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Live Reporting

Marc Higginson, Mark Mitchener and James Gheerbrant

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Goodbye

    Right, that's all from us for today, join us tomorrow to see if England can fight their way out of trouble. Until then, goodbye.

  2. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    John M Butt: Cook is the only player that should be selected for the next Ashes. The rest of the team can't bat or bowl on a flat wicket.

    Paul Morgan: Not quite sure why England are taking this to a fourth day. Quit now boys. You've won already.

    Simon Goodall: Has Ian Bell ever opened for England? Can't do no worse, and might change his luck.

  3. Close-of-play scorecard

  4. Post update

    Simon Mann

    BBC Test Match Special

    "Australia have worked hard today - they've worked their way through this England batting line-up."

  5. Player reaction

    Australia bowler Peter Siddle on Sky Sports: "I've been carrying a few drinks which has been disappointing, I would have liked my chance, but I didn't bowl as well as I could in the tour matches. I've been feeling good. Pressure is key - that's what I've been able to build for the team. My plan was to get it going across Alastair Cook, and it was a good battle. The follow-on is always hard, it was a long day today, but Pup asked us what we wanted to do, and he wanted to have a real go at winning this Test match. It gives us a good opportunity at winning this Test match."

  6. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    On Jonny Bairstow's dismissal when he was given out caught off short leg's helmet:

    "How many cricketers - or golfers - actually know the rules? The umpire didn't get it, the third umpire didn't get it. But all I'd say to Jonny was that he didn't need to nick it. Stokes's shot wasn't very good either."

  7. Player reaction

    England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler on Sky Sports: "We're up against it, but we've just got to keep fighting and hang in there. The captain showed that for most of the day. Everyone's very disappointed to come here and play as we have. I've had a tough series, it's been tough mentally when you keep finding ways of getting out, but you've got to keep scrapping. I'm really happy with the way my keeping's gone - I feel there's been a progression. It would be great if we could get out of this, and a bit of rain would be great."

  8. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Adam Lyth is vulnerable - even though he's from Yorkshire, he's not making runs and averaging 14. He may get saved because England have won the series, and because there's nobody making a case to replace him. His feet didn't move at all - you transfer your weight forward or back with footwork. It was always going to be tough for whoever came in as you're stepping up from county cricket which is not as tough as international cricket."

  9. Post update

    It's hard to see a way back for Adam Lyth - he ends the series with 115 runs from nine innings at a meagre average of 12.77.

    Who will be opening the batting with Alastair Cook in the UAE? Alex Hales? Moeen Ali? Nick Compton?

  10. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "It was the right ploy by Michael Clarke to put Smith on - but for me, Lyon should have got him out of his comfort zone, or teased him by tossing it up and bowling into the rough. He knows Smith hardly ever bowls and might bowl a full toss or two, but he might get you a wicket."

  11. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Evan Samuel: Top knock by the skipper - good enough to make my ticket for tomorrow worthwhile, anyway!

    Jack Blackburn: Four days in a Test match? There's a novelty.

  12. Can the rain save England?

    It looks like they might have to survive the first two hours' play tomorrow before the weather has a say...

    BBC Weather
  13. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Australia deserve to win - England have not helped themselves. The bowling on the first day was fairly inspid, lacking energy, then the batting yesterday was pretty awful. Today it's been about Alastair Cook - he's shown you've got to get your head down and play to the situation. It's a pity none of the others could play like him."

  14. Review of the day

    Well, let's be honest - barring a miracle, Australia are on the brink of victory in this fifth and final Ashes Test. They started well, mopping up England's dismal first innings for 149 by taking the final two wickets of Mark Wood and Moeen Ali. And then, to the surprise of no-one in particular, they enforced the follow-on.

    It was a last chance for under-pressure opener Adam Lyth and I'm afraid to say he flunked it, caught - yet again - in the slips for 10. His time in the side is surely up. But he was far from the only batsman to fall cheaply, as Ian Bell and Joe Root also perished for low scores.

