Crawley helps England regain lead against Australia in final Ashes test

LONDON, July 29: Zak Crawley helped England reach 130-1 and a lead of 118 at lunch Saturday on Day 3 of the fifth and final Ashes test which England must win to level the series.

Crawley was 71 not out at The Oval and Ben Duckett hit seven boundaries on his way to 42 before Mitchell Starc claimed a semblance of revenge by snarling a faint edge, having seen his first two overs go for 22 runs.

It left England on 79-1 and Ben Stokes joined Crawley at the crease with Moeen Ali, the hosts’ emergency number three, consigned to the pavilion until 120 minutes of the innings had passed or the fall of the fifth wicket.

Stokes eased into his new role with largely a watching front while Crawley upped the ante down the other end, taking a liking to Todd Murphy to establish his place at the top of the run-scoring charts for this series on 478.

After Australia were all out for 295 from the last ball of Day 2, Crawley and Duckett walked out to glorious sunshine in south London with a 12-run deficit to wipe out.

England took six balls to move into a lead with Crawley beginning his final innings of the series in the same vein he started this Ashes at Edgbaston, crunching his first delivery through cover for four.

Starc was on the receiving end this time and his opening two overs went for 22 runs, more than the 21 Australia had ground out during the first hour on Friday.

Australia made the breakthrough after nearly 90 minutes of play Saturday. It was Starc who struck in the first over of his second spell when Duckett’s drive got the faintest of edges and despite umpire Kumar Dharmasena saying not out, Pat Cummins’ review showed a spike on UltraEdge and the England opener departed for 42. (AP)