London (AP): England's players seem to be in a hurry to get their hands on the urn.
In the latest batting collapse of a wildly unpredictable Ashes series, Australia reduced England to 107-8 by stumps on the second day of the fifth test to close in on a consolation victory Friday.
Given a first-innings total of 481 to chase after Steven Smith's 143, the English lost captain Alastair Cook (22) to the last ball before tea and then slumped from 46-1 to 92-8 in just 23 overs in the evening session.
Allrounder Mitchell Marsh took 3-18 and Peter Siddle's first bowl of the series returned the paceman figures of 2-18.
England still trailed by 374 runs — with Moeen Ali and Mark Wood both undefeated on 8 — and Australia almost certainly having to decide Saturday whether to enforce the follow-on.
“We have had a very poor day,” England bowler Steven Finn said. “They have showed us how to bowl on this wicket. It's not a 107-8 pitch.”
England has an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the series and is sure to be lifting the little urn at the end of this test.
But the celebrations would be slightly muted if Australia can wrap up a big win.
None of the first four tests reached Day 5, and the fifth match looks like following suit after a day when 15 wickets fell.
“That's the best we've bowled all series,” said Smith, who will take over as captain when incumbent Michael Clarke retires after this series.
“We created pressure, made them earn their runs and got eight wickets, so it speaks for itself.”
Cook (22) fell to a beauty by Nathan Lyon that turned and beat the England opener's outside edge, and Adam Lyth's demise for 19 — a mistimed pull off Siddle's second ball — sparked the collapse.
Siddle bowled Ian Bell for 10 before Joe Root, the scourge of Australia this summer, was given out for 6 when the television umpire overturned a not-out decision for caught behind off Marsh.
Jonny Bairstow (13) and Jos Buttler (1) departed in the space of six balls after poor shots off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson and Lyon, respectively.
Ben Stokes (15) misjudged a pull off Marsh and skied the ball to wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, and the same bowler got an edge off Stuart Broad (0) with Adam Voges taking the catch at second slip.
It could have been even worse for England — Marsh was denied Wood's wicket after video replays showed he had overstepped the mark on delivery.
Smith notched his first test century at The Oval two years ago, the start of a barrage of heavy scoring that took him to No. 1 in the test batting rankings until recently.
He resumed on 78 from Australia's overnight total of 287-3 and had moved to 92 when he slashed at a wide delivery from Finn and edged it to wicketkeeper Buttler.
Smith earned a reprieve, though, as video replays showed that Finn — like Marsh later — had no-balled.
There were more nervy moments for Smith in the 90s before he took a quick single off Ali to post his fourth hundred of 2015 and the second this series. He removed his helmet, kissed it and saluted the crowd.
Voges was trapped lbw by Stokes for 76 to end a 146-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Smith. Mitchell Starc hit 58 off 52 balls in an entertaining cameo.