Australia took just 31 balls to wrap-up the England first innings early on Day 2 of the fifth and final Test match of the Ashes 2019 at The Oval, London with Mitchell Marsh claiming his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket. But the visitors failed to make the most out of it, getting themselves dismissed for 225 runs with Jofra Archer claiming a six-wicket haul. As expected Steve Smith showed his class, top-scoring so far in the match with a patient 80. Besides him, no Aussie batsman dare to present a fight as English bowlers enjoyed a rare day with the ball. At the close of day's play, England were nine without loss with Rory Burns and Joe Denly unbeaten on four and one respectively. Earlier, Jos Buttler (70), who brilliantly fought off the Aussies on Day 1, couldn't do much, becoming Pat Cummins' third wicket. Marsh completed his fifer with the wicket of another overnight batsman, Jack Leach (21) to dismiss England for 294 all in 87.1 overs.
Here's how the day's premise looks like:
England had everything in their favour at the start of the fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia. But by the close of Day 1 at The Oval in London on Thursday, Joe Root & Co. could manage only what looks like a modest score of 271 for eight with Mitchell Marsh, who's playing his first match of the series, emerging as the unlikely foe. Marsh claimed half of those wickets. If it had not been for 'fun-seeking' Jos Buttler's counter-attacking half-century, England's scorecard would have looked very poor. They were asked to bat first on a good batting track by a generous Aussie captain Tim Paine, who seemed to have missed their weather meeting. The visitors were also uncharacteristically very sloppy -- probably still in the party mode after retaining the urn -- dropping catches and committing misfields. And what England did? They conspired against themselves to throw away the opportunities. A first innings score of less than 400, against a team which has a certain Steve Smith, will not be enough for laying the foundation from where they can launch the victory march. Remember, a draw will only keep the scoreline 2-1, in favour of Australia. Now, they must hope for some inspired performances from their bowlers. From Australia's perspective, it's a golden chance to win their first Ashes series in England since 2001. They don't even need to go for the win, for the aforementioned fact. Play watchful knocks and wait for England to crumble in frustration. And they may even end up winning the match, and the series 3-1. So, that brought us to that question again -- can England still stop Australia from winning an away Ashes series for the first time since 2001? Well, as things stand now, it seems like a far-fetched dream.
Catch highlights and cricket score of the England vs Australia match here: