preamble

Hello everyone and welcome to OBO reporting from the second day of the fifth ash test from the Oval.

The booth on this second morning reflects much of the series. The game is running at Australian standards, after a solid but far from flawless performance on the field has been shown to be enough to expose England's weaknesses with the bat. Rory Burns had made a good start again, and again Joe Root came in, but neither of them did the Smithian's bid they wanted. An early supper by Jos Buttler gave some faces a smile, but it only reminded the English followers of what they missed when the ashes were still there to be won.

In view of the state of the series, frustratingly little was gained from yesterday's action in order to expand the planning for future competitions. In particular, the dismissals of Joe Denly and Jonny Bairstow were painfully predictable.

Australia can steal Mitch Marsh's show with the ball left. You can now look forward to almost three full days in which Steve Smith has the freedom to play fun with all sorts of records.

I'm here for the next hour to keep this show up to date, but when the game starts, Geoff Lemon will jump in the breach. If you want to share your thoughts with the world in the next hour, you can forward them to me Twitter or via email.

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