    Jonny Bairstow showed plenty of fight but was eventually done for by the excellent Nathan Lyon, who then cleaned up Ben Stokes in the very same over. A battling fifty partnership between Alastair Cook and Jos Buttler briefly gave England hope, but when Cook fell for 85 just before the close, the writing was on the wall...

  15. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Alastair Cook

    Elgan Evan Alderman: Katich, Ponting, Smith. The Ashes curse of the Ozzy part-timer.

    Garry Cairns ‏Well I hope Andrew Foster's proud of himself. #mockers

  16. Close of play

    Eng 203-6 (trail by 129)

    Mitchell Starc is called back into the attack to see if he can nip out Mark Wood before the close. He sends a heat-seeking toe-cruncher right at the base of the stumps, but Wood somehow jams the bat down on it. And that is that. England survive, but they are staring defeat in the face.

  17. Eng 203-6 (Buttler 33, Wood 0)

    The new man is Mark Wood - yes, England have sent out a nightwatchman to protect a number eight. Buttler, playing by far his best innings of the series, moves into the 30s with a flick through midwicket off Lyon for four.

  18. Post update

    Simon Mann

    BBC Test Match Special

    Alastair Cook

    "The two main innings Cook has played in the series are going to be in defeats."

  19. WICKET

    Cook c Voges b Smith 85 (Eng 199-6)

    Steve Smith celebrates

    Yes, that does say 'b Smith'. It's a brilliant move from Michael Clarke on his swansong, bringing on Steve Smith with his part-time leggies and somehow snaring the previously imperturbable England captain. Cook props jadedly forward, gets a thick inside edge onto his pads and is snaffled by the excellent Adam Voges at short leg. Bonus wicket for Australia, death knell for England.

  20. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Alastair Cook

    Andrew Foster: The Chef deserves a ton this series, come on Alastair.

  21. Eng 192-5 (trail by 140)

    There's a man wandering round the Oval terraces carrying a cheeseboard. Only at the cricket. Cook nudges Lyon down to long leg for two.

  22. Post update

    Jim Maxwell

    BBC Test Match Special

    "It has been a torpid day of Test cricket, but the captain's still there and the ship's still afloat. You can be certain there will be cricket tomorrow judging by the way these two are sticking to the crease."

  23. Eng 190-5 (Starc 13-3-32-0)

    Mitchell Starc, like so many of his colleagues in the Australia bowling line-up, has flickered only intermittently in this series. Devastating in the second innings at Trent Bridge, but so far at the Oval, wicketless and pretty ordinary. Buttler eases him off his pads for two.

  24. Eng 187-5 (Cook 80, Buttler 22)

    Alastair Cook

    Six overs left. Hang in there everybody. This one is like so many others this evening: Lyon to Cook, Cook cuts for one, Lyon to Buttler, Buttler blocks. The out-of-form England keeper has only one thing in his mind: getting through to the close.

  25. England beat Australia (sort of)

    Amid the wreckage of this Test, we bring England fans some good news...

    England Under-19s have beaten Australia in the last over of a thrilling one-day international at New Road to draw the series 2-2.

    Chasing 295, the hosts won by four wickets with two balls to spare, a chase built around opener Dan Lawrence's 106.

    Earlier, Caleb Jewell hit 106 and Jordan Gauci 93, sharing an opening stand of 196 in Australia's 294-6.

  26. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Alastair Cook

    Ian Bradley: Grim affair all in all but been a pleasure to watch the defiance of Cook, you shall not pass.

  27. Eng 186-5 (trail by 146)

    Mixed bag from Buttler against Mitchell Starc: he plays a nice positive stroke to work two off his legs, then the very next ball plays a horribly tentative forward prod and is lucky to see the edge drop short of the slips.

