22 Aug 2015

England crumble puts Australia in sight of victory

8:35 am on 22 August 2015

England's collapse on day two of the final Ashes cricket test at the Oval in London has put the touring side firmly on course for victory after a dramatic day.

Steve Smith celebrates his century during the second Ashes Test at Lord's, 2015.

Australian captain-in-waiting, Steve Smith. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

After resuming on 287 for 3, Steve Smith's patient 143 guided Australia to a formidable 481.

The home side then limped meekly to 107 for eight in reply.

The bowlers rammed home the advantage in the last session to boost their side's bid for a consolation win after relinquishing the Ashes by losing the fourth test in Nottingham.

Spinner Nathan Lyon bowled England captain Alastair Cook for 22 just before tea to start the rot.

Adam Lyth's wretched run continued when, on 19, he spooned an attempted pull off Peter Siddle to Mitchell Starc at mid-on.

Siddle, recalled in place of the injured Josh Hazlewood, produced a superb delivery to bowl Ian Bell for 10 and Joe Root nicked Mitchell Marsh to keeper Peter Nevill after labouring for 39 balls to make six.

Jonny Bairstow, on 13, tamely pulled Mitchell Johnson to Lyon at square leg, Jos Buttler was bowled by Lyon for one and Ben Stokes skied Marsh to Nevill for 15.

Stuart Broad edged Marsh to Adam Voges at slip for a duck before Moeen Ali and Mark Wood each made eight not out to take the hosts to the close without further loss, still 374 runs behind their opponents.

Smith in for long-haul

Smith waited until his 24th delivery to add to his overnight 78 before the captain-in-waiting, was caught off a Steven Finn no-ball on 92.

The experienced right-hander clipped Moeen Ali for a single to bring up his 11th test century, a patient effort spanning more than five hours at the crease.

Smith's long vigil ended when he dragged a ball from Steven Finn on to his stumps and he departed to a standing ovation having hit two sixes and 17 fours.

Mitchell Starc struck a six and nine fours in a breezy 58 off 52 balls before he was lbw to Stokes and Siddle was caught by a diving Lyth at gully off Steven Finn to end the innings.

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