And so the end of the summer beckons and the final Ashes Test at the Oval along with it. As a Surrey and England member I’d taken advantage of being guaranteed my seat and bought tickets for the first 4 days. I later added Day 5 to my haul of Ashes tickets.

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What chance I’d get to see 5 days of Test cricket? My thoughts before the event was slim!

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I travelled up with my good friend Monica and her husband Kevin, so a livelier journey than my standard solo jaunt. As part of my membership I’d been able to buy 8 tickets for friends which was great!  We went our separate ways and I got into my seat as the players came onto the field.

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Having been at the Eve of Test Match lunch the day before I along with the others present had been on the pitch to look at THE wicket.

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I wasn’t surprised to hear that Alastair Cook had won the toss and put the Australians in to bat. The wicket had a hint of green and the conditions were due to be cloudy and overcast with a hint of rain.

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Chris Rogers and David Warner opened as they have for the whole series. Would England be able to obliterate the Australian line up as they had at Trent Bridge?

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The England team remained unchanged as Jimmy Anderson hadn’t beaten the side strain he’d suffered at Edgbaston. That felt ok as England had clearly managed without him in the All Out for 60 match!

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It turned out that the decision to put the Australians didn’t work, and to be blunt nor did the England bowling line up.

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Chris Rogers and captain Michael Clarke had both announced their retirement from international cricket in the time leading up to this match and Rogers ensured that he went out in style.

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Rogers has had a mixed series with 2 wonderful innings, hitting 133 in the losing side at Sophia Gardens and 173 in the winning side at Lords.  How would he fare at The Oval?

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If I said the cricket was slow that might be an insult, the cricket was, well, Test cricket.  With the crazy rollercoaster that’s ben the Ashes this summer it was almost strange to see the Australians bat with patience and resilience.  They had clearly done the same at Lords on the whole, but I missed that one.

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It seems that Australia had finally realised that Stuart Broad and his fellow bowlers aren’t in the habit of hitting the stumps, they left the ball!  Time and again.  They battled through the first hour of play and kept their wickets.

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Both Rogers and Warner showed their mettle as top class batsmen, the first wicket fell when Rogers was caught by Cook from the bowling of Mark Wood.  Steve Smith came in seeking to regain the title of number 1 batsman in the world.

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The pair put on 51 runs before Moeen Ali took Warner’s wicket – not for the 1st time this series – A catch by Adam Lyth, who has been great in the field saw Warner depart on 85.

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What followed was for me one of the moments of the series as England formed a Guard of Honour for Michael Clarke showing the upmost respect to a man who has been a great captain for Australia as well as a top class international batsman.  Personally, tears weren’t far away!

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It was a real shame that Clarke was out cheaply, making only 15 before he too was caught, this time Jos Buttler took the catch from the bowling of Ben Stokes.

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Adam Voges who was playing in the last chance saloon was next up.  He found his form and ended the day on 47.  Smith remained with him on 78 and the Australians finished on 287 for 3. As the saying goes Day One was Australia’s!

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A little about my day around the cricket – I was sat next to 2 teenage boys, they mostly watched the cricket as they made their way through a huge food box.  Funny how they ate the chocolate and crisps first!

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I had a mission throughout the first 3 days as part of the Rose Army, I had 15 very snazzy England shirts to help me persuade cricket fans to be filmed Wearing the Rose.  I took 5 on Day 1 and am proud to say my persuasive nature saw 2 Australians don the shirt along with 3 very happy Englishmen!  Mission accomplished on Day 1!

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I ate a very quick lunch with Monica and Kevin, meeting them after the day’s play we walked to Waterloo and ate a very convivial meal at Carluccio’s in the station.  It was lovely to have good company!

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One quick fact –

  • Cost of Ticket           £85.00

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