  28. Scorecard update

    England 182-5 (72 overs) - following on, trail by 150

    Batsmen: Cook 79*, Buttler 18*

    Fall of wickets: 19-1 (Lyth 10), 62-2 (Bell 13), 99-3 (Root 11), 140-4 (Bairstow 26), 140-5 (Stokes 0)

    Bowling figures: Johnson 13-2-51-1, Starc 11-3-25-0, Lyon 22-5-45-2, Siddle 16-10-14-1, Marsh 10-4-28-1

    Australia first innings 481: Smith 143, Warner 85, Voges 76

    England first innings 149: Moeen 30; Johnson 3-21, Marsh 3-30

  29. Eng 182-5 (M Marsh 10-4-28-1)

    I break off from the cricket to bring you news of the romantic saga that had us all on tenterhooks earlier. Before tea the TV cameras showed a banner hung from a flat overlooking The Oval, with the message "BEX - WILL YOU MARRY ME?" We were understandably keen to find out whether the proposal had been accepted. Now there's a new banner, which says "WE DON'T KNOW, SHE'S IN THE MALDIVES." So the mystery continues, but we hope to be able to bring you a definitive update on Bex's marital at some point during the ODI series.

    Meanwhile, on the pitch, Alastair Cook swishes at a Mitchell Marsh outswinger and is lucky not to get an outside edge.

  30. Post update

    Graeme Swann

    Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "From a spin bowler's perspective, if there's a player like Jos Buttler who can reverse-sweep me for six in a one-day game who then changes the way he bats in first-class cricket, I'm over the moon. Especially when he clearly has defensive flaws in his technique."

  31. Eng 177-5 (Cook 79, Buttler 18)

    Meanwhile, over at the Met Office, developments of a decidedly meteorological nature. Apparently, there's a weather warning being issued for London on Monday. Could the English weather, so far an absent friend, be about to make a late arrival at the Ashes party? England need to hang in there to make it that far, but they're doing a decent job at the moment, continuing their steady accumulation with three runs against Mitchell Starc.

  32. Post update

    Ed Smith

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Jos Buttler's strike-rate is the same in Test cricket as it is in first-class cricket which tells me it's not just in this arena in which he doesn't use all of his shots. He hasn't toned it down for Test cricket."

  33. Eng 174-5 (trail by 158)

    Mitchell Marsh bowls

    Reckon this is a good move by Australia: Mitchell Marsh is back into the attack to nibble a few medium-pacers past the outside edge in the evening gloaming. Buttler isn't biting at the moment: he watches the first set of six go by.

  34. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Ed Stockton: Pretty torturous ordeal following the Test online. That run rate is just crawling.

    Thanks Ed...

  35. Eng 174-5 (Johnson 13-2-51-1)

    The shadows lengthening at the Oval now but there's no slackening of Mitchell Johnson's pace: the arrival at the crease of an out-of-form batsman has awakened the fire-breathing monster in Mitch and he's wanging it down at 90mph. Tasty. Buttler, to his credit, doesn't duck the examination, and flicks him through midwicket for two.

  36. Post update

    Graeme Swann

    Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Nathan Lyon's dismissal of Ben Stokes was great bowling to a poor player of spin. When you first go into bat, no matter how aggressive you are, surely you don't hit the ball if it's not going to hit your stumps and is turning away."

  37. Rain on the way...

  38. Eng 171-5 (Cook 78, Buttler 13)

    Alastair Cook

    Alastair Cook is looking very, very good here. He's been content to milk the cut against Nathan Lyon so far, but this time he really latches on to and sends it speeding past the boundary rider for four. He hasn't got a ton in this series and you sense his steely gaze is trained very firmly on three figures here.

  39. Eng 167-5 (trail by 165)

    13 overs left. A very rare lapse in concentration from Cook as he aims a pull at a delivery from Mitchell Johnson that isn't quite short enough for the shot. A few cordial words from the Aussie gunslinger, nothing much happening out there for either side.

  40. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    Nathan Lyon

    "There is more variation which Nathan Lyon could bring into his bowling. It's all been the same to Alastair Cook, round the wicket. What about changing the angles a bit?"

  41. Eng 166-5 (Lyon 21-5-41-2)

    It's a simple method for Alastair Cook against Nathan Lyon: dab the full ball off his legs, cut the short ball into the off-side. He gets one of the latter variety and cracks it away to the man on the boundary.

  42. Eng 165-5 (Cook 72, Buttler 13)

    A rare sighting of the lesser-spotted Mitchell: Johnson, who hasn't been used much this evening, returns to the attack. Cook, making it look easy, prods him away for a single.

