Read a preview of day three action from The Oval and watch a live stream of the game.
Where: The Oval, London
When: August 21-25
Watch live: Click here to watch on NowTV from Sky!
Australia are in the box seat to earn some valuable momentum from what has been a horror England Ashes tour as the teams prepare for day three at The Oval in London.
After four matches where their brittle batting line-up put the rest of the team under pressure, Australia’s top seven has finally got its act together.
The innings was highlighted by two centuries, the first time Australia has managed to have a duo break through the ton barrier in an away Test since playing Sri Lanka in 2011.
Shane Watson scored runs in a better late than never innings, which might have just saved his short-term career, as he bullied the England attack on his way to making 176, with 26 boundaries and a six coming from his time at the crease.
Darren Lehmann’s decision to move Watson to his third place in the batting order this Ashes series came under fire from some pundits of the game.
However, after his excellent knock the all-rounder might have played his way into the side when they play the return series in Australia starting in November.
Smith Smith was the other innings of note for the tourists as he scored his maiden Test ton, finishing on 138 not out.
It was an innings of patience and aggression where needed, as he showed coolness under pressure beyond his 24 years.
After bursting onto the scene as a blonde leg-spinner most has tipped to be “the next Shane Warne”, Smith has undergone a transformation and looks to be potential long-term number six batsman, with the ability to bowl some wrist spin where needed.
Vitally for England if they are to add to their three wins this series, captain Alastair Cook and Joe Root managed to survive until the close of play on day two.
With the conditions still helping fast bowlers who are willing to pitch the ball up and the pitch likely to turn for Nathan Lyon and Smith later, Cook and Root will need to put on close to a century stand to give the Three Lions a platform to launch towards Australia’s first innings of 492.
Despite the game being a dead-rubber it presents Cook and Jonathan Trott a chance to make big scores after their lean series to date by their own high standards.