Ben Stokes’ Slip Costs England Crucial Wicket on Last Day

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As the highly-anticipated 5th Ashes Test reached its thrilling conclusion, an unexpected twist left cricket fans on the edge of their seats. England‘s skipper, Ben Stokes, had a golden opportunity to send Steve Smith back to the pavilion just before the lunch break on Monday, but fate had a different plan. 

Smith and Stokes involved in a controversial catch 

The bizarre incident unfolded during Moeen Ali‘s delivery, as it hit Smith’s glove while he attempted to defend. Stokes, ever agile, leapt up to make what seemed like a certain catch. The ball was firmly in his grasp, but as he descended, a freakish collision with his right knee caused the ball to slip out of his hands. England appealed for the catch, and the on-field umpire had given it not out, but the decision stood after review, as it was deemed that Stokes lacked full control of the ball during the catch. 

As the 3rd umpire’s verdict echoed across the stadium, tension filled the air. England had let a crucial wicket slip through their fingers, and Smith survived to fight another day. At lunchtime, Australia stood at 238/3, with Steve Smith and Travis Head holding the fort. The first session saw England strike hard, claiming the crucial wickets of David Warner, Usman Khawaja, and Marnus Labuschagne, thanks to the stellar performances of Chris Woakes and Mark Wood

Australia looking strong on Day 5

Warner’s swift innings came to a halt as he edged a lifting delivery from Woakes to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow. Khawaja, who had shown great resilience, was trapped lbw by Woakes for 72. Despite his efforts to overturn the decision through a review, fate remained unkind to him. With the crowd firmly behind them, England’s bowlers displayed great form, putting Australia on the back foot. 

However, Labuschagne managed to find two crisp boundaries before he fell prey to Wood’s outswinger. Zak Crawley showcased his fielding prowess, taking a sharp low catch at the second slip. The wicket put England back in the driving seat, but the elusive wicket of Smith continued to evade them. With the Ashes series hanging in the balance, the tension was palpable on the field. Australia was hungry for victory, aiming to secure an Ashes win in England for the first time since 2001. 

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