Openers Rory Burns and Joe Denly will on Saturday resume the second innings on nine without loss and with their side leading by 78 runs.
Archer’s six for 62 on Friday and three wickets from Curran on his first appearance of the series have helped give the hosts the upper hand, while Chris Woakes took the prize scalp of Steve Smith.
Smith, struggling with flu, was trapped lbw for 80 by Woakes deep into the second evening at The Oval after registering his 10th successive half-century against England.
Remarkably, the 30-year-old’s hefty knock was his lowest score of a prolific series but Australia duly subsided 69 behind on 225 all out to hinder their hopes of a first Ashes victory on enemy territory since 2001.
Tweet of the day
Former England captain Michael Vaughan is engrossed in the ongoing Ashes battle, despite not being particularly impressed by the level of cricket on display.
Australia may be reliant on more wickets from Pat Cummins as they attempt to wrestle control of the final Test. The 26-year-old took three for 84 in the first innings and has 27 for 502 runs overall.
Smith seeking Bairstow revenge?
Australia talisman Smith may have one eye on gaining revenge on Jonny Bairstow after conceding he was stitched up by the England wicketkeeper. With the ball being returned to Archer at the opposite end, Bairstow closed in on the stumps as if preparing for a run-out. Smith, unaware of the location of the ball, was fooled and needlessly dived for safety. “He got me there, didn’t he? Dirtied my clothes,” Smith admitted afterwards. “Bloody thing – faked it!”
Quote of the day
England’s leading wicket-taker Jofra Archer wants to increase the pressure on the opposition after his fine first-innings display.
Denly preparing for more deliveries
England batsman Denly became a father for the second time on Thursday, meaning he missed Friday’s entire morning session. After being at the side of wife Stacy for the arrival of his daughter, he did not fare as well with the deliveries of Josh Hazlewood when he returned to action and can count himself extremely fortunate to remain at the crease. He would have been out for a duck had Marcus Harris not dropped a simple catch and will be looking to regain focus after a whirlwind couple of days.
Testing times for Sir Tim’s wallet
Charity Chance to Shine is set to pocket a minimum £30,000 from this Test. Musical lyricist Sir Tim Rice has pledged money to the good cause, which aims to give children the opportunity to play, learn and develop through cricket, based on milestones reached by England players at The Oval. Archer’s six-wicket haul has contributed half of the current figure and, with three days remaining, there is plenty of opportunity for the total to increase.
According to the Met Office, cricket fans are in for a third successive day of uninterrupted play. Glorious mid-September conditions, including highs of 21 degrees Celsius, are expected. Rain, which blighted the previous Test in London, is extremely unlikely, with the chance of precipitation rated at just five per cent.