As we have come to expect throughout the series, a change in momentum has seen Australia assume favouritism for the fifth Test with England needing to come back with one last hurrah on the final day at the Oval.
England's swashbuckling second innings on Saturday had seen the hosts start Sunday's play as short as 4/9, with a lead of 377 and still one wicket left.
However, the Baggy Greens seemed more in control of their plans as they batted resolutely against a largely ineffective home attack before steadily increasing their pace as they closed towards their victory target of 384.
The rain that came to their detriment at Old Trafford 10 days ago, might just have done England a favour this time as it wiped off almost half of the day's action to make all results possible on the final day.
There is the potential for more showers on Monday and the draw is available at 9/2.
|England v Australia, Fifth Test, day five
|The Oval, London
|11:00, Monday 31st July 2023
|How to watch
|Sky Sports Cricket & Main Event
|England 9/4, Australia 8/11, Draw
England might end up regretting another mini-collapse that saw them lose five wickets for 47 runs late on Saturday as they threw the bat with abandon but they still had the chance to put more runs on the board with their last-wicket pair resuming at 389-9, with the lead at 377.
Stuart Broad - who was given a guard of honour by Australia as he entered the field of play - had dropped his retirement bombshell the night before and might have hoped to be going out with a bang, with both bat and ball.
He certainly did so with the former as, with the field spread, he clubbed what turned out to be the final ball he will face in the cricketing arena for six.
Unfortunately, James Anderson could not add to his overnight tally, or even survive the next over, as he fell to Todd Murphy, who finished with figures of 4-110.
As Australia went out to bat for the real business of the final two days, they were as big as 4/1 to chase down 284, with England strong 2/5 favourites and the draw on offer at 6/1.
However, it really didn't take long for the tourists to settle into their innings and the opening pair understandably grew with confidence the longer the day went on.
Broad and Anderson were given the new ball but struggled for lateral movement, with the pace of the pitch perhaps not helping their cause, even if the overhead conditions might have been more helpful.
Spin was introduced early but Moeen Ali was inconvenienced by the groin injury he suffered while batting in the first innings.
Joe Root might have looked a fraction more threatening but there were few alarms for either David Warner and Usman Khawaja.
Even the introduction of Mark Wood's extra pace had little effect and if anything, Australia were accelerating nicely before the heavens opened, having struck 53 off the final 10 overs before the day's abandonment.
Warner has struggled in English conditions having failed to score a century in 19 Tests on these shores, and it would be somewhat ironic if he was to provide the match-winning innings in Broad's swansong, having been dismissed by the England great on 17 occasions.
The left-handed opener has passed the halfway point in his last bid for a three-figure score in England, striking an unbeaten 58 off 99 balls, including nine fours, in his excellent innings so far.
Khawaja has batted well all series and in reaching 69 - off 130 balls with eight fours - he climbed to the top of the series run-scoring charts, where he is likely to stay. Steve Smith and Travis Head are this closest Australian challengers but are 174 runs behind, with Warner a further 36 runs back.
Khawaja is priced at 4/5 to reach three figures while Warner is on offer at 6/4, and Australia look to be in a good position to secure the series win and end their 22-year drought in England with what would easily be the highest successful run-chase on this ground.
The hosts will be looking for one final fling in what was been a rollercoaster of a series so far, and it would be fitting if Broad could lead his side's charge as they look for the win to salvage a draw in the series.
After England had battered their way into a potentially winning position in the fifth and final Test, Stuart Broad dropped another bomb as he announced his retirement at the conclusion of this game.
Broad had chosen his moment carefully after revealing that he wanted his final action on the field to be in the heat of Ashes battle.
Whether that will be in a winning cause remains to be seen but England have got themselves into a very good position at the close of play on day three, having reached 389-9.
After surrendering a narrow 12-run advantage after first innings, that means that the hosts have a 377-run lead going into the final two days, still with one wicket remaining.
Ben Stokes' men need to win this fifth Test to salvage a 2-2 draw in the series, which would extend their unbeaten home Ashes series streak to at least 26 years, having not tasted defeat since 2001.
With little to choose between the two sides after first innings and plenty of time left in the game, any uncertainty of how England would play their second effort was dismissed when Zak Crawley crashed the first ball for four, while the 12-run deficit was wiped off by the end of the first over.
'Bazball' was in full effect from the get-go and Australia were struggling to know how to deal with their famed frontline attack getting flayed to all parts once again.
