Steve Smith controversially given not out as Australia take narrow lead into day three

Jonny Bairstow thinks he has Steve Smith run-out but it was controversially given not out

Jonny Bairstow thought he had Steve Smith run-out but it was controversially given not out – Getty Images/Stu Forster

England’s hopes of squaring the Ashes might have turned on the tiniest of margins at the Kia Oval as Australia’s Steve Smith came desperately close to being run out by substitute fielder George Ealham in a pivotal moment in the fifth Test.

Australia were 295 all out off the final ball of the second day, 12 runs ahead, as Smith rode his luck to top-score with 71 following a scare just after tea.

The 21-year-old son of former England all-rounder Mark Ealham looked to have replicated Ricky Ponting’s famous 2005 dismissal by the unknown Gary Pratt, combining with wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow to leave Smith diving for the line.

Smith initially looked bang to rights but, instead of departing for 44 and leaving his side 195 for eight, he was reprieved by TV umpire Nitin Menon.

Jonny Bairstow attempts to run out Steve Smith but it was given not out

Should Steve Smith have been given out or not out? – Getty Images/Stu Forster

Replays suggested Bairstow had begun to nudge one of the bails loose with his arm before collecting the ball cleanly and there was some debate over whether either bail was fully dislodged before Smith’s bat slid home.

What mattered most was the ‘not out’ decision that appeared on the big screen and the 100 runs which followed.

That was easily Australia’s most productive period of a day that had seen them embark on pedestrian go-slow in the morning session and a jittery collapse in the afternoon.

Having watched England blaze 283 in 54.5 overs, Australia crept just above that mark in 103.1, Ben Stokes taking an excellent two-stage boundary catch to end the innings in the closing moments.

England were one bowler down due to Moeen Ali’s groin strain, but Australia came out with nothing but survival on their mind, Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne scoring just 13 runs off the bat in a first hour that tested English patience in the field and in stands.

Labuschagne was completely bereft of intent, scratching out nine off 82 deliveries before Mark Wood finally drew the outside edge England had spent almost 90 minutes probing for.

It looked a regulation catch for Bairstow but he froze on the spot, leaving Joe Root to hurl himself into action at first slip

and claim a brilliant one-handed grab. That was the height of the pre-lunch entertainment, with the scoreboard trudging to 115 for two by the break.

Joe Root takes an amazing one-handed catch to dismiss Marnus Labuschagne

Joe Root took an incredible one-handed catch to dismiss Marnus Labuschagne – Getty Images/Stu Forster

Australia had put miles in the English legs and taken time out of a game their rivals need to win, but they had barely moved the dial in real terms.

The limitations of that approach were exposed in the afternoon, with England taking five for 71 to take control of proceedings. Stuart Broad played the role of ringleader, dismissing Khawaja and Travis Head in successive overs to inject some electricity into a game that had gone to sleep.

Khawaja had spent more than four-and-a-half hours in defiance when Broad speared one in from round the wicket and trapped the left-hander in front of leg. Five balls later the seamer was celebrating again, challenging Head outside off stump and getting the nick.

Stuart Broad celebrates the wicket of Travis Head

Stuart Broad (left) begun the fightback in the afternoon session with two quick wickets – Reuters/Andrew Boyers

England continued burrowing through the middle order as James Anderson belatedly opened his account for the match in the 16th over, bowling Mitch Marsh off a hefty inside edge and cracking a long overdue smile in the process.

The mistakes kept coming, Alex Carey chipping Root’s tempter to short cover and Mitchell Starc flapping Wood straight up in the air.

Smith was shaping up to be the key figure as he reached tea on 40, but he came desperately close to a self-inflicted dismissal.

Turning back for a second as Ealham sprinted in from the deep and flung a flat throw to the keeper, he looked to be struggling as he dived for his ground.

Replays initially seemed to seal his fate, with his bat short of the crease line as the stumps were broken. He was halfway to the pavilion when he sensed something might be amiss, with the slow-motion footage suggesting Bairstow had nudged one bail loose before gathering the ball in and parting the stumps.

The images were scrutinised for a couple of minutes, analysing when and where the bails left their grooves, before Menon ruled in Smith’s favour. His decision was met with frustration among the home supporters and a healthy dose of confusion elsewhere, as the assembled pundits tried in vain to bring some clarity.

Smith added another 44 before skying Chris Woakes over his shoulder to Bairstow, who did his work well this time.

England should still have taken a lead into day three but struggled to mop up the tail. Pat Cummins made an assured 36 and Todd Murphy landed three sixes on his way to 34.

Woakes had the skipper lbw late on and Root finished things off when Stokes affected a smart catch-and-release take on the boundary to dismiss Murphy.

England will bat again on day three, with barely an inch to separate the sides. PA

Day two as it happened…

07:03 PM BST

‘By tea the Aussie innings was in tatters, the only fly in the ointment was Smith’

Sir Geoffrey Boycott on what could have been for England if for Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and Todd Murphy, after an excellent afternoon session.

06:53 PM BST

James Anderson speaking to Sky Sports

06:41 PM BST

Glenn McGrath on TMS

“I think Australia got themselves into a hole. They couldn’t get themselves out. It’s pointless, you bat like that, you score no runs, sooner or later, you are going to lose wickets and you are going to be in trouble. I thought Stuart Broad was the pick of the bowlers and I’m surprised they didn’t go with him first at times.”

Stuart Broad celebrates the wicket of Travis Head on day two

Stuart Broad led the England fightback in the afternoon session – PA/Mike Egerton

06:38 PM BST

Michael Vaughan on TMS

“I think England bowled beautifully, in the last hour we saw a bit of tired legs. England need to make sure that they give some rest to their bowlers when batting, but if they bat for the whole day, they score 400. That is the way they play.”

“I’ve never seen an Australian batting line-up bat with so much fear. I don’t know whether that was because they are so close to actually winning this series.”

06:36 PM BST

Steve Smith talking to Sky Sports

“You look at the scorecards and they are similar. It would have been nice to have got a bigger lead as the wicket was pretty good.

“There was a bit of swing around but the wicket played quite nice. A lot of us got in and had good starts but were not able to go on with it.

“I maybe hit the trigger a bit early with the way Cummins was batting.”

“There was no set plan [to grind it out]. We talked about the batters playing what they say in front of them. I think England bowled well this morning, did not give us lots of freebies.

“You want to keep the scoreboard ticking as much as possible but guys are allowed to bowl well. You have to respect those periods at times.”

Steve Smith smashes the ball down the ground on day two

Steve Smith scored fifty after controversial run-out decision – Getty Images/Ryan Pierse

06:29 PM BST

End of day two

That is the end of the Australia first innings and the end of day two. They take a 12-run lead into the second innings. England will be disappointed when they had Australia 185/7 that they are now behind on first innings totals.

