On a day plagued by rain, Australia’s openers lay a solid foundation

Usman Khawaja and David Warner both reached their individual fifties on a day when rain played spoilsport, and their century stand propelled Australia’s solid start in chase of 384. Before severe weather interfered, both batsmen carried on from where they left off in the morning to get the visitors to 135/0 at the drinks break. The umpires were forced to call for an early Tea as a steady drizzle turned into a downpour. The possibility of a restart quickly vanished, and the day’s play had to be prematurely abandoned due to the nonstop rain.

This morning’s discussion focused a lot on Stuart Broad’s nocturnal retirement announcement. With Broad and his bowling partner James Anderson together at the crease, England decided to keep batting. The excitement only lasted for approximately ten minutes, during which time Broad slammed Mitchell Starc for a six, much to the pleasure of the raucous fans at The Oval. To end the inning, Todd Murphy struck out Anderson LBW, leaving Broad undefeated in his final Test innings. Broad left the stadium to a similar reception after entering to a guard of honor from the Australians and a roaring cheer from the spectators.

The Australian openers showed well in the morning despite the attention being focused on Broad, ensuring that the visitors ticked the first box in their chase of the significant target. In contrast to his first innings, Khawaja batted from the beginning with good intentions and didn’t miss out on any scoring chances. Australia got off to a solid start thanks to the two openers and Warner, who was being his usual busy self at the crease. Both batters gave England an opportunity because the scoring rate was adequate.

With the pitch appearing to be flatter than on previous days, Australia’s opening batters continued to appear very at ease during the brief play period that followed lunch. Additionally, the pace off the deck was generally slow, which allowed the batsmen to respond to any deviations the bowlers were making. While there was spin available, Warner and Khawaja did their part by batting at a fluid tempo and were not particularly alarmed by the wide footmarks on either side.

Because Moeen Ali wasn’t entirely healthy, Joe Root continued to play the role of the specialist spinner, and the top batter did manage to gain some traction on the deck. Although the odd ball did grip and turn huge to keep the fielders intrigued, he too was unable to generate any chances. Warner cranked up the tempo after a sluggish start and reached just his second fifty of the tour. As the opener finally found his flow, the highlight was a lofted check drive off Anderson. 

At the other end, Khawaja batted confidently and, in addition to surpassing Zak Crawley to lead the series run-scorers charts, reached fifty runs while doing so. He used his unconventional strategies to deal with spin, and they again were successful for him.

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