England had started the innings as 1/1 favourites but their price was getting ever shorter with seemingly every stroke as Crawley and Ben Duckett rattled up 79 for the first wicket, off 16 overs, before the latter was caught behind off the bowling of Starc - who finished with 4-94 - for 42.
Stokes promoted himself up to number three with Moeen Ali having suffered a groin injury in the first innings and shared a quick-fire partnership of 61 with Crawley, who played beautifully for an almost run-a-ball 73 before flashing to the slips with England at 140-2.
The scoring momentum was maintained when Joe Root joined his skipper in the middle with the two adding 83 in 13 overs before Stokes (42) miscued Todd Murphy to deepish mid on, with first-innings top batter Harry Brook (7) soon following him to the pavilion, having struck a big six in his six-ball innings.
Two quick wickets to slip to 222-4 might have seen a change of tactic, but Root and Yorkshire colleague Jonny Bairstow continued to build England's advantage.
The pair took England into the final session with a lead extending beyond 300, although Australia did start to fight back once they had broken the partnership at 110.
Murphy got one to turn and keep low to deny Root what had looked a certain century, with the former captain out for a brilliant 91, coming off just 106 balls and including 11 fours and one six.
That opening was exploited by Australia as Bairstow followed soon after for 78, before Ali enjoyed a little cameo of 29, athough England were arguably throwing their wickets away in the pursuit of quicker runs.
Woakes (1) and Wood (9) were showing little respect and got found out, before Broad (2) and James Anderson (8) - who needed a review to overturn an LBW decision on the penultimate ball of the day - saw England through to the close at 389-9, leading by 377 runs.
Broad may have also chosen to announce his retirement to the world to try and "persuade" his captain not to declare with this being his last innings, but the likelihood is that Australia will be batting soon enough on Sunday.
How many more runs that the Aussies will be chasing is arguably moot with the target already close to 400 and the pressure is on them as they look to secure their first series win in England since 2001.
The momentum has steadily been swinging in England's favour since Pat Cummins' men went 2-0 up in the series, with the Baggy Greens having lost at Headingley before the rain came to their rescue at Old Trafford.
Australia only need to avoid defeat to achieve the series win and with two days left, all three results are still possible in theory, but the tourists batted as if the draw was their top priority in the first innings, and England will look to turn the screw.
Broad will no doubt be extra-motivated to unleash another one or two of those spells that he often seems to have found in the cauldron of an Ashes arena.
He has already had an excellent series with the ball, second only to Mitchell Starc (23) in wickets taken with 20, and he will want to have a big final say in this fifth Test.
There is little surprise to see Steve Smith at 13/5 to be Australia's top batter in the second innings, having led the way in the first knock as well as his excellent record at the ground.
Marnus Labuschagne is next best at 4/1, although his 82-ball first innings for just nine indicates his struggle for form and fluency in the series up to this point.
However, the forecast suggests there may be a shower or two, as well as cloud cover, and England might again have conditions in their favour as they seek a suitable send-off for one of their all-time greats.
Both sides will feel the fifth Test is there to be won with Australia's first innings finally ended to complete the action on day two with the tourists holding a slender 12-run lead.
Having bowled England out for 283 on day one inside 55 overs, Australia were batting to a very different rhythm as they set about their first innings in the final session on Thursday, reaching stumps at 61-1 having faced 25 overs.
If anything, the tourists slowed things down even further on Friday as they chipped away at England's advantage, only accelerating late in the day as they were running out of wickets, ultimately just about getting their noses in front.
Ben Stokes' superbly judged boundary catch to end both Pat Cummins' and Australia's innings, along with the day's action, will see England start their second effort on Saturday from 12 runs behind.
With the betting having fluctuated throughout another momentum-shifting day, the hosts are now 1/1 favourites to complete the win that would salvage a series draw, with the Baggy Greens now on offer at 6/4, having touched 7/4 as well as 10/11 during their first innings.
Although there is the potential for some weather interruption over the next couple of days, there are still three days left with two innings having been completed, and the draw is now at 11/2.
Australia largely weathered the potential England storm on Thursday night, but really dropped anchor on Friday morning as England were bowling well in helpful conditions.
Of course, Cummins' men only need a draw in this Test to secure their first series win in England since 2001 so they are unlikely to force the issue unless it is to their advantage, while there have been suggestions that they are adopting a polar opposite to England to simply prove a point.
England were bowling well though and it was tough going for the batters, and Marnus Labuschagne's 82-ball innings for just nine was ended by an absolute beauty of a catch by Joe Root at first slip.
Australia were also trying to put plenty of overs in the England bowlers' legs to tire them out for later in the game and were in no rush to press on when Steve Smith came to the crease.
