After a frenetic first day saw 14 wickets fall, the match is just as evenly poised as it was before the start of play yesterday.
Unfortunately for the Aussies the first four batsmen are back in the sheds and when play starts today their fortunes will be in the hands of the relatively inexperienced Steve Smith and Phil Hughes.
Leading into the game talk was of a Trent Bridge pitch that wasn't meant to swing as much as it traditionally has, so the Aussies will be hoping that starts to ring true today. If it has all just been a clever English ruse, the Poms may still have a lead after the first innings.
England still have plenty of confidence, with James Anderson and lumbering giant Steve Finn bowling with plenty of fire and precision. The fact they only need one more wicket to get among the non-recognised batsmen may be buoying the English, but they should beware: the Aussie tail has had plenty of sting in recent series, and it might not be the first time they out-perform the top order.
Brad Haddin has a point to prove in his return to the side as first choice keeper. He did a marvellous job with the gloves on day one, diving in all directions to chase wayward swinging balls, but he'll also be looking to have an impact with the bat. In an ideal world we won't see Haddin at all today as Smith and Hughes bat all day to lay the foundation for a big win, but the way the ball was behaving on day one, it is more than likely we will see him pretty early on in the first session. His one-off appearance during the India series added some much needed steel, but a century will be needed today and he is the perfect man for the job.
Under the lid
Hughes's move down the batting order was one of the great unknowns heading into the series, and seeing as the first trial of the Shane Watson-Chris Rogers opening partnership failed to set the world alight, it becomes his responsibility to make this new-look order work in the first Test. David Warner has been shipped off to Africa to get some match practice and that No.6 spot could be in Darren Lehmann's thinking if he is to make a return to the VB Ashes Tour.
In the medical room
The first day took its toll on both sides. James Pattinson struck a huge blow for the Aussies when he bowled a brute of a delivery that cannoned into Stuart Broad's shoulder and rendered him incapable of bowling. The Pattinson ball struck Broad on the same shoulder he injured diving for his ground in the Champions Trophy final, but the Poms insist the new injury is not in any way related and are still hopeful of him being able to bowl today.
On the Australian side of things, you can probably guess how things are going. If it is not Michael Clarke's back, which it isn't, it can only be one other thing. Are you there yet? Correct! It looks like Watson has a 'lower-leg niggle'. He only completed four overs and his bowling status in the second innings is unclear.
Between the wickets
The Aussies will have their fingers crossed for a clear day to stop the ball swinging like it did yesterday, but unfortunately the forecast is for more of the same, partly cloudy with a top temperature of 22. There are a few cracks in the pitch but these won't cause any problems yet, with the atmospheric conditions set to have the biggest say.
Bye the way
Reason to be cheerful: Australia have never lost a match where Peter Siddle has taken a five-wicket haul in England, with the only other time he achieved the feat coming in the fourth Test at Headingley in 2009, which the Aussies won by an innings and 80 runs.
Reason to be gloomy: Australia has never beaten England in a match where the No.3 and No.4 batsmen have failed to score a run in the same innings.
Today’s play is dedicated to… Matthew Hayden's ankle
In 2001, at Trent Bridge, the English won the toss and were rolled for 185 (Oooh Ahh Glenn McGrath taking five). But the Aussies crumpled and only a late half-century from Adam Gilchrist enabled Australia to take a measly five-run lead.
The stage was set on day two for the locals to take control of the Test with the English batsmen looking menacing at 0-57. But that's when it happened. Marcus Trethcothick's cleanly-hit sweep smacked straight into the ankle of short leg Matthew Hayden and Gilchrist leapt from behind the stumps to collect the catch in his gloves.
That wicket turned the game and sparked a collapse that saw England all out for 162. The Aussies knocked off the winning runs by 4pm on the third day, winning not just the match but also securing the Ashes with an unassailable three Tests to zero lead.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 11 July, 2013 11:41AM AEDT