  43. Get involved


  44. Eng 164-5 (trail by 168)

    Singles: when you're in nick, they come easily; when you're not, they're nowhere to be found. Alastair Cook gets off strike easily against Nathan Lyon, Jos Buttler can't get one away. Meanwhile, David Warner almost collides with Aleem Dar as he races to field a ball and the umpire shuffles rather magnificently out of the way, moonwalk-style. There are still a few places left for this series of Strictly, Aleem...

  45. Post update

    Simon Mann

    BBC Test Match Special

    "Peter Siddle has kept it tight, which Australia have not managed to do throughout this series."

  46. Eng 163-5 (Siddle 16-10-14-1)

    Peter Siddle

    Muted appeals as P-Siddy gets one to duck in and rap Jos Buttler on the pads, but it's sliding down. The England wicket-keeper, as so often, in this series, is strangely becalmed - just one run from his last 13 balls now.

  47. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    Nathan Lyon

    Simon Mann asks... if you could pinch one Australian bowler for England who would it be?

    "I would say Nathan Lyon. England are desperate for that frontline spinner."

  48. Eng 163-5 (Cook 70, Buttler 13)

    As Michael Vaughan alludes to, when Alastair Cook is in this mood, you don't simply get him out. You have to dislodge, or prise, or chisel him away from the crease. He continues to provide an immovable obstacle, wearing his strike rate of 36 as proudly as a war veteran wears a medal.

  49. Drinks break

    Eng 161-5 (trail by 171)

    Siddle keeps Buttler wrapped up tight with another maiden. Let's all have a drink, shall we?

  50. Nic who? Australia's team for the next Ashes?

    Nic Maddinson

    Australia team will carry a very different look in the next Ashes series against England down under in 2017-18.

    With captain Michael Clarke and opener Chris Rogers retiring - and Shane Watson, who will be 36 by then, and Brad Haddin, who will be 40, unlikely to return - the batting department will have been deprived of a combined 17,597 Test runs.

    Test Match Special's Australian commentator Jim Maxwell looks into his crystal ball and predicts the XI that will walk out in the first Test in Brisbane in November 2017.

    Find out more here

  51. Eng 161-5 (Cook 69, Buttler 12)

    Jos Buttler

    Buttler is at least trying to play with a bit of tempo here: he glances Lyon to fine leg for two and then sweeps for a single next ball. Better signs.

  52. Post update

    Graeme Swann

    Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "When Jonny Bairstow was out like that in Mumbai in 2012, it smashed into the helmet of Gambhir at short leg he got back to the dressing room and everyone asked why he walked off. He didn't know the rules and Andy Flower couldn't believe he'd got to this level without knowing that. He said that at least you won't make that mistake again..."

  53. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "Jonny Bairstow shouldn't have been out. It wasn't a fair catch because the ball hit the grille on Voges' helmet, meaning it's a dead ball. I don't agree with that rule but it's there and he shouldn't have been out."

  54. Eng 158-5 (Siddle 14-8-14-1)

    The miserly Peter Siddle is summoned back into the attack. Alastair Cook nudges him to square leg for two. He likes a follow-on, Cook: on the two previous occasions that he's batted in this scenario, he's scored 118 against Sri Lanka and 176 against India. Backs-to-the-wall specialist.

  55. Text 81111

    Alastair Cook

    Scott in Manchester: It would be a minor (but nice) personal triumph if Cook were to carry his bat here. The only English batsman to show any of the necessary application. He can, at least hold his head up in the dressing room.

  56. Eng 156-5 (trail by 176)

    Alastair Cook

    While wickets clatter all around him like dominoes in a stiff breeze, at the other end Alastair Cook remains unruffled, steadfast, monolithic. He's advancing in singles, another one taking him to 67. Buttler meanwhile, showing welcome positivity, sweeps Lyon for two.

  57. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Wisden editor Lawrence Booth: Replays showed Bairstow should have been not out: ball hit the helmet of Voges at short leg. Same happened at Mumbai in 2012-13.