The Aussies reached lunch at 115-2, having added just 54 to their overnight score in 26 overs and still trailing by 168 runs.
Momentum appeared to shift in the afternoon though with Usman Khawaja trapped LBW by Stuart Broad for 47, in the first over after the interval to spark a mini-collapse.
Travis Head (4), Mitchell Marsh (16), Alex Carey (10) and Mitchell Starc (7) were gone by tea with the Aussies at 186-7 at the second break, and still faced with a 97-run deficit.
However, the tourists regained the initiative in the final session thanks to Smith, who got a big let-off when short of his ground on a run-out attempt with Jonny Bairstow having already accidentally broken the stumps before he had the ball in his hands, and the lower order.
Smith's innings was eventually ended by Chris Woakes for 71, but not before he had shared a 53-run partnership with Cummins, while Todd Murphy, who smashed three sixes in his 39-ball 34, put on 49 with his captain.
Cummins himself was caught in the deep for 36 going for a big shot to end the innings, but Australia will have been delighted to have got their noses in front.
This game could have been so different had Australia taken their chances on day one, which included dropping top-scorer Harry Brook when he had made just five.
The injury sustained by Moeen Ali - who has not taken to the field since he was dismissed - has also thrown a big spanner in the works as they are not only a bowler down, but they have also potentially lost their number three.
How England adapt to the possible absence of Ali in their second innings remains open to question but they are set to be much more positive at the crease than their opponents as they have to win this Test.
Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett both got starts in the first innings, while they were also both given a life, and they will no doubt be instructed to continue doing what they have tried to do throughout the series.
Australia will feel they enjoyed the best of day one and will be looking to take control of the fifth Test when they return to the middle at The Oval at 61-1, still trailing England by 222 runs.
Last week's draw in the fourth Test meant that Australia achieved their first target of retaining the urn, and will now be looking to avoid defeat in the final Test to record their first outright Ashes series win in England since 2001.
And they were aided in their quest by winning their first toss of the series as well as some injudicious batting from England as they dismissed the hosts on the first day for 283.
England may feel they got out of jail a little bit as they offered five chances of varying difficulty that Australia were unable to take, but after reaching the close for the loss of just one wicket, Pat Cummins' men will believe they are on top, something that is reflected in the betting.
Expected showers never materialised on the opening day, but there remains the threat of showers over the course of the next four days, although the draw is now available at 13/2, from 3/1 pre-match.
|England v Australia, Fifth Test, day two
|The Oval, London
|11:00, Friday 28th July 2023
|How to watch
|Sky Sports Cricket & Main Event
|England 13/8, Australia 5/6, Draw
After being put into bat, an unchanged England side would have expected some problems given the overhead conditions but there will be some disappointment with the manner of a few of their dismissals before they were eventually bowled out.
Both Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley offered early chances with the former spilled by David Warner at first slip in what was a relatively routine chance, while the latter was put down by Steve Smith in a much more difficult diving opportunity at second slip.
The England openers had started to settle in the middle and looked in little further danger until Duckett (41) gloved Mitchell Marsh down the leg-side to Alex Carey to open the door, before Crawley (22) flashed Cummins to Smith in the slips soon after.
Josh Hazlewood then cramped Joe Root for room with the former captain playing on to his own stumps when trying to run the ball down to third man, and England had lost three wickets for 11 runs to fall to 73-3.
Harry Brook survived a nervy start after being dropped by Carey to a relatively routine stooping catch to his right when on just five, and he and Moeen Ali set about the revival in subsequently untroubled fashion.
The pair shared a century stand before momentum shifted when Ali suffered a groin injury and he was clearly in discomfort as he went into one-day mode.
After striking two sixes, he went for another off the bowling of Murphy only to see his middle stump uprooted and England never quite recovered.
It was 184-4 when Ali fell, and it did not take too long for Australia to wrap things up.
Stokes was bowled by a beauty from Starc for just three, before Jonny Bairstow's expansive drive to Hazlewood merely diverted the ball on to his own stumps to depart for four.
Brook was then tempted to chase a wide one from Starc to give another catch to Smith in the slips, with his innings of 85, which included 11 fours and two sixes, coming off just 91 balls.
However, England had lost another four wickets for just 28 runs to fall to 212-7, and Australia were very much on top.
Mark Wood (26) and Chris Woakes (36) scored some useful lower-order runs before Starc claimed the latter as the last wicket to finish with figures of 4-82, with England having lost their last seven wickets for 99 runs as they were dismissed for 283.
