Already marked by dramatic finishes, the fifth and final test in the Ashes seems to be headed for another.
Trailing the series 2-1 and needing a win to retain the Ashes it has held since 1989, Australia surged behind Shane Warne on the opening day at The Oval on Thursday.
Warne took 5-118 with England closing the day on 319 for seven. The not-out batsmen at stumps were Geraint Jones with 21 and Ashley Giles on five.
Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flintoff steadied the home side's innings with a 143-run partnership for the fifth wicket after England had stumbled to 131 for four.
Strauss reached 129 before he was dismissed by a catch from Simon Katich, diving forward at silly mid-off to grab the ball in his outstretched left hand and provide Warne with his fifth wicket of the match.
"I certainly hope not," Strauss said when asked about the prospect of another thrilling finish. "The way the series has gone, I think it's a great possibility that it might be a very close game.
"I think there will be a result and, if we keep working as we have done all series, there's no reason why we can't win it from this position."
England scraped home by just two runs at Edgbaston, and was given a scare by the Australian bowlers before winning by three wickets at Trent Bridge. In the third test, the tourists fought back to salvage a draw.
On Thursday, the stage appeared set for yet another big first-innings total for England.
An almighty roar went up from the crowd as England captain Michael Vaughan won the toss and forced Australia to bowl on a good batting wicket.
While rain is forecast for Friday and Saturday, England openers Marcus Trescothick and Strauss made the most of the warm, sunny conditions.
They looked well on course to steer their team toward a fourth straight first-innings total over 400, racing to 82 runs off 108 balls.
That was before Warne was brought into the attack in the 14th over.
The world's leading wicket-taker stemmed the run flow in his third over when he had Trescothick caught by Matthew Hayden for 43 off 65 balls.
Warne then had Vaughan caught for 11 by Michael Clarke, reaching to his right at midwicket, and trapped Ian Bell leg before wicket for no score.
After the lunch break, Kevin Pietersen was baffled by a Warne delivery that drifted between his pad and bat to be bowled for 14.
Paceman Glenn McGrath, who was declared fit to play on Wednesday having recovered from the elbow injury that kept him out of the fourth test, made a vital breakthrough when he had Flintoff caught by Warne at slip for 72.
Paul Collingwood -- in the England team as a replacement for fast bowler Simon Jones, who has an ankle injury -- was the next man out, lbw to rookie paceman Shaun Tait for seven.
Strauss was the last man out, having hit 17 fours in his 210-ball innings.
Warne bowled two spells, the first of 18 overs and the next of 16. It was the 31st five-wicket haul of his career and ninth against England. His five Thursday gave him 33 wickets for the series.
"It's been a bit of a trademark of the series. England sort of get ahead and then we fight back," Warne said.
"As we've all said over the last couple of weeks, it's been an unbelievable series and today was another good, hard day of test cricket."
McGrath finished with 1-48 off 19 overs, while Tait had 1-61 off 15 overs and Brett Lee no wickets for 68 off 17 overs.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to
Taiwan’s Jason Jung was knocked out of the first round of the French Open in straight sets on Sunday, while Andy Murray said it was going to be “difficult” for the former world No. 1 to reach his level of old after he also fell to a lopsided defeat by fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. Jung fell to a 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Argentina’s Federico Coria in 3 hours, 19 minutes at Roland Garros, despite hitting 55 winners. Jung served for both the first and second sets, then failed to convert two set points at 5-4 in