London: Skipper Joe Root (57, 141b, 3×4) and Jos Buttler (64 batting, 84b, 6×4, 3×6) hit gutsy half-centuries to help England reach 271/8 at stumps on the opening day of the fifth Ashes Test match at the Oval, Thursday.
Visiting captain Tim Paine asked the home side to bat, hoping his bowlers could take advantage of early overcast conditions in south London. And they were rewarded when Pat Cummins had Joe Denly (14) to leave the home side at 27/1 in the ninth over.
The dismissal brought Root in the crease and along with opener Rory Burns (47), the skipper added 76 runs to steady the ship before the latter holed into to Mitchell Marsh off Josh Hazlewood (2/76).
Headingley hero Ben Stokes followed suit soon before Marsh (4/35) and Cummins combined for four wickets to leave England tottering at 226/8 just after tea which included the priced scalp of Root. Root was earlier dropped twice off the bowling of Cummins.
While Root was clean bowled by Cummins, Marsh accounted for Jonny Bairstow (22), Sam Curran (15) and Chris Woakes (two). Thereafter, it was Buttler and Jack Leach (10 batting) who stitched together 45 runs for the unbeaten ninth-wicket till stumps.
Brief scores: England 271/8 (Joe Root 57, Jos Buttler 64 batting; Mitchell Marsh 4/35); Australia. Match to continue.