06:28 PM BST

Wicket

Cummins c Stokes b Root 36. Captain Stokes decides to bring Root on to ball and first ball he pulls off a sensational catch on the boundary at long-on. He made it look so easy as he parried it back into play before he went over the boundary and nonchalantly takes the catch. FOW 295 all out

06:24 PM BST

OVER 103: AUS 295/9 (Hazlewood 6 Cummins 36)

Cummins decided to take a single off the third ball to give Hazlewood three balls to face. He slashes one through the offside where a deep point has to come around to prevent a boundary. Two runs added from Hazlewood and Australia’s lead is now 12 runs.

06:19 PM BST

OVER 102: AUS 292/9 (Hazlewood 4 Cummins 35)

Second ball number 11 Josh Hazlewood slashes through backward point for four. Hazlewood digs out a Woakes yorker and Cummins will take strike for the next over. You would imagine Cummins will be super aggressive here. If a wicket falls now that will be the close.

06:15 PM BST

Wicket

Murphy lbw Woakes 34 Woakes pins Murphy in front and it is given out. Murphy reviews so let’s see whether it will stay out? It does, it was umpires call and England have the ninth wicket. A good innings from Murphy which is the difference between England having a lead and Australia having one.

England’s bowling at the other end, to Murphy, will divide opinion, but Chris Woakes has been terrific from the Vauxhall End. Into the eighth over of his spell, he’s got Murphy and Smith. What a Test comeback it’s been.

06:11 PM BST

OVER 101: AUS 288/8 (Murphy 34 Cummins 35)

A maiden over for Anderson. The last ball was a beauty as an Anderson knuckle ball deceives Cummins and is so close to hitting the stumps. Australia lead by five runs.

06:07 PM BST

OVER 100: AUS 288/8 (Murphy 34 Cummins 35)

Two more for Murphy down to fine-leg as Dan Lawrence, who is on as a sub fielder for the injured Moeen, does well to prevent a boundary. An edge from Murphy lands short of Crawley at second slip and goes through for a couple. That was fortunate for Murphy and unlucky for Woakes. This partnership is now worth nearly 50.

06:04 PM BST

OVER 99: AUS 284/8 (Murphy 30 Cummins 35)

Woakes and Wood added valuable runs for England yesterday and Murphy and Cummins are doing so this evening. Murphy flicks one off his pads to take the scores level. And a single into the leg-side takes Australia into the lead. You would not have thought Australia would be taking a lead into the second innings when they were 185/7.

Been an excellent rearguard from Australia to move into the lead in the final half-hour of the day. England might just have underestimated Todd Murphy’s batting a touch, although I’m loath to criticise an approach to the tail that has largely worked well throughout this series. Penny for the thoughts of England’s openers, by the way, with a potentially nasty little passage looming.

05:58 PM BST

OVER 98: AUS 278/8 (Murphy 25 Cummins 34)

Woakes is continuing from the Vauxhall End and just the one single from the over.

Pat Cummins hits the ball down the ground

Pat Cummins is frustrating England – PA/Mike Egerton

05:54 PM BST

OVER 97: AUS 277/8 (Murphy 25 Cummins 33)

James Anderson replaces Wood. Three singles from that Anderson over as Australia trail by just six runs.

05:49 PM BST

OVER 96: AUS 274/8 (Murphy 24 Cummins 31)

Cummins came in at the fall of the seventh wicket with the score on 185 so England have let this get away from them. Realistically England should have had a fairly sizeable lead but they will probably be facing a deficit.

05:44 PM BST

OVER 95: AUS 273/8 (Murphy 24 Cummins 30)

Murphy goes after the Wood short ball again and gets it just over Stokes’ head, who is now fielding down towards fine-leg. Six more to Murphy. Another terrific shot from Murphy as he rides the bounce and launches it for his third six. Murphy has played some nice shots but has also been very lucky not to edge one behind to Bairstow as he is taking on every ball.

Todd Murphy hitting a six

Todd Murphy is taking on the short ball and reaping the rewards – Getty Images/Stu Forster

05:38 PM BST

OVER 94: AUS 260/8 (Murphy 12 Cummins 30)

Woakes deceives Cummins beautifully with a slower ball as Cummins tries to launch him. It comes off a thick outside edge over the slips and beats a wide third-man for four.

Later in the over Murphy punishes a wide ball from Woakes by slashing it behind square on the offside for four. Every run is important for Australia here. They trail by just 23 runs now.

05:33 PM BST

OVER 93: AUS 250/8 (Murphy 7 Cummins 25)

Once again Cummins takes a single off the first ball of the over so Murphy is left to face the rest of the Wood over. He decides to take on the short ball and it flies over Root at fine-leg for six. It looks like he is going to take it on as he takes a single. The 250 is up for Australia.

05:29 PM BST

OVER 92: AUS 241/8 (Murphy 0 Cummins 24)

Cummins takes a single off the first ball of the over so Murphy has strike for the rest of the over. Five dot balls so just the one run from the over.

05:24 PM BST

OVER 91: AUS 240/8 (Murphy 0 Cummins 23)

Todd Murphy is the new batsman and Wood is giving him some chin music. How will Murphy cope with Wood’s quick short-pitch bowling? For the time being he copes with it.

05:19 PM BST

Wicket

Smith c Bairstow b Woakes 71. After Smith was very lucky earlier in the over, he is gone now. He tried smashing Woakes back over his head earlier in the over and got away with it but this time his next hack is punished as Bairstow takes a good catch running backwards. FOW 239/8

05:10 PM BST

OVER 89: AUS 235/7 (Smith 68 Cummins 21)

A double bowling change for England as Mark Wood replaces Broad. Sky Sports’ Ian Ward has spent the last 45 minutes analysing the Steve Smith run-out incident and he believes it is out. The debate will rumble on. Meanwhile Smith and Cummins have brought up the fifty partnership. All these runs for Australia are so valuable.

Moeen Ali can’t bat until 120 minutes of England’s innings, leaving them short of a no 3. Chris Woakes would be an interesting option, allowing the rest of the line-up to remain in the same place

05:06 PM BST

OVER 88: AUS 232/7 (Smith 65 Cummins 21)

Chris Woakes comes on to replace Anderson. A wide full toss comes off the inside edge of Cummins’ bat and runs past Bairstow down to fine-leg for four. Not the best ball Woakes has ever bowled but Cummins was very lucky.

05:01 PM BST

OVER 87: AUS 228/7 (Smith 65 Cummins 17)

Just think. Had Bairstow not knocked the bail off before he had the ball in his gloves England might have bowled Australia out by now and had a lead of perhaps 70 runs. The lead is now 55 and Smith is looking ominous as every run he scores now is punishing England.

04:56 PM BST

OVER 86: AUS 225/7 (Smith 64 Cummins 15)

Just a couple of singles from the latest Anderson over. Australia are slowly getting closer and closer to England’s total as the sun comes out at The Oval.

04:51 PM BST

OVER 85: AUS 223/7 (Smith 63 Cummins 14)

A great bouncer from Broad comes off Cummins’ bat is he tried to get out of the way but it evades Bairstow and runs away for four down to fine-leg. England’s lead is now down to 60.

04:45 PM BST

OVER 84: AUS 218/7 (Smith 62 Cummins 10)

An emphatic pull from Smith off Anderson brings him another four. He follows that up with a drive through the off-side for three. Already that missed run-out from Bairstow is proving costly.

