Ashes 2023 5th Test: Zak Crawley, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow blasted half-centuries as England scored close to 400 runs on the third day
England's Zak Crawley plays a shot on day three of the fifth Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at The Oval cricket ground in London. Pic/AFP
Zak Crawley, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow blasted half-centuries as England scored close to 400 runs on the third day of the fifth and final Test of the Ashes 2023 series, taking a massive 377-run lead against Australia at The Oval on Saturday.
Crawley blasted a 75-ball 73, Root blazed to 91 off 106 deliveries while Jonny Bairstow hammered 78 off 103 balls as England continued with their Bazball tactics as they reached 389/9 in 80 overs at stumps on the third day.
Opener Ben Duckett (42) and skipper Ben Stokes (42) nearly reached their half-centuries as England snatched away the initiative from Australia after being bowled out for 283 in their first innings. The hosts came back to restrict Australia to 295 and then turned the game in their favour with high-tempo scoring that left the Aussies gasping for most of the day.
England would hope to add a few more runs, maybe reach the psychological barrier of 400 runs to set Australia a stiffer target to win the match and win the series. Anyway, Australia will have to chase the highest fourth-innings target at The Oval in the next two days.
Crawley and Duckett started plundering runs as England started the proceedings on the third morning. They raised 79 runs for the first wicket before Duckett (42) was out, edging behind to Alex Carey off Mitchell Starc. Crawley was the next to go after adding 64 runs for the second wicket with skipper Ben Stokes, nicking one to Steve Smith at second slip off Pat Cummins.
Stokes fell trying to attack spinner Todd Murphy but there was no respite for Australia despite claiming Harry Brook (7) as Root, who blasted 11 fours and one six, and Bairstow turned things around for England, raising 110 runs for the fifth wicket. Bairstow continued to make things difficult for Australia as he was out for 78 while Moeen Ali made a quick 29 off 38 deliveries.
At stumps, Stuard Broad was batting on two with James Anderson on 8.
Mitchell Starc was the most successful Australian bowler with 4-94 and Todd Murphy claimed 3-110 but Australia were under pressure for most of the day and now face an uphill task in the fourth innings.
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England 283 & 289/9 in 80 overs (Zak Crawley 73, Joe Root 91, Jonny Bairstow 78; Ben Duckett 42, Ben Stokes 42; Mitchell Starc 4-94, Todd Murphy 3-110) lead Australia 295 by 377 runs.
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