  58. Eng 153-5 (Cook 66, Buttler 7)

    Jos Buttler looks all at sea - he aims an awful, concrete-footed slash at a wide Starc delivery and is lucky to see it whistle through one of the gaps in the slip cordon. Dare I suggest it, but this doesn't bode terribly well for the ODI series. Thank goodness David Willey's in form.

  59. Eng 149-5 (Cook 66, Buttler 3)

    Adam Voges and Peter Nevill

    Whispers that that Bairstow catch might have hit Adam Voges on the helmet and should have been called dead ball. Have Australia got away with one there? Cook gets a rare boundary when he pings Lyon sweetly through midwicket.

  60. Eng 145-5 (trail by 187)

    25 overs left. That finish line looks a long, long way away for England right now. Buttler has been curiously timid in this series, a shadow of the buccaneering colossus who butchers ODI attacks for breakfast, but he gets off the mark with a three off his legs.

  61. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I don't think England are thinking about knocking the runs off to make Australia bat again. They're just thinking about getting through to tomorrow. That will be the best they can do."

  62. Eng 141-5 (Lyon 15-5-27-2)

    The perennially underestimated Lyon continues. Always unassuming, frequently deadly. He'll be delighted to see Jos Buttler, who he's had on hot buttered toast in this series. For the moment though, Cook keeps Buttler off strike by dead-batting a maiden.

  63. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Ben Stokes

    Firas: Absolute idiocy from Stokes. I don't mind him playing his game but have some common sense and recognise the situation.

    Ben: Oh dear. The UAE is going to be a graveyard for some of these batsmen if they can't conquer Lyon on this road.

  64. Eng 141-5 (Cook 61, Buttler 0)

    Jos Buttler, whose series with the bat has been drier than an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in the Atacama, strides to the crease, as much as any man can stride when they've got 80 runs in their last seven innings. He plays out five dots to Mitchell Starc.

  65. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    Nathan Lyon

    "It's not a great shot, but you have to give credit to the bowler. He teased the batsman. That was one of the moments of the day, it was nice bowling into the rough and he delivered it perfectly. If you enjoy the nuances of the game, this is for you."

  66. WICKET

    Stokes c Clarke b Lyon 0 (Eng 140-5)

    Nathan Lyon celebrates

    Big trouble for England now. Nathan Lyon, so often the unsung hero of this Australia side, is having another excellent Test match, and he's just punched a big, Ben Stokes-shaped hole in England's middle order: floating one up temptingly into the rough and inducing a rash drive which squirts off the edge into hands of the captain. Stokes's quiet run with the willow continues.

  67. WICKET

    Bairstow c Voges b Lyon 26 (Eng 140-4)

    Jonny Bairstow

    Out of nowhere, a wicket. Nathan Lyon gets one to grip, Jonny Bairstow, propping forward, gets a thick inside edge, and Adam Voges - who has been very sharp at short leg in this series - pockets the catch via a ricochet off his chest. Top reflexes. England sink further into the mire.

  68. Eng 139-3 (Starc 7-3-13-0)

    Alastair Cook

    Mitchell Starc comes into the attack as Michael Clarke searches for a breakthrough. Alastair Cook, who has faced 154 balls and counting, continues with the simple, unflashy method that has served him so well: block, block, leave, and then when the bowler gets too straight, simply work him into the leg side. A dying art this, chewing up balls, putting miles into the bowlers' legs, but Cook does it brilliantly.

  69. Post update

    Ed Smith

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Mitchell Marsh has been messed around a bit with selection but he's had a good series and has gone a long way to securing his place in the middle of the side."

  70. Eng 137-3 (Cook 58, Bairstow 26)

    Is Mitchell Marsh part of Australia's brave new world? On the evidence of this series, I'd say he should be - he may not have express pace but he's certainly got something with the ball. Can he bat 6 though? Questions, questions for Australia to ponder. Still, Marsh is doing his cause no harm here - another probing maiden.

  71. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Evan Samuel: Old fashioned grinding Test cricket, with old fashioned grinding Test cricketers: Cook v Siddle. Great stuff.

