Australians only have pride to play for in final Test

2013-08-21 00:00

ENGLAND and Australia head into the final Ashes Test today at the Kennington Oval with England riding high having retained the cherished urn and 3-0 up in the series.

On paper, it looks a one-sided affair and history will record that England dominated the series more than the old foe.

A closer look, however, at what has transpired on the pitch going into the final Test paints a different picture. For those who have followed the series, there’s no denying the Australians are, for once, the weaker side, yet the matches have had Test cricket purists baying for more.

After a sluggish start, where the Australians appeared mere cannon fodder, they have come back well, just lacking the killer blow to hurt their opponents and have England staggering.

Comments were rife as the side came in for severe criticism, being branded in some circles as the worst batting side to ever step on England’s shores, a team without leadership, a black spot on Australian cricket.

Credit where it’s due, the Australians were robbed of possible victory by the rain in the third Test at Old Trafford with England wobbly on 37-3 chasing 332 to win and a mere 14-run loss in the opening clash at Trent Bridge could have gone either way.

The fact is, the Australians only have pride to play for, while England are like baying wolves, keen to scent blood and finish off the series with a comprehensive 4-0 drubbing.

Chris Rogers and captain Michael Clarke have put up stubborn resistance with the bat in what is considered a tottering top order, while the Aussie bowlers have kept the men from Down Under in the hunt at times.

SERIES STATS

Most Runs:

Ian Bell (Eng) 500 — HS 113

Michael Clarke (Aus) 346 — HS 187

Chris Rogers (Aus) 344 — HS 110

Kevin Pietersen (Eng) 276 — HS 113

Joe Root (Eng) 260 — HS 180.

Most Wickets:

Graeme Swann (Eng) 23

Ryan Harris (Aus) 20

Stuart Broad (Eng) 17

Peter Siddle (Aus) 17

James Anderson (Eng) 17.

Leading Batting Averages Australia:

Michael Clarke 49,42

Chris Rogers 43,00.

Leading Batting Averages England:

Ian Bell 71,42

Joe Root 37,14.

Results:

1st Test — England won by 14 runs

2nd Test — England won by 347 runs

3rd Test — Drawn

4th Test — England won by 74 runs.

THE OVAL STATS

1st Test match: England v Australia, September 6-8, 1880 (First Test match ever played in England). England won by five wickets.

Highest total: England 903-7 (1938); Australia 701 (1934).

Lowest total: Australia 44 (1896); England 52 (1948).

Highest individual score: England — Len Hutton 364 (1938); Australia — Bill Ponsford 266 (1934).

Best bowling (Ashes match): England - Fred Martin 12-102 (1890); Australia - Fred Spofforth 14-90 (1882).

Biggest winning margin: England - Innings and 579 runs (1938); Australia - Innings and 149 runs (1948).

Smallest winning margin: England - 19 runs (1997); Australia - 7 runs (1882).

Most Ashes runs: England - Len Hutton 557 at 111,40; Australia - Don Bradman 553 at 138,25.

Most Ashes wickets: Shane Warne - 32.

Ashes runs scored: 17 864 for 557 wickets.

Ashes boundaries: 1 626 (1 600x4; 26x6).

Aus v Eng at the Oval

Tests — 35

Aus wins — 6

Eng wins — 16

Draws — 13

Most runs

Ian Bell (Eng) 500 — HS 113

Michael Clarke (Aus) 346 — HS 187

Chris Rogers (Aus) 344 — HS 110

Kevin Pietersen (Eng) 276 — HS 113

Joe Root (Eng) 260 — HS 180.

Most wickets

Graeme Swann (Eng) 23

Ryan Harris (Aus) 20

Stuart Broad (Eng) 17

Peter Siddle (Aus) 17

James Anderson (Eng) 17.

Best bowling

Ryan Harris 7-117 (4th Test, Durham)

Stuart Broad 6-50 (4th Test, Durham)

Graeme Swann 5-44 (2nd Test, Lords)

Peter Siddle 5-50 (1st Test, Nottingham)

Stuart Broad 5-71 (4th Test, Durham).

Leading batting averages

Australia

Michael Clarke 49,42

Chris Rogers 43,00.

Results

1st Test — England won by 14 runs

2nd Test — England won by 347 runs

3rd Test — Drawn

4th Test — England won by 74 runs.

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