Steve Smith pulls the ball away to the boundary for four

Steve Smith is making England pay for giving him a life – Getty Images/Stu Forster

04:43 PM BST

OVER 83: AUS 211/7 (Smith 55 Cummins 10)

It looked for all money that Cummins was out. Huge appeal for LBW from Broad was given out on the field. Cummins reviewed and we all thought it was going to be a bad review. But it was not as it was missing the stumps so Cummins survives after successfully overturning that decision.

04:35 PM BST

OVER 82: AUS 210/7 (Smith 54 Cummins 10)

A tidy maiden over from Anderson to Cummins. England’s lead stands at 73 runs.

04:32 PM BST

OVER 81: AUS 210/7 (Smith 54 Cummins 10)

Smith plays an emphatic drive straight down the ground for four to bring up his fifty. He should be out and it is possibly the worst person in the world to give a second chance. He follows that up with a shot to the same place for another four. James Anderson will take the new ball from the Vauxhall End.

Steve Smith smashes the ball down the ground for four

Steve Smith punishes England by making fifty – Getty Images/Ryan Pierse

04:25 PM BST

OVER 80: AUS 201/7 (Smith 46 Cummins 9)

Joe Root is going to replace Chris Woakes from the Vauxhall End for the final over before the new ball. Maiden over from Root and the new ball is now available. Stuart Broad will take the new ball.

04:22 PM BST

OVER 79: AUS 201/7 (Smith 46 Cummins 9)

Due to Bairstow’s contact with the stumps, one bail came out of the groove so in order for Smith to have been out it needed the other bail to be removed. It looks like the right decision from the third umpire Nitin Menon. Another big moment in the series. Brook is going to have another over.

Australia have brought up the 200.

04:17 PM BST

Not out

For all money it looked like Smith had been run out, but the replays actually show that Bairstow hade made contact with the stumps before the ball had reached him. That is a huge mistake from Bairstow, that should have been out. How much has Bairstow cost England during this series with mistakes behind the stumps? He will be hoping that does not cost England many runs. Poor George Ealham, son of Mark. That was a great piece of fielding that should have written him into Ashes folklore.

It was almost a Gary Pratt moment a la 2005. The throw by sub George Ealham was a touch too short, which took pace off the ball. Still, his grandfather Alan Ealham would have been proud: he was a brilliant outfielder for Kent with a rocket throw.

04:13 PM BST

Has Smith been run-out?

Has Smith been run-out by a sub-fielder, a la Ricky Ponting?

04:11 PM BST

OVER 77: AUS 193/7 (Smith 42 Cummins 6)

Harry Brook was given the final over before tea and he has been rewarded with another over after. He bowled a maiden to Smith so Ben Stokes has decided he can another over. We are closing in on the new ball.

Brook has one Test wicket and it was not a bad one; Kane Williamson. Can he add Smith to that list? Not for the time being. The last ball of the over is flicked down the leg-side by Cummins and away for four. The lead is down to 90.

04:07 PM BST

OVER 76: AUS 188/7 (Smith 41 Cummins 2)

First ball from Woakes after tea is a beauty which just misses the edge of Cummins’ bat. Cummins tucks one off his hip to get underway after the tea break. Smith also gets his post-tea account going with a single.

04:03 PM BST

Evening session

We are back out for the evening session at The Oval. England will be hoping they can get these final three wickets quickly in order to have a substantial lead going into the second innings. Chris Woakes to start proceedings after tea from the Vauxhall End. He will bowl to Pat Cummins.

04:00 PM BST

Sky Sports’ Michael Atherton

“England have had a very good session, they’ll be hopeful of a first-innings lead now. This morning, that looked in the balance.

“They’ve been constantly telling us 283 is a good score on this pitch and so far, after two sessions, they’ve been proven right.”

04:00 PM BST

Sky Sports’ Dinesh Karthik on Joe Root

“Throughout the Ashes, he’s been a pretty effective bowler to have for England. You saw that at Lord’s, we also saw it in Manchester.

“He’s kind of found that way to pick up a wicket when it matters most and that’s a rather good luxury to have for Ben Stokes.”

03:57 PM BST

Nick Hoult’s verdict at tea

Playing low risk cricket, brings its own risk as Australia discovered this afternoon. Their soporific, negative batting bit them as England’s superb bowling performance was rewarded with five wickets in the session.

Australia batted themselves in a corner in the morning, losing just one wicket but scored only 54 runs in 26 overs. That is acceptable if they attack later, the theory being they will have worn England down and put overs in their legs.

Instead England’s veteran attack dug deep, and credit to them and their captain for getting the best out of his bowlers. With Australia showing no ambition or energy, England sat on them in the afternoon session, squeezing the pressure, taking five for 70.

James Anderson bowled a lively, accurate spell front he Pavilion End, and bellowed with relief when Mitchell Marsh became his first top order wicket since Lord’s. Stuart Broad started the fightback by pinning Usman Khawaja leg before and Travis Head caught behind, moving to 150 Ashes wickets in the process.

Nothing summed up Australia’s reticence than Steve Smith patting back a maiden from Harry Brook the over before tea. At 186 for seven, Australia are 97 behind and are hanging in. The new ball is due in five overs, and Wood will be flying in.

03:55 PM BST

Sky Sports’ Michael Atherton

“They had a very good afternoon and they will think that is based a large part on what they did this morning. They took one wicket, but didn’t let Australia get away from them – or you can put it another way and say Australia didn’t try to get away from them. That’s really the heart of the way these two sides play.

“Australia tried a different approach [to England]. They went at two an over, but still find themselves a long way behind and if you don’t put pressure on the bowlers at some point you always leave yourself at risk of a spell where a cluster of wickets go – as happened after lunch with Broad.”

03:53 PM BST

England’s session

Thanks Rob. After a drab opening session, England fired things up in the afternoon. It was all set up by Stuart Broad, who took two wickets in his first two overs after lunch. He brought up his 150th wicket in The Ashes. Five wickets in that session will give England hope they can take a lead into the second innings. Their lead currently stands at 97 runs and they need three more wickets. This is Michael Vaughan’s summary of that session on TMS:

“That’s England’s session by an absolute mile.”

03:47 PM BST

TEA: AUS 186/7 (Smith 40 Cummins 1)

You can rage all your like about England’s batting and their tempo but they have been magnificently tight and patient with the ball and have worn Australia down, eating away at their equanimity with miserliness and probing, interrogative spells. If England are stuck in fifth gear with the bat, Australia have been jammed in first. They trail by 97 runs. Smith bats well with the tail. The question is whether he will feel he can pull the trigger and open himself to the kind of risk of his approach once Peter Siddle was out in the first innings at Edgbaston four years ago.

Anyway, that’s me done. Here’s Kieran Crichard for the rest of the day.

