Retiring Broad takes final wicket to level Ashes series

Stuart Broad ended his glittering career by bowling England to another dramatic victory in the fifth Test against Australia to leave a memorable Ashes series level at 2-2.

Broad, in his final Test, took the last two wickets as England bowled out the tourists for 334 to win by 49 runs in front of a raucous crowd at The Oval.

Chris Woakes was immense in taking 4-50, while off-spinner Moeen Ali, battling a groin injury in his final Test, picked up a crucial 3-76.

Resuming on 135-0 in pursuit of 384, Australia lost David Warner and Usman Khawaja to Woakes’ morning burst, while Mark Wood accounted for Marnus Labuschagne.

The visitors were put back on course for one of their greatest run-chases by Steve Smith, who made 54, and 43 from Travis Head.

But after a rain delay of more than two hours, Woakes and Moeen were the architects of an Australian collapse of five wickets for 30 runs.

Alex Carey and Todd Murphy raised tension with a ninth-wicket stand of 35 only for Broad to produce a last moment of theatre.

Looking to change England’s luck, Broad switched the bails at the non-striker’s end and, next ball, bowled a beauty to have Murphy caught behind.

Broad then had Carey caught behind to seal victory and left the field arm in arm with Moeen.

England’s win preserves an unbeaten home record in Ashes series that stretches back to 2001.

Though Australia retain the urn, which they will defend down under in 2025-26, their wait for a win in this country will be up to 26 years when they next visit in 2027.

Memorable Ashes has fitting finale

This was a magnificent finale to a series for the ages, another tense affair in front of a passionate crowd with the added drama of the rain delay thrown in.

Before this summer, 25 of the 340 previous Ashes Tests had been won by three wickets or fewer, or 50 runs or fewer. This series has had four such victories.

The action on Monday was never less than compelling. Led by Woakes, England were excellent with the ball, only for old foe Smith to threaten another act of defiance in what is likely to be his last Test in this country.

If was after the rain delay that the match swung decisively in England’s direction, with four wickets falling in as many overs. The scalp of Smith in particular sparked wild celebrations on the field and in the stand, a mixture of joy and relief.

In the end, a draw feels like a fair result at end of a wonderful battle between cricket’s oldest rivals. Australia took advantage of England’s mistakes to led 2-0 before the hosts roared back. Ben Stokes’ side probably would have won 3-2 had rain not ruined the end of the fourth Test.

It has been a series of countless memorable moments: Zak Crawley driving the first ball for four, Stokes’ declaration on the first day of the series, the controversy around Jonny Bairstow being stumped at Lord’s, the nerve-shredding conclusion to the third Test and Crawley’s hundred at Old Trafford to name a few.

But the enduring image was of Broad, an Ashes warrior, first conjuring the wicket of Murphy with one of his old tricks, then sparking wonderful scenes with his final delivery in Test cricket. (BBC Sport)