But first, England provided us with both extremes of their batting. After Cook and Root saw off the first few overs, Root was caught behind off Starc in the final over before tea, although the young Yorkshireman seemed unhappy with the decision - the decision not to refer came back to punish England in a way they could never have expected. In walks the ideal man for a situation like this, Jonathan Trott, who first ball plays an incredibly rash shot across his pads, whilst the Australians appealed for LBW, which wasn't given. However, on appeal Erasmus elects to give Trott out, despite a seeming lack of overwhelming evidence in either direction - the key question being whether Trott had clipped the ball with his bat.
After an interval where all the miserably English fans were serenaded with drumming (right), England resumed after tea with two and a half hour remaining, and dug themselves out of a hole inch-by-inch with steady and careful batting from Cook and new man Pietersen, closing with a nervous lead of 15.
With a third day ahead which could go either way and hugely shape the opening of this series, we are going to have a look at Australia's first-innings lead of 65 and see how well that stands them in good stead.
First Innings Lead
Looking at data from the previous 10 Ashes series, we can see how important having a first-innings lead is, and what that suggest for this match.
The graph below shows the lead or deficit experienced by the sides batting first:
Since today the side batting first, England, finished the first innings with a deficit of 65, we can see that they really have just squeezed within a deficit which is possible to overturn, with two higher deficits leading to victories (70 and 66). In fact, the overwhelming majority of scores where the side batting first were within 70 of their opponents ended in a victory, so England aren't quite out of it yet.
We can also see how important the final innings stand was for Australia - Agar and Hughes took the difference between the two sides from a 98 English lead to a 65 Australian lead. Had England had the 98 lead, the graph shows the match was all-but sealed, with the 2001 exception Australia's only hope to cling on to.
Looking at results after each side has batted shows that with one exception, the only times when all three results seem to happen are when the teams are within 70 runs of each other.
Happily, it is just within this range which we find ourselves going in to day 3, which means there should be plenty of excitement ahead. England will take solace from the fact that their deficit has been overturned before, whilst Australian can look back on a thrilling game which they can have no complaints about.