03:44 PM BST

OVER 74: AUS 186/7 (Smith 40 Cummins 1)

Indeed he does, yelping when Smith plays two forward defensives to the dobbing Proctor, bowling gently off the wring foot. ‘Lovely work, Harold,’ he yells. Smith seems fairly secure. Joe Root does an impression of his run-up as Smith plays out the maiden and survives the threat of a lifetime of ribbing.

03:41 PM BST

OVER 73: AUS 186/7 (Smith 40 Cummins 1)

Genuinely probing over from Woakes to Cummins, finding the edge that falls just short of third slip, whistling one past the blade and pinning him with the inswinger to end the maiden as the ball angled down the legside.

Harry Brook is coming on. Bairstow is going to ham this up big time.

03:35 PM BST

OVER 72: AUS 186/7 (Smith 40 Cummins 1)

Starc whips a single off his pads, Smith pulls for a single which is the cue for short leg and some bouncers. Starc ducks the first, tries to hook the second and falls into the trap. Duckett was 20 yards in from the rope and made good ground running in. Cummins pushes a single to mid-on and shouts for two, then sends Smith back.

03:32 PM BST

Wicket!

Starc c Duckett b Wood 7  Too quick for thee, lad. Cramps him with a short ball he decides to take on and top-edges his jabby pull to backward square. FOW 185/7

03:29 PM BST

OVER 71: AUS 183/6 (Smith 39 Starc 6)

Dan Lawrence makes one of those solo relay recoveries on the boundary, stopping the ball just before the rope then tossing it up before he went over and hopping back to catch it. Seemed for a moment that he clipped the foam pyramid with his left foot when he was holding the ball but Australia are given only the two they ran.

03:25 PM BST

OVER 70: AUS 180/6 (Smith 39 Starc 3)

Both again take singles off Wood into the legside and then Starc is beaten, fiddling at one that was angled across him and kept a little low. Wood tries him out on the bouncer and Starc hooks it for four. England look buoyant at the moment, grinning broadly when Smith is stuck on strike at the end of the over. England ask Joel Wilson to check the ball again and still it goes through the rings.

03:21 PM BST

OVER 69: AUS 177/6 (Smith 38 Starc 1)

Nasser Hussain reveals that the very ball before Labuschagne was out, Broad switched the bails over on his stumps, leg bail to off and vice versa, to put a hex on him. Khawaja and Labuschagne laughed but the next ball he was out, provoking joy unconfined in Broad.

Back in this realm. Smith pings a low full toss from Root for two through cover and he exchanges singles with Starc that leaves Starc on strike for Wood.

03:15 PM BST

OVER 68: AUS 173/6 (Smith 35 Starc 0)

Smith takes a tight two with a midwicket whip as he brought his back leg round. Starc had to sprint hard to beat the throw from George Ealham and wouldn’t have had it been a direct hit which would have been a big ask from cow corner.

Smith gives Starc one ball to face by tucking a single off his shoelaces and the tall left-hander, still armed with Alyssa Healy’s bat, gets his nose over a forward defensive.

Perhaps not the way he would have planned but fourth time that Joe Root has dismissed Alex Carey in Tests at an average of 12: Root has again showed his worth with the ball this series. But Carey, who slog-swept the previous ball for six, won’t reflect on that loose shot to short extra cover with any pride.

03:10 PM BST

OVER 67: AUS 170/6 (Smith 32 Starc 0)

After propping and coughing for three balls, Carey gorges on width and mows a slog sweep for six. But it was all part of Root’s strategy and he lured him on to the rocks with the very next ball. Australia have lost four wickets in 87 minutes since lunch and because they’ve been crawling along all day, they’re stuck on their knees, 113 behind. Bravo, Ben Stokes. His bowling changes have all worked. England were so happy with their plan working that more than one of them burst into cackles.

Here comes Mark Wood.

03:06 PM BST

Wicket!

Carey c Stokes b Root 10  Chipped to short mid-off. Sacrificed a six off the previous ball to buy the wicket, tempting him out wider with a much slower ball and he fell for it, hook, line and sinker. FOW 170/6

03:04 PM BST

OVER 67: AUS 164/5 (Smith 32 Carey 4)

Oh my word. Having been flicked for two through midwicket by Smith, Anderson beats him with a peach of an outswinger that climbs off a good length and elicits a definite flinch towards the ball from the great batsman as it grew on him.

James Anderson takes his first wicket of the innings

Look who’s back – Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

03:01 PM BST

OVER 66: AUS 162/5 (Smith 30 Carey 4)

Root wheels through his weaponry of offies, arm balls and slingers. Smith thumps a single off the back foot but Carey is more circumspect, tapping a couple of defensives to the infield.

Those three wickets after lunch haven’t exactly blown open the game for England, but they are now definitely on top. 17 overs for Australia until the second new ball – with the sun peeping through, it should be a good time to bat. But Australia will still be well behind by the time that the second new ball arrives, which also shows the pitfalls of their approach. Interesting to see how proactive Smith and Carey – who has been dismissed by him three times before – are against Joe Root now.

02:58 PM BST

OVER 65: AUS 161/5 (Smith 29 Carey 4)

Anderson appeals, one arm half raised when he swerves the inswinger through Carey’s gate but it would have missed leg stump. He is extracting enough swing, though, to make the constant requests for a different ball seem rather odd. Anderson pitches the last ball up and Carey gets off the mark with a handsome cover drive for four.

Marsh’s wicket gave James Anderson his 50th at the Oval, to go with 50 plus at Edgbaston, Lord’s and Trent Bridge.  Only Dale Steyn, Shane Warne and Murali have taken 50 at four grounds apart from Anderson.

02:54 PM BST

OVER 64: AUS 156/5 (Smith 28 Carey 0)

He seemed to hit, it too, the ball rolling up the bat face. Strange all round. Root replaced Wood after a one-over spell. I thought initially to let Wood change ends but Anderson is going to continue.

02:52 PM BST

NOT OUT

Pitched outside off and hit him outside the line but Stokes is bemused that DRS deemed it also 3m down, and hence there was too much doubt. ‘Has he got 3m legs?’ asks Stokes. ‘Inspector Gadget?’ says Jonny Bairstow.

02:50 PM BST

ENG review

Carey lbw b Root On the sweep. Did he hit it, even though it was given as leg-byes?

02:47 PM BST

It’s that man again

The drought has broken at last. The Sphinx has smiled. Mitchell Marsh’s shot was horribly crooked, like when Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow dragged on. But still, it is a wicket and Anderson’s first top order wicket of this series apart from Usman Khawaja. And his accuracy had earned some luck.

02:45 PM BST

OVER 63: AUS 153/5 (Smith 26 Carey 0)

Smith looks for two with his flick into the legside but the sub fielder, George Ealham, keeps him down to one. Anderson comes round the wicket to Carey and hits him on the thighpad, scudding the ball through the gate. Dan Lawrence also makes a good stop at cover in the ball before drinks. We know Moeen is off but who is Ealham on for? A bowler having a breather rather than an injury, I would think.