There is little doubt that these two sides have contrasting styles, particularly in the batting department, as despite being dismissed inside 55 overs shortly after tea, England were racing along at more than five an over to put 283 on the board.
The hosts will feel that is at the very least competitive given the overhead conditions that are expected over the next couple of days, but they didn't make significant inroads into the Aussie line-up in 25 overs at the end of the first day.
David Warner did eventually fall for 24 to Woakes late on but he has not been in the best form all series and it may have been more surprising that he lasted 52 balls - the third longest innings of the day in terms of balls faced.
Usman Khawaja has largely proved a tougher nut to crack in the previous four Tests and he was again patient and determined as he reached the close at 26 not out, having faced 75 balls and striking just four fours.
Khawaja is 4/6 to score fifty or more and 7/2 to reach the century mark, while his run total has been set at 54.5, 10/11 over or under, although he is 13/5 to finish as the innings' top scorer with Smith the favourite at 5/2.
Marnus Labuschagne found his form in the drawn fourth Test last week, scoring 51 in the first innings before he notched his first ton in England in the second.
He dropped anchor at the end of day one to finish unbeaten on two, having faced 23 balls, but he will be hoping to use the confidence gained from Old Trafford to put Australia more firmly in control and he is 4/1 to finish as Australia's top batter.
England did not bowl badly by any stretch but they may need to be a little more attacking with their lines and lengths as the tourists do not need to force the issue in this final Test as they hold a 2-1 lead.
It might not be the series decider that most fans were hoping for, but the fifth Test at the Oval still has plenty on the line and promises more thrills and spills.
The weather scuppered England's hopes at Old Trafford and you can imagine that the hosts will be wanting to take their frustrations out on Australia.
The tourists may have retained the Ashes, but they will be also desperate to end the tour on a high, especially as Australia have not won a series in England since 2001.
Ben Stokes' men were in complete control of the fourth Test before the Manchester weather put pay to their hopes of levelling the series.
Most neutrals will feel the hosts deserve to be at 2-2 heading to the Oval, but missed opportunities in the first two Tests have seen England fall short of winning back the urn.
The frustration at Old Trafford though could see England come after Australia hard on day one, as they look to build on an impressive recent record in Kennington.
The home side have won four of their last five Tests at the venue, including a comprehensive 135-run victory over the Aussies in the previous home Ashes series.
Australia have already played at the Oval this summer, beating India by 209 runs in the World Test Championship back in early June.
One interesting fact to note is that three of the last four Tests at the Oval have seen the team that batted first claim the victory – the exception being England's nine-wicket success over South Africa last summer.
England have won the toss on each of the four previous occasions in this series and are 10/11 to win the toss again on Thursday.
The additions of Mark Wood and Chris Woakes ahead of the third Test at Headingley have made a huge difference to the England attack and the pair are likely to play a key role again at the Oval.
Wood's express pace has made the Australian top order look uncomfortable and that had been missing in the opening two Tests.
Fitness concerns mean the Durham paceman was absent at Edgbaston and Lord's, but the 33-year-old has collected 11 wickets in the last two Tests and is 9/2 to be top 1st Innings bowler at the Oval.
Woakes' consistent line, length and swing has also caused the Australians problems, taking 5-62 in the first innings at Old Trafford.
The Warwickshire seamer, 11/2 to be top 1st innings bowler, is expected to keep his place in the England attack, with the selectors sticking with the same squad for the final Test.
There have been question marks as to whether James Anderson will feature, but Stokes has hinted that England's leading wicket-taker will keep his place.
A century from Zak Crawley at Old Trafford helped the opener answer some of his critics and another big score could see him secure a long-term role at the top of the order.
The Kent batter smashed 189 off just 182 balls in the fourth Test and highlighted just what he is capable of at the very highest level.
Crawley has only played one previous Test at the Oval – last year's victory over South Africa – and was 69 not out in the second innings.
The opener, who has four Test tons to his name, is 15/2 to be top 1st innings batter.
Steve Smith has been on three previous tours of England and is yet to finish on the winning side, something he will be desperate to put right in what could be his last Ashes Test on English soil.
The former Australian skipper has one century to his name in this series, which came in the first innings at Lord's. Since then, he's scored just 116 runs across his next five innings.
The Oval will bring back happy memories though for Smith, who has played there in four previous Test matches.
In seven Test innings at Surrey's home ground, the 34-year-old has racked up three centuries – including a knock of 143 in the 2015 Ashes series.
Smith is 11/4 to be Australia's Top 1st Innings batter and can be backed at to score a century in the first innings.