ENGLAND’s Stuart Broad claimed the last two Australia wickets to secure a dramatic 49-run victory for his team in the final Ashes test at The Oval on Monday (31) and leave the series locked at 2-2 after five gripping matches.
Broad, playing his final test, removed Todd Murphy and Alex Carey, both caught by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, to dismiss Australia for 334 and deny them their first Ashes win in England since 2001.
Australia, who won the first two tests and had already retained the urn, moved to 238-3 chasing 384 to win before a two-hour rain delay halted their progress and England took the last seven wickets in just over two hours for a famous victory.
Chris Woakes was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-50 and Moeen Ali took three wickets before the 37-year-old Broad completed the job in a perfect swansong two days after announcing his retirement.
“It was absolutely wonderful,” Broad told Sky Sports. “I thought Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali set the tone absolutely unbelievably.
“Once we got a couple we really started to believe. The crowd were unbelievable. It was so loud and we just jumped on the back of that. To contribute to the team with two wickets is very special.
“When you make that decision (to retire) you wonder what your last ball will be so to take a wicket to win an Ashes test match is pretty cool,” he added.
Australia had started the day with high hopes of victory after Usman Khawaja and David Warner’s unbroken opening partnership of 135 on Sunday.
The pair looked to continue to bat with positive intent but under grey skies the ball moved around for the England bowlers from the start.
Warner, on 60, was beaten by a lifting delivery from Woakes and edged a catch to Bairstow before Woakes trapped Khawaja lbw for 72 in his next over, the batsman failing to overturn the decision on review.
Marnus Labuschagne struck two crisp fours to get to 13 but he nibbled at an outswinger from Mark Wood and Zak Crawley took a good low catch at second slip.
Travis Head started unconvincingly and Smith was fortunate to survive after edging Moeen off his glove to Stokes, only for the England captain to lose control of the ball.
Australia reached lunch on 238-3 but rain delayed the restart and when the players returnedSmith and Head took their fourth-wicket partnership to 95 with the touring side looked well placed on 264-4.
The dismissal of Head for 43, however, sparked a collapse.
Head drove a ball from Moeen which span out of the rough and Joe Root took a sharp catch at slip before Mitchell Marsh, on six, edged Moeen on to his pad and Bairstow reacted quickly to snatch the ball one-handed.
Woakes ended Smith’s resistance for 54, well caught low down by Crawley at second slip, and Mitchell Starc edged Woakes to Crawley for a duck as Australia lost four wickets in 19 balls.
Captain Pat Cummins made nine before under-edging a ball from Moeen onto his pad and Stokes held a looping catch at leg slip to reduce Australia to 294-8, still 90 runs short of their target.
Carey and Murphy bravely added 35 before Murphy, on 18, edged Broad to Bairstow and five runs later the 37-year-old fast bowler produced another perfect outswinger to end Carey’s resistance for 28 and spark wild celebrations around the ground.