, provided he and his mates can attend to one last bit of business.

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