02:40 PM BST

OVER 62: AUS 152/5 (Smith 25 Carey 0)

Smith isn’t going to protect Carey who took a pasting from Wood at Headingley and Old Trafford. Smith rides the bounce to steer a single off the splice through point. Carey ducks the straight bouncer and refuses to be tempted outside off. So Wood slings in the yorker from round the wicket and Carey skewers it out with a thick inside edge.

02:36 PM BST

OVER 61: AUS 151/5 (Smith 24 Carey 0)

It would be unfair to say that the wicket has given Anderson an extra bounce on his step as he’s bowled well all day but he does greet Carey, booed to the crease, with a nip-backer that pings into his thighpad. Carey’s entrance summons Wood into the attack from the Vauxhall Road End.

02:31 PM BST

Wicket!

Marsh b Anderson 16  Huge relief for him and his captain. Marsh, as he is wont, drags on by just hanging his bat outside off with little forward motion. Either play at it or leave it but that was a nothing stroke. May have seamed in, too.  FOW 151/5

02:30 PM BST

OVER 60: AUS 150/4 (Marsh 16 Smith 24)

The trumpeter gives us an Annie’s Song/Hey Jude mash-up for Root’s introduction. Smith sweeps a wide one fine for two, works a single into the onside and Marsh harpoons the arm ball through mid-off for a single.

Steve Smith drives

Steve Smith builds his innings – John Walton/PA Wire

Anderson is coming back on. The crowd wants Wood but Stokes goes with his No1 gun.

02:26 PM BST

OVER 59: AUS 146/4 (Marsh 15 Smith 21)

Smith twists a single off his pads, giving Woakes a chance at Marsh, the batsman he winkled out all three times in the series so far. Woakes tries to zip one in from outside off that sits up and Marsh slaps it behind point for two. Woakes goes fuller, nips it back in and Marsh defends on the front foot, as he does to the slower ball. Woakes puts the pace back on and Marsh drills a lovely drive straight back up the pitch for four to take Australia beyond halfway. Australia trail by 137.

Stokes calls up Joe Root for some golden arm spin/seamers/round-arm/bouncers.

02:21 PM BST

OVER 58: AUS 139/4 (Marsh 9 Smith 20)

Thanks, Kieran. Rob Bagchi here, back for a spell. Marsh continues to uses his feet to Broad who counters by using the crease and varying his length. Marsh works one away through midwicket and Smith uses that trademark whip from outside off throughs square leg for another. At the end of the over Stokes jogs up to Broad for a chat. He’ll be keen to continue, I would have thought. And Stokes uses the opportunity for a seemingly obligatory request for the umpires to check the ball.

02:15 PM BST

OVER 57: AUS 137/4 (Marsh 8 Smith 19)

Smith is being tested here by Woakes, who is getting the ball to move both ways. A couple of absolute beauties in this latest Woakes over as he has come so close to taking the edge of Smith’s bat. A fantastic maiden over.

02:11 PM BST

OVER 56: AUS 137/4 (Marsh 8 Smith 19)

A leg-slip is in place for Smith who does come across his stumps a long way. But he has supreme confidence in his own ability and always backs himself.

Big appeal as Broad strikes Marsh on the pads. It looks a little high and Ben Stokes decides not to review. He never looked convinced. The replays show it was just clipping the top of the bails. This is a fine spell from Broad, which we have seen from him so many times in his incredible career. Marsh decided to combat this spell by launching Broad over mid-off for six. That was incredible batting, similar to a shot Woakes played off Marsh yesterday.

02:06 PM BST

OVER 55: AUS 130/4 (Marsh 2 Smith 18)

Marsh gets off the mark with a clip through backward square leg for a couple. England are on top and they need to capitalise as they have their foot on Australia’s throats. This partnership feels like a big one in the context of this game.

02:02 PM BST

OVER 54: AUS 127/4 (Marsh 0 Smith 17)

Broad is on a roll. He is like a conductor as he whips up the crowd. Two dot balls to Marsh to finish another great over from Broad. Exactly what England needed after the lunch break.

Since lunch Stuart Broad has been bowling from the same end as when he had his magic spell in 2009, and the results so far are encouragingly similar, with a full length and a nibble of movement. Khawaja, Head, ?

02:00 PM BST

Wicket

Head c Bairstow b Broad 4

Is Broad on one of those famous spells? You better believe it as he now has Head. The second ball of Broad’s latest over is an absolute beauty. How on earth that did not hit the stumps or take the edge of Head’s bat as Broad gets one to nip away from the Australian batsman?

Head follows that up with a drive for four through mid-on. But that will be his last scoring shot as he is back to the pavilion. Broad this time is rewarded for nipping the ball away from Head as the ball is edged through to Bairstow. Two wickets in Broad’s first two overs after lunch. FOW 127/4

01:56 PM BST

OVER 53: AUS 123/3 (Head 0 Smith 17)

Smith whips Woakes’ first ball of the afternoon for four through mid-wicket. He comes right across his stumps but always backs himself to hit it, and most of the time he does to the irritation of the bowler.

Off the final ball of the over Woakes bowls it down the leg-side and the ball just keeps moving and Bairstow cannot prevent it from going for four byes. Slightly harsh on Bairstow that as he was never going to stop that.

01:52 PM BST

OVER 52: AUS 115/3 (Head 0 Smith 13)

A wicket maiden to start after lunch from Broad as Head, the new batsman, leaves the final ball of the over. That wicket of Khawaja was Broad’s 150th Ashes wicket; an incredible milestone.

Chris Woakes will open from the other end.

01:49 PM BST

Wicket

Khawaja lbw Broad 47. It will be Stuart Broad to open up after lunch from the Vauxhall End and he gets the important wicket of Khawaja in the first over after lunch. The ball after he had an appeal for LBW turned down, he strikes Khawaja on the pads again and that is out. Khawaja reviews but it is three reds and he has to go for 47. The perfect start to the afternoon session for England. FOW 115/3

Clearly, Usman Khawaja has had a fine series. No doubt about that. But there are some interesting quirks to his work. Marnus Labuschagne was clearly furious with him earlier, when poor running – a theme – resulted in him remaining on strike, then falling to Wood. And now he’s taken a review with him for the third straight innings.

01:43 PM BST

Thoughts at lunch from JL

The arm wrestle continues. Joe Root’s catch the highlight of the session, although England’s discipline, and Australia’s concentration and ball-leaving skills added to the pressure on the field. Some may say slow to watch, but I would say good old fashioned Test cricket. Looking forward to session 2.

01:39 PM BST

Sky Sports pundits on James Anderson

Mel Jones:

“Watching him yesterday, it didn’t look like he had a lot of zip. But this morning, he was getting the ball through around hip height.

“I saw just a little bit more energy in his run-up, a little bit more intensity from him.”

Mark Butcher:

“I just think there’s a bit of tension in there. For as many Test matches as Jimmy has played, he is used to getting a lot more success – and he is just feeling it a little bit. I don’t think he has been as relaxed as normal.”

01:37 PM BST

Nick Hoult’s lunchtime verdict, live from The Oval

Australia batted as if the clock had been rewound to the 1950s, scoring at 2.07 an over and setting out their stall to grind down the Dad’s Army England attack in order to finish them off later today.

