22 Aug 2013

Australia take first day honours

6:39 am on 22 August 2013

Australia have made a strong start in their bid to break their duck in the fifth and final Ashes cricket test at the Oval in London.

The opening day belonged to Australia as Shane Watson scored 176 and the tourists finished the day on 307 for four.

The tourists' captain Michael Clarke decided to bat first after winning the toss and England bowler James Anderson made an early breakthrough, dismissing David Warner with only 11 runs on the board.

But fellow opener Watson dominated, despite being felled on 91 by a vicious Stuart Broad bouncer which struck him behind his left ear.

He needed medical attention for several minutes but went on to complete his first century in 48 innings off just 114 balls before he was dismissed

England, who are seeking to win a home Ashes series 4-0 for the first time, endured a tough day in the field after handing shock debuts to all-rounder Chris Woakes and left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan - who conceded 53 runs in eight nervous overs.

But they took the second new ball and finally made the breakthrough when Watson pulled a short ball from Broad to deep backward square leg where Kevin Pietersen held a superb diving catch.

Watson received a standing ovation as he trudged back to the pavilion after nearly six hours at the crease, his first test century for three years including one six and 25 fours.

Smith will resume on 66 in the morning with nightwatchman Peter Siddle on 18 when Australia will look to press on past 500 to lay the platform for a morale-boosting win ahead of the next Ashes series staring in Brisbane in November.