London, July 31 : Australia will need to break a host of records if they are to win the fifth and final Ashes Test on day-five, but batting coach Michael Di Venuto is confident his team can do it.
If Australia can reach their victory target of 384 at The Oval it will be the second largest successful fourth innings chase in Ashes history — only behind the Aussies’ effort in 1948 when Sir Donald Bradman led the side to a six-wicket triumph — and the biggest successful chase at the iconic south London ground.
It would also be the eighth largest successful chase in the history of Test cricket and Di Venuto believes the pitch at The Oval remains good for batting and his team are capable of rising to the task by scoring the remaining 249 runs on Monday to clinch a 3-1 series triumph.
“I don’t expect it (the pitch) to deteriorate too much tomorrow,” Di Venuto said at stumps on day four after Australia reached 135/0 at the close with openers Usman Khawaja (69) and David Warner (58) still unbeaten.
“Maybe some turn, but other than that, it’s still very good for batting,” he added.
If successful it will be Australia’s first series win on English soil since 2001 and Di Venuto revealed this factor is proving a major incentive for many of the players.
“There are a lot of guys who have been on Ashes series over here in the past and haven’t managed to win. Twenty (22) years is a long time,” he said.
“We’re in a great position for some of the boys to get that on their resume. We’re all pretty keen to score those runs tomorrow,” he added.
Australia’s task will be easier with first-choice England spinner Moeen Ali still battling a groin injury he picked up while batting on the opening day of the match.
On the other hand, pace spearhead Mark Wood also appears slightly below his best and Di Venuto has urged Australia’s batters to remain patient as they attempt to haul in the winning score.
“This morning when we got our target we knew we had a long time to bat to score those runs,” Di Venuto said.
“We knew potentially there was going to be a lot of overs being bowled at us. Certainly part of that plan is to get them to keep coming back and bowling more overs. We’ll score as quick as they let us score. If they keep bowling well, we’ll try and get through their good stuff,” he added.
England will be hoping for another herculean effort from Stuart Broad on his final day of Test cricket and batting coach Marcus Trescothick is eyeing off a perfect ending for the retiring pacer.
“If there was one more fairytale left, it would be ideal if it was Stuart’s last five-for,” Trescothick noted.
“One to win or two to win and he runs in and gets his last five-fer… something like that would be brilliant wouldn’t it? We don’t quite see the fairytales that we want to see at times, but it would be lovely to dream of it,” he added.
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