We are seeing two Test cricket philosophies playing out in real time. Both sides stubbornly stick to their plans, refuse to take a leaf out of the other’s book, and time will tell which one can claim victory.

At the moment Australia will be happy with their work – 54 runs for one wicket in the session – but they are still 168 behind England and the hard graft will be for nothing if they lose a few quick wickets after the break.

England bowled well, beat the bat plenty of times and there were very few poor balls, but they took just one wicket. Australia scored 12 runs off the first 12 overs, which included just seven off the bat. Half the overs bowled in the morning were maidens and Australia only reached 100 runs in 48th over, the slowest it has taken them to reach three figures in an Ashes Test since 1990.

Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja added 46 in 26 overs (they joined forces last night), and at times it was difficult to watch. The crowd were flat, and while England kept plugging away, they too were less animated than in previous Tests. There were no attempts to rev up the supporters.

The highlight was a stunning catch off Labuschagne, plucked by Joe Root diving to his right at slip. Jonny Bairstow did not move, raising questions again about his mobility or maybe he had just fallen asleep like everyone else, but Root dived and caught the ball slightly behind him, clinging on to the best slip catch of the series.

Labuschagne had scored nine off 82 balls, and departed as slowly as he batted, muttering to himself.

Steve Smith accelerated the rate with consecutive fours off Anderson, who looks down on morale and out of luck.

01:33 PM BST

Sky Sports’ Mark Butcher on that catch!

“I think back to Headingley, where Joe dropped two catches, both of which should have gone straight in. But this one was just an epic slip catch! The balance he has for it, he sees the nick and then just turns his body to take it.

“It was absolutely perfect. He caught it a little bit behind his body and it went slap-bang in the middle of his hand.

“A dream catch!”

01:29 PM BST

What an impact Mark Wood has had on this series

01:19 PM BST

Mel Jones on Sky Sports

“I can completely get where they’re coming from. When you arrive at The Oval today and you know how big a day this is for Australia in terms of making sure they go home with the outright series win.

“They’re looking at this day and thinking, ‘we’re going to bat and bat deep’. And that first session, it was overcast, the ball was swinging a lot more, but that said there was just that lack of intent for me.

“Labuschagne and Khawaja were in their own individual bubbles and I just didn’t think that worked. It led to Marnus’ wicket in the end.”

01:13 PM BST

What to make of that session?

That opening session on day two will certainly create significant debate. Was that good, old-fashioned Test cricket or a bad advert for the game? Do the players have a duty in the promotion of the Test format to play a more attractive brand of cricket or should their only aim be about winning matches? What do you think?

01:10 PM BST

Slow going on day two

Thanks Rob. That was a, well, slow session of Test cricket. It is safe to say the way Australia bat is a complete antithesis to the way England do. Just the one wicket in that morning session and what a wicket it was:

01:07 PM BST

Lunch: AUS 115/2

England have bowled very well, with luck and unable to prick Australia’s diligent approach with crafty swing and seam bowling. Only Wood’s extreme pace has brought the breakthrough as Australia swallow Aesop and make like the tortoise to England’s hare, building a long path to victory with 54 runs off 26 overs. Nick Hoult’s lunch report will be here presently. Meanwhile here’s Kieran Crichard for the lunch break.

01:04 PM BST

OVER 51: AUS 115/2 (Khawaja 47 Smith 13)

And Wood will bowl it. Smith lets the ball come on to him on the back foot and nudges it into the onside. Khawaja flips a four off his ribs, bisecting keeper and leg slip, then ducks a bouncer that kept a little low and smokes past his backside as he did a convincing impression of Rory Burns.

Wood ends the session pinning Khawaja with a yorker, outside the line, and they nick a legbye.

01:01 PM BST

OVER 50: AUS 109/2 (Khawaja 43 Smith 12)

Anderson is making the ball move both ways at Khawaja who lets a tight one go and vault his stumps while another draws the attempted flick but he fails to tickle it and England, dreaming of a legside strangle, let out a collective gasp. One over to go before lunch.

12:56 PM BST

OVER 49: AUS 109/2 (Khawaja 43 Smith 12)

Wood makes Khawaja play and miss twice outside off but he also gives him enough width to allow him to dab four down through third man.

Some talk about whether Root’s snaffle was actually Bairstow’s catch. It was quite a way away from him but fellow keeper Dinesh Karthik thinks it was. At least he didn’t get in Root’s way.

12:52 PM BST

OVER 48: AUS 104/2 (Khawaja 38 Smith 12)

Anderson, encouraged to pitch it up, duly obliges and Smith creams successive straight drives for four. Jimmy with a grievance, like PG Wodehouse’s Scotsman, is not hard to distinguish between a ray of sunshine. He knots his eyebrows and trudges back to his mark.

12:49 PM BST

OVER 47: AUS 96/2 (Khawaja 37 Smith 3)

Just a couple of singles off Wood’s over, both using the angle to work it off middle and leg.

Will Macpherson reports from the Oval

Apparently Mick Jagger is making one of his regular appearances at the Oval today.

What better way to spend the week of your 80th birthday. He was there in 1972, too:

12:43 PM BST

Scyld Berry writes (as only he can)

It was reminiscent of Ian Botham’s 100th Test wicket, against India at Lord’s in 1979. Sunil Gavaskar edged, and Mike Brearley dived to his left at first slip to catch it with an outstretched left hand. Not many other examples of slip catches like that!

12:43 PM BST

OVER 46: AUS 94/2 (Khawaja 37 Smith 3)

George Ealham, son of Mark, grandson of Alan, the last of whom took a fine catch at Lord’s (?) as a sub in Silver Jubilee year against Australia, misfields at backward point at full stretch and lets Smith off for two. Anderson is ticking and even more so when Smith plays and misses outside off, fiddling at a back of a length delivery.

12:40 PM BST

OVER 45: AUS 92/2 (Khawaja 37 Smith 1)

Smith nurdles a single, if you can ‘nurdle’ a 90mph delivery, into the legside and puts Khawaja on strike. Wood attacks that right shoulder and Khawaja ducks it after dragging an inside edge into the legside.

As Michael Atherton points out, Labuschagne wanted a quick single to mid-on at the start of the over which brought his dismissal. Khawaja turned him down. Not sure it was on but it seemed to leave him chuntering as he walked off, that his partner, wise man, was willing to sit on his handle and let Marnus deal with Root.

12:33 PM BST

OVER 44: AUS 91/2 (Khawaja 37 Smith 0)

Smith had one ball to face of Wood’s over when he came in and dealt with it busily, with ants partying in his pants, but solidly. Anderson returns and reels off a maiden round the wicket to Khawaja who has got as stuck as Labuschagne but hasn’t had much Wood to scramble his mind.

England needed something very special there, and they’ve got it. A beauty from Mark Wood, and a special catch from Joe Root. That flew so fast. 

