Archer and Curran put England on top before hosts extend lead in final Ashes Test

Jofra Archer was the star of the show for England once again. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Jofra Archer and Sam Curran were in fine form with the ball as England ripped through Australia before extending their first innings lead to 78 on day two of the final Ashes Test at the Oval.

With Australia leading 2-1 and having already retained the urn, Joe Root’s side are determined not to become the first side to lose a home series since 2011.

Starting the day 271-8, England knew they needed a good morning session in South London.

However, Jos Buttler could only add six runs to his overnight total of 64 before he was bowled by Pat Cummins in the fourth over of the day.

After his teammates dropped like flies on day one, Buttler had helped England stablise.

But after his three huge sixes the previous day, it was a swipe which was to be his undoing as he inside edged Cummins’ wicked delivery onto his stumps.

Six balls later, the innings was at an end. Jack Leach, who had made 21 in the attempted fightback, was bowled by Mitchell Marsh who brought up his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket as England were all out for 294.

Things didn’t start well for the tourists in reply however as David Warner’s miserable series continued, caught behind off the bowling of Archer having faced a mere eight balls.

David Warner edges and is caught by Jonny Bairstow as he continues to struggle. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 13: Jofra Archer of England celebrates taking the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Despite the umpire initially being unmoved and a number of inconclusive replays, it was left to UltraEdge technology to confirm the slightest of touches between bat and ball as England’s successful review sent Warner packing.

Archer took his second wicket of the morning after Marcus Harris flicked an outside edge to Ben Stokes who took an impressive catch for 14-2.

It was yet another disappointing display from Australia’s openers, but they now had their two top scorers of the series in Marnus Labuschagne and of course, Steve Smith at the crease.

The duo dug in and looked to frustrate England both sides of lunch but Archer was to be England’s main man once again removing Labuschagne lbw on 48.

Wade was next to fall, also lbw after Sam Curran’s delivery was deemed to be clipping leg stump.

However, the wicket England were desperate for was that of Smith but the undoubted man of the series instead brought up another Ashes 50 - his tenth in a row - in style, smashing a Leach delivery over the rope for six.

Marsh went at the start of the final session of the day, pulling one high into the air and into the grateful palms of Leach to give Archer wicket number four.

England thought they finally had the danger man but unfortunately Root couldn’t maintain his grip and Smith was dropped on 66.

Curran, brought into the squad for the final Test, then stunned Australia with two wickets in two balls - first removing captain Tim Paine with a devastating inswinger that nicked behind to Bairstow, before dispatching Cummins for a golden duck lbw.

Steve Smith of Australia celebrates yet another 50 this Ashes series. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for Surrey CCC)
Sam Curran takes the wicket of Matthew Wade (Getty images)

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Australia were wobbling on 166-7 but with Smith still at the crease, Australia always have belief.

But on a 80 runs and ominously approaching another century, Chris Woakes’ straight ball saw Smith uncharacteristically swing and miss, with the subsequent sound of the ball striking his pad bringing a roar from the Oval crowd that was as much astonishment as it was joy.

At 187-8, the tourists were over 100 runs behind with just two wickets remaining but Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle lifted the Australia total to 224 before Lyon’s leg stump was sent flying by Archer.

Hazlewood could only manage a single as a sensational Rory Burns catch gave Archer his second six-wicket haul of the series.

Australia were all out for 225, trailing by 69 runs and giving England a chance to extend the lead before stumps.

First up for England were Denly and Burns and Australia would have been cursed their luck when Harris put down what looked a straightforward catch that would have removed Burns for 0.

Another successful England review also saw Burns overturn a dismissal with the final ball of the day as the hosts ended the day 9-0 and a lead of 78 going into the third day.