Result: Match Drawn
Aus 527-7 dec & 172-7 dec v England 368 & 37-3
England retained the Ashes thanks to a Day 5 washout, drawing the Third Investec Test against Australia at the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester.
As the gloom drifted towards Old Trafford this morning, the inevitable result of a draw was all but sealed. You would be chastised for thinking any more optimistically, but up until last night, the rain clouds managed to stay away from Manchester. Australia happened to make great use of their time at the vastly changed ground, but it just wasn’t enough to snatch 10 England wickets in the tiniest of dry windows on the fifth day.
Australian captain Michael Clarke had the most perfect of positions just after Tea on Day 4, leading England by 300+ runs with nearly 4 sessions to bowl. With both Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle bowling superbly in the series so far, and with England’s batsman Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen (who made 113 in the first innings) in scintillating form, the match was set up to be a classic.
Australia had their window of opportunity, and with full guns blazing they managed to capitalise. Harris had Captain Cook trapped LBW and the struggling Jonathon Trott caught down the legside by the energetic Brad Haddin. Then came the controversial moment. Pietersen drove at a full ball from Siddle and after a strong appeal by the Australians he was given out. England’s star batsman was adamant he had not hit the ball, so reviewed. But after a decent time deliberating, Third Umpire R S Madugalle had nothing conclusive to reverse the on-field decision. England were in tatters at 27-3.
Bell and Root steered the ship until the heavens opened, seemingly leaving all the action that hadgone before in the wake of a far higher power – the weather.
So despite Australia dominating this test match, England have retained the Ashes. The post-match celebrations and interviews were predictably muted, having to take shelter indoors from the pelting raindrops. Cook and co. will have a lot to think about in the few days between now and the next test at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground, and will surely address some of the bowling problems they had in Australia’s first innings. As the squad has just been released, the inclusion of both Chris Tremlett and Graham Onions suggests that changes may be made. Tim Bresnan – despite his cricketing usefulness – will most likely be dropped for either player as long as Stuart Broad passes fit for Friday.
Australia will definitely feel hard done by in this match though, and after the lessons of Trent Bridge and Lord’s concerned their cricket skills, the lesson from Old Trafford is far simpler: Don’t trust the English weather!
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