12:29 PM BST

OVER 43: AUS 91/2 (Khawaja 37 Smith 0)

Wood is back and bowling his rockets, making one lift venomously, forcing Bairstow backwards as he took it by his chin. It almost kissed Labuschagne’s edge too as he flinched. The next one is angled in and crashes into Labuschagne’s belly and the third dismisses him, by virtue of Root’s truly great catch. ‘Joseph Root. You are kidding me …’

12:25 PM BST

Wicket!

Labuschagne c Root b Wood 9  A blinder! Taken late at first slip, diving to his left and almost behind him. Out came the left hand and it stuck. Wood has been bowling missiles this over and gets his reward.  FOW 91/2

12:23 PM BST

OVER 42: AUS 91/1 (Khawaja 37 Labuschagne 8)

Labuschagne leaves Woakes’ nip-backer and again it proves his shrewd judgment as the ball vaults off stump. None of the uneven bounce that made the pitch here for the WTC final in June so unpredictable that he would never have risked such a close leave. Woakes pushes one wider and Khawaja takes on the cut but cannot beat point. Byes become day two’s top scorer when Woakes hoops another down the legside for four, starting it too straight. No hope for Bairstow there. No chance. No stain.

12:18 PM BST

OVER 41: AUS 86/1 (Khawaja 37 Labuschagne 8)

Khawaja does not miss out on a drive, lacing a Broad half-volley through cover for three. Labuschagne gets his nose over a couple of defensives, prompting England to ask for the rings again. The ball passes the test. As well it should as Broad gets it to talk, angling it into Labuschagne then straightening it past the edge.

This is a seriously tough first session. England will be disappointed not to have taken a wicket but Australia will also know how hard they have had to bat to survive this session. This is tough Test cricket at its best.

12:13 PM BST

OVER 40: AUS 82/1 (Khawaja 34 Labuschagne 7)

Labsuchagne shadow bats after missing out on an off-drive, getting into his groove, despite the miserliness of England’s bowling. Having forced Australia to crawl along this morning at this funereal pace (and Woakes racks up England’s 18th maiden in 40 overs), if they could go ‘Bang! Bang!’ the complexion changes.

Seventy – only 70 – runs off the bat in the first 42 overs of Australia’s innings! Welcome back to the 1950s, before limited overs cricket was invented. Bazball v Blockball.

12:05 PM BST

OVER 39: AUS 82/1 (Khawaja 34 Labuschagne 7)

After four dot balls to Khawaja, Broad drops the ball on to his knee during his run-up which, strangely enough, doesn’t seem to amuse him. Khawaja is beaten by the subsequent outswinger and defends the one angled into his pads.

Another maiden heralds the drinks. Twenty-one runs off 14 overs so far this morning and a couple of close shaves. England need to go the full Sweeney Todd here.

12:01 PM BST

OVER 38: AUS 82/1 (Khawaja 34 Labuschagne 7)

Now a probing maiden from Woakes but Labuschagne refuses to be rattled by his deathly run rate. Remember when Ian Wooldridge called Bill Lawry ‘a corpse in pads’? Thing is, Marnus does have a higher gear but also the patience to wait to apply it.

He has had some luck this morning – he was beaten on the inside edge attempting a drive from James Anderson – but Usman Khawaja has again shown his worth to Australia. Khawaja has now overtaken Zak Crawley to be the leading run scorer this series. He’s scored three more runs than Crawley but faced 598 more balls: there’s different ways to succeed in Test cricket.

11:57 AM BST

OVER 37: AUS 82/1 (Khawaja 34 Labuschagne 7)

Big shout from Broad when sets Labuschagne up with three outswingers then shapes an inswinger into Labuschagne’s front pad. He signals that it was going down when Stokes asks whether he should review. No justice. He beats him next ball with the outswinger that fizzes past his groping prod and then Labuschagne edges a tickle into his thighpad, the rebound killing its speed, which meant it died 2ft short of Duckett at leg slip.

Australia have scored 21 runs from the first 12 overs of the day, and there have been plenty of umms and ahhs from the Oval crowd, which I think we are contractually obliged to call knowledgeable. Stuart Broad’s little burst to Labuschagne here has got the crowd going.

11:51 AM BST

OVER 36: AUS 81/1 (Khawaja 34 Labuschagne 6)

Khawaja tucks Woakes off his pads for a single, Labuschagne’s leg glance for one is his 1000th run in Ashes Tests.

11:48 AM BST

OVER 35: AUS 79/1 (Khawaja 33 Labuschagne 5)

Broad begins with a beauty that angles in to Labuschagne then beats him on the edge by straightening smartly. Cover stops runs when Broad overpitches but Bairstow cannot prevent four byes hooping down the legside. He reaches it with the top knuckle of his left index finger but it carried on veering away.

The ball is subjected to the gauges again but goes through. Stokes, Key and McCullum have changed Broad’s approach in barely 14 months. Now he doesn’t mind flirting with half-volleys as he searches for that fuller length. In the past he would have considered them like a vampire treats sunlight.

England need a magic spell from Stuart Broad if nobody else can oblige. He is on at the pavilion end, the opposite from his magic spell here in the 2009 Ashes.

11:41 AM BST

OVER 34: AUS 75/1 (Khawaja 33 Labuschagne 5)

Woakes starts with a maiden. He chose to persist with an over-the-wicket line to the left-handed Khawaja who, lining him up, getting his bearings, defends solidly, alert to the danger of the fuller ones angling across.

Stuart Broad is coming back on, too.

11:37 AM BST

OVER 33: AUS 75/1 (Khawaja 33 Labuschagne 5)

Labuschagne ducks Wood’s bouncer and refuses to be tempted outside off. When Wood pitches up, Labuschagne squirts a drive through point. Dan Lawrence, subbing for Moeen, chases it down and keeps it down to two. A bit pretty from Wood rather than penetrating. It’s all very well oohing and aahing when they leave straight ones but more often than not it is with the certainty that the ball will clear the stumps.

So much for Anderson’s fettle. Chris Woakes is coming on to replace him. It’s Joe Root’s turn to lobby for a ball change but he gets short shrift.

James Anderson. I wonder whether, in this series, he has bowled too straight … and therefore been picked off legside? If he had hung the ball outside offstump more, as he used to do when Joe Root was captain, the Australians might have chased him more and nicked off. And what has been the effect on him of not taking the first over, from the start at Edgbaston to Australia’s first innings here?

11:31 AM BST

OVER 32: AUS 73/1 (Khawaja 33 Labuschagne 3)

Still no luck for Anderson who is bowling at the top end of his pace range and straining to bowl full, earning himself a third maiden in four overs this morning. He looks in his best fettle of the series.

11:27 AM BST

OVER 31: AUS 73/1 (Khawaja 33 Labuschagne 3)

Labuschagne gets away for the day, still with the old bat, I think, by going up en pointe to steal a sharp single to point. Khawaja turns a fuller one to midwicket for a single as Wood tries to find his ideal length. Wood jumps out wide on the crease and almost squares Labuschagne up but the ball comes safely off a leading edge into the offside.