  72. Eng 133-3 (trail by 199)

    This is one of the rare outbreaks of proper, old-fashioned Test-match batting in this series: England looking to do little except be patient, bat time, shave little ten-minute segments off the clock. The metronomic Siddle, off the final ball of his 13th over, finally concedes his first boundary, when Bairstow edges one streakily down to third man.

  73. Eng 128-3 (M Marsh 7-1-23-1)

    Clarke summons the third Mitch, Mitchell Marsh, into the attack. Jonny Bairstow, looking to dig in with the skipper, isn't going to be tempted into a loose stroke against his little seam-up medium-pacers. Another maiden.

  74. How's stat?!

    Alastair Cook has scored his runs in either ones or fours. Bar the odd two!

    Alastair Cook
  75. Scorecard update

    England 128-3 (47 overs) - following on, trail by 253

    Batsmen: Cook 57*, Bairstow 22*

    Fall of wickets: 19-1 (Lyth 10), 62-2 (Bell 13), 99-3 (Root 11)

    Bowling figures: Johnson 10-2-46-1, Starc 6-3-12-0, Lyon 13-4-26-0, Siddle 12-8-7-1, Marsh 6-1-23-1

    Australia first innings 481: Smith 143, Warner 85, Voges 76

    England first innings 149: Moeen 30; Johnson 3-21, Marsh 3-30

  76. Eng 128-3 (Cook 57, Bairstow 22)

    Peter Siddle

    Siddle continues to work in concert with a sharp close field to tighten the straitjacket on Alastair Cook, bowling a rigid wicket-to-wicket line, choking the England skipper's scoring options. A very useful type of bowler for the captain to have up his sleeve, the yin to the more erratic yang of Mitchells Johnson and Starc. It's yet another maiden for the Victorian quick.

  77. Email

    Robert Channon: Could England consider taking Ali, Rashid and two up and coming promising spinners such as Ansari and Kerrigan to the UAE? Both have got wickets in the Championship this year and no point taking more than four seamers to the UAE?

  78. Eng 128-3 (trail by 204)

    Jonny Bairstow

    Lyon, head shaven, cheekbones zinc-smeared, continues. Cook and Bairstow rotate through for three singles.

  79. Post update

    Jonathan Agnew

    BBC Test Match Special

    "Peter Siddle is a great trier. Even if it's 45 degrees or he's running into a gale-force wind, he'll still give everything for you. He's a good advert for a vegan. He's powered by bananas."

  80. Eng 125-3 (Siddle 11-7-7-1)

    Now then, here's the man who has made a real difference to the Australian attack in this match, Peter Siddle. Landing it on a sixpence, wobbling the ball off the seam, keeping England a vice-like grip on England's run rate.

    Could he have made a difference if he'd been picked earlier in this series, on green surfaces at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge? All hindsight now, ifs, buts and maybes. But he continues to offer consummate control in this match - that's his seventh maiden from 11 overs.

  81. Post update

    Jonathan Agnew

    BBC Test Match Special

    "There's rain around so England have to keep fighting and not give their wickets away. You never know..."

  82. Eng 125-3 (Cook 55, Bairstow 21)

    Diligent knock from Cap'n Cook so far, he hasn't messed with anything except the bad balls. He gets one from Lyon, too short, but it rears up a little more than Cook expects and he has to ride the bounce rather than flaying it to the fence. Just a single.

  83. Post update

    Here we go then. Nathan Lyon to open up to Alastair Cook after tea...

  84. Post update

    Australia players in a huddle

    Australia having a huddle on the boundary edge, Michael Clarke delivering what could be his final pep talk. Everyone listens intently as the skipper offer a few last words of wisdom. Respect.

  85. Get Involved

  86. Text 81111

    Greg: All four batsmen so far have played similarly, obviously aware of the weather and looking for draw. Simply down to ability and form as to how far we can take it...

  87. Post update

    Mitch, thank you. I have no immediate news of Bex, or her answer, but we promise to bring you all the latest instalments in that captivating romantic saga as we get them.

