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England take crucial lead as Archer bags 6 wickets

 LONDON, Sept 13: Jofra Archer took six wickets as England bowled Australia out for 225 to gain the upper hand on the second day of the fifth Ashes Test on Friday despite another Steve Smith masterclass.

Joe Root’s team is desperate to level the series at 2-2 to end their historic World Cup-winning season on a high but have been consistently dogged by the peerless Smith.

The former Australian skipper has now amassed 751 runs in just six innings – more than double the tally of the next highest scorer on either side.

But he was forced to settle for his lowest score of the series – 80 – when Chris Woakes trapped him lbw, leaving the Oval crowd dumbfounded.

Despite a late flurry of runs, Australia had to settle for a first-innings deficit of 69, with fast bowler Archer finishing with figures of 6-62.

Smith came to the crease with Australia in trouble at 14-2 in reply to England’s 294, after Archer had removed openers David Warner and Marcus Harris.

Smith, who only returned to Test cricket last month following a year-long ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal, was watchful at the start of his innings. But he soon found his touch, bringing up his 10th consecutive Ashes fifty with a six off left-arm spinner Jack Leach.

Smith had a lucky escape after tea when, on 66, he edged a Sam Curran delivery to Root in the slips, only for the England skipper to shell the chance.

Brief scores: England 1st innings 294 (Buttler 70, Root 57; Mitchell Marsh 5/46, Cummins 3/84. Australia 1st innings 225 (Smith 80, Labuschagne 48; Archer 6/62, Curran 3/46). England 2nd innings 9/0. – AFP

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