5th Test: England v Australia at The Oval, 23-27 Aug 2001
Kate Laven

England 2nd innings: Day 4 - Lunch,
England 1st innings: Day 3 - Mid-morning, Day 3 - Lunch, Day 3 - Tea, Day 4 - Mid-morning,
Live Reports from previous days


Michael Atherton gave his strongest indication yet that his cricket career has come to an end when he left the field at the AMP Oval this morning, raising his bat as if he were saying farewell.

The 33-year-old England opener had made just nine in his second innings after Australia enforced the follow on and for the 19th time in his Test career, he was despatched by his nemesis Glenn McGrath who yet again had him caught behind.

Atherton's return to the pavilion was a slow affair and as he got close, he lifted his bat and turned to acknowledge the warm applause from around the ground. After months of speculation, during which time Atherton has neither confirmed nor denied he was set to retire at the end of the Ashes, it seemed he had finally made his decision.

It may bring to an end a long career spanning 115 Tests over 12 years, in which time he has made 7 728 runs and 16 centuries. But his final tally of 22 runs in two innings in this Test will represent a disappointing finale to a distinguished career.

When he departed England were 17 for one, after making 432 in the first innings but when umpires offered Mark Butcher and Marcus Trescothick the light at 12.40pm with four lights on the board and rain approaching, they had advanced to 40 for one, with Trescothick unbeaten on 20 and Butcher 11 not out.

Twenty minutes later, the ground was plunged into darkness as the rain started falling and players took an early lunch, with England still trailing Australia by 169 runs. Mark Waugh received stitches to the webbing of his right hand, which was injured while fielding in the slips.


Australian captain Steve Waugh enforced the follow-on at the AMP Oval this morning after England were dismissed for 432, ten runs short of the required target.

Shane Warne finished with 7-165 when he had England's last batsman Darren Gough stumped by Adam Gilchrist for 24. It was his best analysis against England in a Test here but it was Glenn McGrath who picked up the prized wicket of Mark Ramprakash 20 minutes after the start of play.

The Oval was shrouded in a gloomy mist and for the first time in four days was not filled to capacity, but an enthusiastic crowd gave Ramprakash a rousing welcome when he resumed on 124 and an even more heartfelt ovation when he departed soon after having added nine runs to his overnight score.

It was Ramprakash's most significant innings, not only as an individual performance in clocking up his first Test 100 in England, but also in improving England's chances of saving the fifth and final npower Test match.

He was eventually caught behind, slashing wildly at McGrath outside the off-stump having faced 232 balls in more than six hours with 18 boundaries. His ninth wicket partnership with Gough added 74 in 78 minutes then Gough and Phil Tufnell added another eight runs to bring England tantalisingly close to making Australia bat again.

Trailing by 209 runs, Mike Atherton and Marcus Trescothick returned to the crease for the second time, with Atherton possibly playing his lastTest innings before retiring.


Usman Afzaal staked his claim for a winter touring place this afternoon when he completed the first half-century of his England career at the AMP Oval and formed a vital partnership with Mark Ramprakash.

The stand was broken minutes before the tea interval when the Nottinghamshire left-hander tried to hook Glenn McGrath and top edged the ball to Jason Gillespie at long leg having made a spirited 54 from 76 balls.

It was a colourful and confident innings from the 24 year-old, though his cocksure approach did not find favour with the Australian bowlers who were irritated when he got off the mark with his first delivery and incensed when he survived an appeal for a stumping. The appeal was referred to the third umpire but it was too close to call and the decision went in Afzaal's favour.

His previous best was 14 but in his third Test he appeared to relish the added pressure, bringing up his 50 in 74 balls and looking to the skies and kissing his helmet to celebrate the achievement.

He and Ramprakash added 89 to the total after the fall of Nasser Hussain on 166 for four but another big partnership was needed between Ramprakash and Alec Stewart, both playing on their home turf, to make Australia bat again.

At tea, the score was 259 for five with Ramprakash unbeaten on 43, the follow on target still some 183 runs away.


Nasser Hussain showed a steely determination at the AMP Oval this morning in the attempt to save the follow on against Australia in the fifth npower Ashes Test match.

The England captain finished the morning unbeaten on 49 as England added 68 runs to their overnight total. At lunch they were 158 for three, needing another 284 runs to make Australia bat again.

With Mark Ramprakash, Hussain had put on 54 runs for the fourth wicket and while Australia claimed honours for the first hour of the morning, England fought back in the second to square the session

Earlier, Australia's bowlers reigned supreme with Shane Warne on the brink on 400 Test wickets and Glenn McGrath proving especially frugal, his nine overs this morning adding just five runs to England's total.

Warne bowled unchanged for an hour and 45 minutes from the Vauxhall end, and after one over from Mark Waugh, returned to resume his campaign. His spell-binding tussle with Hussain provided some compelling entertainment for a capacity 18 000 strong crowd, who were enjoying yet more sun and stifling temperatures on this Bank Holiday weekend.

While Hussain was circumspect and played defensively against Warne, he was uninhibited and flamboyant against Jason Gillespie who once again erred in his line and length. It gave Hussain the chance to attack off the front foot and, crucially, push the score along.

He played with dogged aggression following the early loss of Marcus Trescothick for 55 and Mark Butcher for 25, both of them outwitted by Warne's infinite variety and control.


Australia strengthened their grip over the final npower Ashes Test match by expelling England's Marcus Trescothick and Mark Butcher this morning, moving Shane Warne closer towards 400 Test wickets.

Resuming on 80 for one and needing another 362 runs to avoid the follow on, England required some big partnerships at the top of the order to stand any chance of fending off a fourth Ashes defeat after the loss yesterday evening of Mike Atherton.

But Trescothick tried to flick Warne's fifth delivery down the leg side and it deflected off his pads and onto his leg stump to bring his innings to a close on 55. The previous ball had turned two feet, prompting a loud appeal for leg before, and Trescothick was clearly expecting this delivery to spin as much.

The Somerset left-hander had faced 57 balls and struck 11 boundaries but his early demise gave England a disastrous start to the third day of the match and handed a capacity crowd at the AMP Oval their first dramatic moment of the day.

Nasser Hussain and Mark Butcher, who made an unbeaten 173 at the last Test in Headingley, set about trying to get on top of the Australian leg spinner but Warne continued to bamboozle them with his prodigious turn and Butcher made his way to 25 before he became his 399th Test victim.

He was caught at short leg by Justin Langer when the ball did the rounds of Butcher's bat and pad before finishing in the fielder's hands. By then England were 104 for three and by the time they took drinks, signalling the end of the first hour's play, Hussain and Mark Ramprakash had moved them to 111 for three with Hussain having been dropped at first slip by Mark Waugh on eight.

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Date-stamped : 26 Aug2001 - 18:34