    Michael Clarke

    Speaking of romance, it hasn't quite been a fairytale send-off for Michael Clarke, the retiring Australia skipper, who failed with the bat and shelled an easy catch, but it looks like he may at least get to bow out with a win. But will England have something to say about that in the evening session? We're about to find out.

  88. Post update

    One little interlude before the interval - the TV cameras showed a banner hung from a flat overlooking The Oval, inscribed "BEX - WILL YOU MARRY ME?"

    Whoever Bex is - and whether this is a genuine proposal or a sneaky way to get you and your mates on TV - may be revealed in the final session, which will be brought to you by James Gheerbrant.

  89. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Peter Siddle

    Anthony Shaw: We might actually pull this one out of the fire... Australians trying to embarrass us might backfire!

  90. Get involved

  91. Tea interval

    Eng 123-3 (trail by 209)

    And that's tea as Bairstow sees out the rest of Marsh's over. He has 20 from 24 balls, Cook has 54 from 132, and we have 36 overs left on day three.

  92. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Jonathan Wilson: Let's not forget these Yorkshire players are miles ahead of the other counties and with little reliance on overseas stars.

  93. Eng 123-3

    Johnson's off after that expensive over and Mitchell Marsh returns. Considering the length of his run-up, it may mean this is the last over before tea. Especially after he aborts his run-up just before getting to the crease with two deliveries left.

  94. Post update

    Sam Sheringham

    BBC Sport at The Oval

    "I just stumbled across a brochure for the charity auction that took place in the VIP area today. The items on offer included a stay in a 7-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, boxing gloves worn by Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson and various hospitality weekends at sporting events around the world. But the quirkiest item by far was an alloy wheel from the car of four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel, which had been fashioned into a glass-topped coffee table. Yours for a minimum price of £799."

  95. How's stat?!

    Jonny Bairstow

    Bairstow may have hit Johnson for those fours - but the tall left-armer has still dismissed him more often than any other Test bowler.

  96. Eng 122-3 (trail by 210)

    After that fiery Johnson-Bairstow duel at the other end, it's a more sedate encounter at the other end as Cook is proceeding in careful singles against Siddle.

  97. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Kevin Wright: All this with Bairstow is nonsense. Third Test he got a great ball, fourth Test got 73 in an innings win. Done better than some.

  98. Eng 119-3 (Cook 51, Bairstow 19)

    Alastair Cook

    It's a hot day in London - I hear they've just had a drinks break midway through the first half of a Premier League game - and the sweat is dripping off Johnson's forehead. Having been hit for two fours, he unleashes an absolute snorter of a bouncer which Bairstow ducks, virtually on his knees. Bairstow has the last laugh as he fences outside off stump and it flies over the slips for four more - although that may not be where he was intending to place it.

  99. Post update

    Graeme Swann

    Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "It's reverse swinging across the batsman ever so slightly. The second boundary was more in the bowler's favour. It was never going to be caught but it was in the air longer."

  100. Eng 115-3 (trail by 217)

    Bairstow, holding the bat away from his body, prods the ball past the slips for four - and as if to show it wasn't a fluke, repeats the shot.

  101. Faces of the Ashes

    It's been a decent series for facial hair on the field, From Moeen Ali's beard and David Warner's moustache (may it rest in peace) to Mark Wood's designer stubble. But this spectator outclasses them all.

    A spectator
  102. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Ben: Root. Eyes shut. Pulling. So, so bad. Take a leaf out of Mohammed Ali's book. Sway, dip, MOVE!

  103. Eng 107-3 (Siddle 9-6-4-1)

    Siddle, having only conceded two runs in eight overs, concedes a third when Cook dabs a single to mid-wicket. Bairstow, with a very high backlift reminiscent of Graham Gooch in the 1980s, guides one off his legs. We're about 15 minutes from tea.

  104. Hope on the horizon?


    If England can survive today and tomorrow morning, there could be hope on the horizon. BBC Weather's Peter Gibbs says: "Good chance of staying dry up until lunch tomorrow, but then likely to lose most of the afternoon session to rain. Monday's forecast is looking wet for much of the day."

