David Warner and Steve Smith put on a solid display of batting as they helped Australia to 287-3 on day one of the fifth and final Test match against England at the Oval on Thursday.
England went into the fifth Ashes Test having already regained the coveted urn, but it was far from a dead rubber, as the hosts were looking to win four Tests in a series in their own backyard for the first time ever, while Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers were hoping to bow out on a winning note for Australia.
England won the toss, and elected to bowl first on a grassy deck, with Stuart Broad and Mark Wood opening the bowling in James Anderson’s absence. It was slow going at first for Warner and Rogers, but their watchful spell at the crease eventually paid dividends as a fifty-run stand soon became 100, with Warner bringing up his half-century in the process.
Wood, who remained as spirited as ever, finally found the breakthrough, seeing off Rogers for 43. That brought captain-to-be Smith to the crease, looking to avoid going out for single digits for the fifth time in a row. He avoided it comfortably, and added another 51 runs to the scoreboard with Warner, before Warner departed for 85 thanks to a flighted delivery from Moeen Ali.
Clarke then walked out to a guard of honour from the English, playing his 115th and last Test match. He, however, was the only one who didn’t trouble the scorers too much, Ben Stokes getting in on the act to remove him for 15.
Another solid partnership unfolded, this time between Smith and Adam Voges, before bad light called time on a successful day for the Australians, as they aim to finish the series on a high. 287-3 going into day two.