Ben Stokes’ Untimely Celebration Costs England Crucial Wicket of Steve Smith in the Ashes 2023

In a thrilling climax to the final Ashes Test at The Oval on Monday, Ben Stokes, the renowned English all-rounder, unintentionally granted Australia’s Steve Smith a potentially game-changing reprieve. This incident occurred on the last day of the Test match when early wickets revived England’s hopes of clinching a series-levelling win.

With Australia requiring 146 more runs to achieve an imposing target of 384 runs, and rain looming as a potential disruption, the tension on the field was palpable. At lunch, Australia’s score stood at 238-3, and Steve Smith was on 39, making him a crucial wicket for the English team.

The pivotal moment arose when off-spinner Moeen Ali delivered a looping ball, causing Steve Smith to glove it onto his thigh in the last over before lunch. The ball then floated towards England’s captain, Ben Stokes, who stationed himself at leg gully. With remarkable reflexes, Stokes managed to grab the ball one-handed, reaching above his head in an athletic attempt.

However, fate intervened in an unforeseen manner. As Stokes attempted to bring his hand down with the ball securely in his grasp, his hand accidentally brushed against his leg, resulting in the unfortunate release of the ball from his grip. Steve Smith, England’s primary target at the time, was given a lifeline as the chance for his dismissal slipped away.

Initially, the on-field umpire ruled Smith not out, with the English players appealing vigorously for a dismissal. Faced with a critical situation, the England team opted to exercise their right to a Decision Review System (DRS) in the hopes of overturning the umpire’s decision. The review, however, confirmed that Stokes had indeed dropped the catch, much to the disappointment of the English contingent and the jubilation of the Australian camp.

The dropped catch significantly altered the dynamics of the game, providing Australia’s star batsman, Steve Smith, the opportunity to continue his innings. His presence at the crease bolstered Australia’s hopes of successfully chasing down the formidable target. England, on the other hand, was left ruing the missed opportunity to capitalize on a crucial wicket that could have potentially swung the match in their favor.

During the lunch break on the final day of the Ashes Test at The Oval, Steve Smith, the Australian batting maestro, was not out on 40, maintaining an impressive average of over 93 at this iconic venue. Joining him at the crease was Travis Head, who remained unbeaten on 31 runs.

In the earlier session of play, English fast bowler Chris Woakes produced a sensational display of swing and seam bowling, wreaking havoc on the Australian batting lineup. Taking advantage of the overcast conditions and a pitch freshened by rain, which are considered classic English conditions for swing and seam movement, Woakes accounted for both the Australian openers, David Warner and Usman Khawaja, in a dramatic burst.

In an exceptional display of skill and precision, Woakes managed to dismiss both Warner and Khawaja in a span of just seven balls, conceding a mere one run. Such an impactful spell of fast bowling rattled the Australian top order and significantly boosted England’s hopes of leveling the series.

The express pace bowler, Mark Wood, showcased his skill and speed as he dismissed Marnus Labuschagne, a key Australian batsman, by inducing an edge that was caught in the slips. Labuschagne departed the crease after scoring 13 runs. This wicket left Australia, who had already retained the Ashes with a 2-1 lead in the series, at a total of 169-3.

Australia, determined to achieve their first Ashes series win in England since 2001, resumed their innings on an impressive score of 135-0. The Australian opening pair of David Warner and Usman Khawaja had laid a solid foundation for their team. At the time of resumption, Warner was batting on 58 not out, while Khawaja was unbeaten on a well-made 69 runs.

On the final day of the Ashes Test at The Oval, the spotlight fell on England’s pace bowling stalwart, Stuart Broad. The 37-year-old had surprised the cricketing world with a sudden announcement on Saturday that he would retire from Test cricket after the match. With his illustrious career drawing to a close, Broad was eager to make a significant impact in his final appearance.

But it was Chris Woakes who provided the crucial breakthrough that England desperately needed on the final day of the Ashes Test at The Oval. While Stuart Broad was seeking to dismiss David Warner for the 18th time in Tests, it was Woakes who delivered the decisive blow.

Following a determined effort, David Warner’s innings came to an end when he was dismissed for a well-compiled 60 runs. The dismissal was orchestrated by England’s Chris Woakes, who managed to find the outside edge of Warner’s bat, resulting in a catch for wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Usman Khawaja’s impressive innings came to an end when he was adjudged LBW (Leg Before Wicket) to Chris Woakes for a well-constructed 72 runs. The dismissal occurred as Khawaja was caught on the crease, with a full-length delivery from Woakes striking him in front of the middle and leg stumps.

Mark Wood  continued to make an impact in the match with a superb delivery that got the better of Marnus Labuschagne. Bowling at an impressive speed of 86 mph (139 kph), Wood produced a delivery that angled into Labuschagne before swinging away sharply.

The delivery proved too good for Labuschagne to handle as he was squared up by the movement. The ball found the outside edge of Labuschagne’s bat, resulting in a catch opportunity for England’s second slip fielder, Zak Crawley.

In the midst of a tense battle between bat and ball on the final day of the Ashes Test at The Oval, Steve Smith displayed his class with a commanding shot. Facing Chris Woakes, Smith elegantly drove the ball through the covers, showcasing his exquisite timing and impeccable technique. The ball raced to the boundary, earning him a well-deserved four runs.

If Australia manages to successfully achieve their target of 384 runs, it will mark an extraordinary achievement in Test cricket history. This pursuit would result in the eighth-highest fourth-innings total ever recorded to secure victory in any Test match. Moreover, it would stand as the second-highest successful fourth-innings chase in Test matches played in England.

The current record for the highest fourth-innings chase in Test cricket is held by Australia, who achieved a remarkable total of 404-3 at Headingley in 1948 against England. This historic feat remains unparalleled in the annals of cricket history in England.

Indeed, a successful fourth-innings chase of 384 runs by Australia at The Oval would not only create history in Test cricket but also establish a new ground record at this iconic venue. The current highest successful fourth-innings chase in a Test at The Oval is held by England when they achieved a remarkable total of 263-9 against Australia way back in 1902.

Rasesh Nageshwar

Hi there! I'm Rasesh Nageshwar, and I'm passionate to write about entertainment, movies, web series, and sports. As a writer, I love sharing my insights and opinions on the latest trends, news, and events in these exciting fields.