The fifth and the final Test of the Ashes is poised to be a close one. England raised their game on day two of the match, bowling Australia out for 225, giving themselves a lead of 78 runs at the start of their second innings. Jofra Archer, who made his Test debut in the series, picked six wickets in the first innings and a total of 22 wickets with an average of 17.27 runs.
Australia clearly lacked the sharpness which they have shown throughout the series, especially in the fourth Test. Except for Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, none of their players scored significant runs to help Australia match England's first innings score and give themselves a lead. Sam Curran, who was recalled for the final match, picked Smith's wicket which ended the away side's innings in theory.
After the end of the day's play, he said, “It was really enjoyable bowling at the best batsman in the world. We’ve tried a lot of things but he’s been incredible. Hopefully, he doesn’t get any in the second innings! I’ll be honest, the ball that got Matthew Wade was natural variation. If I don’t know, the batter’s not gonna know! I probably bowled a little too full for the hat-trick balls. But yeah, good fun."
England had Captain Joe Root to thank as he scored 57 runs to help England steady the ship in the first innings. The top-order helped England push themselves initially as they scored 169 runs for three wickets in 52.0 overs. By the end of the first day's play, they had summed up 271 runs for eight wickets. England's hero of the series, Ben Stokes scored a mere 20 runs but they had help from other personnel as Rory Burns and Jos Butler scored 47 and 70 runs respectively.
For Australia, Mitchell Marsh, the player they recalled for the final test picked up five wickets, justifying his inclusion in a strong manner.
England's second innings began in dramatic fashion as they could have been down by two wickets but they survived two close calls. Joe Denly was dropped and Rory Burns was given out by Kumar Dharmasena, but the decision was overturned on appeal.