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England suffer batting collapse in Ashes finale

Mitchell Marsh took his best figures in Test cricket as Australia's push for a consolation win in the Ashes finale saw England suffer a severe collapse at The Oval on Friday.

cricket Updated: Aug 22, 2015 16:31 IST
A replica of the Ashes urn. (Reuters Photo)
A replica of the Ashes urn. (Reuters Photo)

Mitchell Marsh took his best figures in Test cricket as Australia's push for a consolation win in the Ashes finale saw England suffer a severe collapse at The Oval on Friday.

At stumps on the second day of the fifth Test, England had slumped to 107 for eight in reply to Australia's first innings 481 - a huge deficit of 374 runs.

All-rounder Marsh, recalled in place of older brother Shaun, a specialist batsman, took three wickets for 18 runs in seven overs - surpassing his two for 23 in Australia's 405-run win in the second Test at Lord's.

Meanwhile, fast-medium bowler Peter Siddle, playing his first Test since facing India at Adelaide in December after Josh Hazlewood was ruled out through injury, had two for 18 in 10.

England, with Moeen Ali and Mark Wood both eight not out, still needed a further 175 runs to avoid the follow-on, with just two wickets standing.

Fortunately for England, they are already 3-1 up in the five-match series, but there can be no denying Australia's dominance with both bat and ball so far in this match after captain-in-waiting Steve Smith had scored 143 earlier on Friday.

"The bowlers today (Friday), it's the best we've bowled all series," Smith told Sky Sports.

"They created lot of pressure, made them earn their runs and picked up wickets -- it speaks for itself."

As for his century, Smith admitted: "I couldn't get in a real rhythm for my first 20 runs but the more time you spend out there, it gets easier."

England fast bowler Steven Finn added: "We've had a very very poor day. It's not a 107 for eight pitch.

"But we'll come back tomorrow (Saturday) and fight as hard as we can."

Lyon strikes

England's reply suffered an early setback when skipper Alastair Cook was bowled for 22 on the stroke of tea by a fine delivery from off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

Bowling from round the wicket, Lyon got the ball to pitch on middle-and-leg before it turned past left-hander Cook's outside edge to clip off stump.

Adam Lyth desperately needed a big innings to cement his place after a run of low scores.

But on 19 he donated his wicket when, off Siddle's second-ball loosener, he pulled to Mitchell Starc, running round from mid-on.

Joe Root, who had scored two hundreds this series, once again walked out with England in trouble.

He responded by upper-cutting his first ball, from Siddle, over the slips for four.

But Siddle - whose selection had been labelled a "panic" measure by Australia great Shane Warne - struck again when a superb ball clipped the top of off stump to bowl Ian Bell for 10.

England's 60 for three became 64 for four when Root, unable to perform his usual rescue act, was caught behind off the lively Marsh for six.

Jonny Bairstow (13) was caught in the deep after carelessly failing to get over the top of an attempted pull off Mitchell Johnson, while Jos Buttler (one) was bowled through the gate by Lyon.

England's position demanded resolute defiance but all-rounder Ben Stokes (15) made a present of his wicket when a miscued hoick off Marsh provided wicket-keeper Peter Nevill with a simple catch.

Broad was then well caught at first slip by Adam Voges for a duck in the same over.

Earlier, the 26-year-old Smith, who will succeed Michael Clarke as captain when the skipper retires after this match, struck his second century of the series following a career-best 215 at Lord's.

Thursday's innings saw Smith become the first Australian since Matthew Elliott in 1997 to score more than 500 runs in an Ashes series in England.

His six-and-a-half-hour innings, which included 17 fours and two sixes, eventually ended when he dragged an intended drive off Finn onto his stumps.