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Runs dry up for England in final Ashes Test

August 24, 2013 at 1:53 am | News Desk

Runs dry up for England in final Ashes Test LONDON: Runs dried up for England as Australia dismissed Joe Root and Jonathan Trott in an attritional second session on the third day of the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval on Friday.

England, who at 3-0 up had already won the five-match series, were 181 for three at tea, 311 runs behind Australia’s first innings 492 for nine declared and still needing a further 112 to avoid the follow-on.

Kevin Pietersen was 29 not out and Ian Bell, who came into this match having scored exactly 500 runs in the series with three hundreds, four not out.

Pietersen, who at The Oval in 2005 scored a stunning maiden Test hundred to help secure a draw that saw England regain the Ashes, had been unusually restrained in facing 82 balls with just two boundaries for his runs on Friday.

He was not alone, England scoring just 84 runs in the session’s 38 overs.

England resumed Friday on 32 without loss after Shane Watson’s Test-best 176 and Steven Smith’s 138 not out – his maiden hundred at this level – had taken Australia to their imposing total.

Alastair Cook, the England captain, was 17 not out and Joe Root 13 not out.

The openers made a solid start, with Root clipping Ryan Harris off his legs for four while left-hander Cook square-drove the fast bowler for a boundary.

But Cook’s mediocre series with the bat continued when, three balls after drinks, he followed a delivery angled across him from Harris, Australia’s best bowler of the Ashes, and edged to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for 25.

It was an all-too familiar exit for Cook in a series where he has scored 243 runs in nine innings with a best of 62 at an average of just 27 — a far cry from his triumphant 2010/11 Ashes tour of Australia where he scored 766 runs at 127.66 with three hundreds.

Root’s pull off Peter Siddle saw him to a 145-ball fifty with eight fours, but after lunch he fell tamely for 68 when he top-edged a sweep off Lyon straight to Shane Watson at short fine leg, where the all-rounder had been positioned exactly for such a mistimed shot.

Root’s exit ended a stand worth exactly 50, with England 118 for two.

Pietersen was nearly run out on 11 with the batsman yards short of his ground going for a risky single when David Warner missed with a shy at the stumps from mid-on.

There were ironic cheers from a capacity crowd when Pietersen went down the pitch to drive leg-spinner Smith for four — the first boundary in 11 overs.

But the first delivery with the new ball saw Trott go lbw for 40 to left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc.

England challenged but, with the Decision Review System upholding experienced Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar’s verdict, it was the end of Trott’s 134-ball innings and a stand of 58 with fellow South Africa-born batsman Pietersen.

By contrast Bell, a Warwickshire team-mate of Trott, got off the mark fifth ball with a square-driven four off Starc.

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