Stuart Broad and Mark Wood

Stuart Broad gees Mark Wood up – Stu Forster/Getty Images

11:20 AM BST

OVER 30: AUS 71/1 (Khawaja 32 Labuschagne 2)

Khawaja uses Anderson’s angle when he errs too straight to tickle four off his front pad fine. That lulls Khawaja into a rash shot, so rash his bottom hand flew off the bat as he went for an expansive drive. An on drive brings Kahawaja two so Anderson pulls his length back and has the left-hander hopping up to defend on the back foot.

11:17 AM BST

OVER 29: AUS 65/1 (Khawaja 26 Labuschagne 2)

Labuschagne gives his bat a proper examination after a 92mph fullish ball from Wood spits up and strikes the splice. Australia finally break the scoreboard operators’ slumbers when Wood angles a bouncer across Labuschagne that fizzes under his armpit and keeps swinging, beating Bairstow and leg slip for four byes.

Labuschagne calls for a replacement bat.

A terrific start for England, with four runs, all in byes that Jonny Bairstow didn’t stand a chance with, in the first four overs. Whisper it, but Jimmy Anderson does just seem to have a touch more whip today. 

11:13 AM BST

OVER 28: AUS 61/1 (Khawaja 26 Labuschagne 2)

Excellent again from Anderson, nip and carry from round the wicket. Ricky Ponting senses it might all be coming together for Anderson, finding rhythm and some tail back in. Khawaja is beaten by one that nibbles away, is rapped on the thigh pad a couple of times and defends tappily, not out of the middle at all. Eighteen dot balls to start the day. It’s back to Saker-ball and the 2010-11 bowling dry approach that took them to No1 in the world.

Big day for England (when have we not said that?). But this feels like a verdict day on Bazball. If Australia grind their way to a big lead at 2.6 an over it will put England’s batting into perspective. If however, they end up with a similar score made in twice the amount of time, England will say their approach was justified. The floodlights are on from the start of play. Anderson was out early with bowling coach David Saker to warm up. Big morning for him too.

11:09 AM BST

Anderson’s army

The lights are on to start the day, and these are more good bowling conditions. Jimmy Anderson was out bowling on the outfield for around 15 minutes before play began, hunting for rhythm, and he got a great ovation from the crowd when it was announced that he would be bowling the opening over of the day, which was slightly surprising. 

11:07 AM BST

OVER 27: AUS 61/1 (Khawaja 26 Labuschagne 2)

Wood starts at a higher pace than he managed yesterday when he began, up to 90mph but his length lets Labuschagne leave and watch as they go over. Wood pitches further up and beats the right-hander on the outside edge and forces him to defend a 93mph full one as it arrowed towards off and middle. Good pace and precision. England mean business, beginning with real purpose.

11:03 AM BST

OVER 26: AUS 61/1 (Khawaja 26 Labuschagne 2)

Michael Atherton informs us that David Saker has been working with Anderson this morning and in he pounds, round the wicket. Good line, good bounce, good carry but he makes him play at only the first of the opening three balls of the over then whistles one past the edge when he hits the seam and the ball nibbles away. Because of the high bounce and carry, Khawaja confidently leaves on length, even when the last delivery nips back but comfortably vaults off stump.

Mark Wood will bowl the next over.

10:58 AM BST

The last verse of Jerusalem dies down

Jimmy Anderson has the ball.

10:52 AM BST

In the mood?

The mood is very quiet among the crowd approaching the Oval except for those in yellow shirts. The touts are not doing much business. It’s going to take a great spell this morning to lift the spectators.

10:43 AM BST

A new occupation?

Ben Stokes tries his arm at off-breaks

Ben Stokes tries out his off-spin in the nets at the Oval this morning – John Walton/PA Wire

10:32 AM BST

Chris Woakes speaks

In a perfect world we get 400 on day one on a wicket that’s doing a bit, but against a world-class attack it’s not always that easy. We want guys to go on and get big scores. But in the past we’ve stuck in there and tried to get to a score but still only got 150. We feel 280 on that pitch is a good score.

10:21 AM BST

England are used to being a bowler down

A bad start to the day for England, who have confirmed that Moeen Ali won’t take to the field today because of his groin injury sustained on day one. That means there’s a very real chance that Moeen has bowled his last delivery in Test cricket, though he and England will do everything to help him to be fit for the latter stages of the game. It’s a major blow to England, although their team – with four specialist bowlers, in addition to Moeen, Ben Stokes and Joe Root – effectively provides insurance in the event of such injuries. We saw that at Headingley, when England won despite Ollie Robinson being limited to 10 overs.

10:11 AM BST

Moeen Ali will not be able to bowl today

England have announced that he will not take the field today but they will continue to assess his groin injury. Ben Stokes was not expected to bowl but we did see him turning his arm over gently in the nets on Wednesday. If England manage to set Australia a decent target I wonder whether he would be tempted to have a dart in the fourth innings with surgery imminent or whether it would cause further damage.

Moeen Ali receives treatment

Moeen Ali’s groin twang means he will not be able to bowl today – Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Who you gonna call?

Joe Root bowls at Edgbaston

Joe Root has four wickets at 28.25 in this series and 13 in total under Ben Stokes’ captaincy – GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images

10:07 AM BST

Weather update

Less than 10 per cent chance of rain but thick cloud for most of the day which should mean humidity this afternoon when the temperature rises to a maximum of 21C.

09:59 AM BST

Boycott’s Briefing

09:51 AM BST

Having a wager?

Having a bet on the final Test? Find the best Ashes free bets to use throughout the five days.

09:48 AM BST

Preview: Boys keep swinging

Good morning and welcome to live coverage of the second day’s play of the fifth Ashes Test. Life is a pig isn’t it? Having dominated the first three days at Old Trafford and, despite their disappointment and exasperation at rain depriving them of a golden chance to level the series 2-2, England had a dud of a day, arguably their worst of the series, though the first day at Lord’s was pretty chastening, too. They were flat, the crowd was flat and neither seemed to be able to find the spark to inspire the other even when Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley were rattling along at six an over. The loose shots, the sense that they were flying by the seat of their pants, puts too many hearts in mouths for full-throated, confident roars.

There was a touch of the Rumble in the Jungle about yesterday, too. Poor, gallant England, like George Foreman, trusted their instincts, kept swinging, believing all it would take was one haymaker to pole-axe their opponent and Australia cannily rope-a-doped them with Pat Cummins’ class, the pace and perseverance of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood’s revitalised nip. England wore themselves out and Australia delivered the uppercuts when their guard was wide open.

Nevertheless, all is not lost. Australia bat a such a ‘Test-match’ pace that they are still 222 runs behind. England, in the same situation, would have been 60 runs further on, albeit, probably, for the loss of three or four wickets. At Lord’s England recovered after a bad day one to take five wickets in 17 overs for 77 runs and gave themselves a sniff of an improbably victory snuffed out by falling into the bouncer trap, dropped catches, a devastating Saturday night Australia burst and Cummins finding a moment of tranquillity amid the Ben Stokes’ carnage on Sunday to change tack.

England have to be up for this opening session. They have a decent cross-pitch breeze to help their swing. Time to imitate the action of the tiger because this could be their last hope.

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