  105. Post update

    Jim Maxwell

    BBC Test Match Special

    "Jonny Bairstow is trying to be watchful but Mitchell Johnson has got him jumping about the crease with his fast deliveries."

  106. Eng 105-3 (trail by 227)

    Mitchell Johnson

    Bairstow jabs Johnson in the air, but safely wide of short leg, but is off the mark when he on-drives just past the leaping Johnson for four. Undaunted, the young Yorkshire right-hander adds two more through the cover.

  107. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Barney: Bar Root, which of these Yorkshire players have actually looked anything like international class?

  108. Get Involved

  109. Eng 99-3 (Cook 50, Bairstow 0)

    As was suggested, it's a change of ends for Peter Siddle, who's replaced the wicketless Lyon at the Vauxhall End. Despite losing three partners so far, Alastair Cook remains defiant, playing out a maiden over.

  110. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Jack Blackburn: Root out on the hook. Again. His Achilles heel, and Johnson seems to finally have his number.

  111. How's your year been, Joe?

    Joe Root graphic
  112. Eng 99-3 (trail by 233)

    Jonny Bairstow is the new batsman, his first ball - not unpredictably - is a bouncer, which he ducks.

  113. Post update

    Graeme Swann

    Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "I like to see a top order batsman backing himself to take the shot on - but I hate seeing him get out. But Joe played a proper hook shot there and was unlucky, with getting a top edge, that it didn't go for six."

  114. WICKET

    Root c Starc b Johnson 11 (Eng 99-3)

    Joe Root

    Ouch. England fall into the Johnson Trap again - Root hooks at a short ball and is easily caught at long leg. Like his county team-mate Jonny Bairstow yesterday, he couldn't resist the big shot, and has perished. England's vice-captain swings his bat angrily as he walks off, as well he might.

  115. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "He's played to the situation, that's what you have to do. Kevin Pietersen would say it's the way I play and try and hit sixes over long-on when England were trying to save the game. But England got fed up of that. We were rightly critical of Kevin. You have to assess the situation, bury the ego."

  116. 50 for Alastair Cook

    Eng 95-2

    Alastair Cook

    And rather than a try-to-hit-the-cover-off-it, it's a gentle single clipped through mid-wicket which brings the steely-eyed England skipper his second fifty of the series, from 119 balls.

  117. Eng 94-2

    Mitchell Johnson

    Oddly, after just that one over from Siddle, Australia turn back to Mitchell Johnson - are they planning a change of ends? Root guides a single backward of square leg. Cook back on strike on 49...

  118. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I don't sense that England are going to collapse too badly that we'll be finished today. Jos Buttler's defence just isn't there and Jonny Bairstow is not in great nick. They'll bounce him again. But there's two players at the crease who would get into a World XI."

  119. Eng 93-2 (trail by 239)

    Cook, the epitome of patient accumulation this innings - a tactic which seems to have been abandoned by many modern sides - plays out the rest of a maiden over from Lyon, rather than panicking and going for a risky single to bring up his fifty.

  120. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Michael Blakey: Imagine if we had someone as good as Cook opening the batting with him.

  121. Eng 93-2

    Joe Root and Alastair Cook

    Cook and Root exchange singles. The skipper moves to 49...

  122. Eng 91-2 (Cook 48, Root 5)

    Peter Siddle

    Finally, Australia turn back to the snarling pace bowler Peter Siddle, whose figures of 6-5-1-1 before lunch tell their own story. Cook, on 47, has two slips and two gullies waiting for an edge. Siddle, who seems to have a permanent grimace etched on his face, keeps it tight - just a Cook single from the over.

  123. Join the debate at #bbccricket

    Gordon Thursfield: Ballance was averaging 24.5 when he was discarded. Lyth + Bell have finished the series averaging 12 + 23 respectively.

  124. Faces of the Ashes

    He may have only featured in a couple of Tests but Mitchell Marsh has shown promise as Shane Watson's successor - just needs to get a few more unsuccessful lbw reviews under his belt.

    Mitchell Marsh
  125. Eng 90-2

    Root whips Lyon for a single off his toes, while Cook taps a single to the cover boundary to keep the strike. If only England had batted like this yesterday...