England XI





Australia XI





Australia win the toss and field





































Preamble

Hello everybody and welcome to live OBO coverage of the opening day of the fifth and final Test of the Ashes from the Oval.

This is technically not a dead rubber, but it could be euphemistically described as resting. The destination of the Ashes has already been decided, and Australia celebrated the retention of the urn at Old Trafford like schoolkids on the last day of term, complete with drinking on a playing field and mocking some kid with glasses. Meanwhile England have been putting the right words in the right order to make it appear they are desperate to win at the Oval to draw the series, but there’s been a distinct lack of oomph to the platitudes, like that time Celine Dion covered ACDC. England’s selectors could have done more to heighten anticipation by selecting a couple of greenhorns in advance of overseas tours, but they’ve stuck with the same bunch that have largely failed to capture the imagination, relying on flashes of individual brilliance from a small number of performers to even make a contest out of a series played mostly on Australia’s terms.

Nonetheless, the weather is set fair for five days, there’s not a spare seat in the house, and we should all be cherishing the opportunity to witness Steve Smith bat in such groundbreaking form. Now the Ashes have been resolved and the boos silenced, let’s celebrate the greatness in our midst.

I’ll be around for the next hour or so before Adam Collins takes you through the morning session of play. If you want to be a part of the action you can drop me a line on Twitter or you can send me an email.

source: theguardian.com

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