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ENG-AUS test: AUS retain Ashes after rain plays spoilsport

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Manchester: Rain washed away England’s hopes of levelling the series on day five of the fourth Ashes Test as Australia retained their hold on the Ashes. The visitors, who are 2-1 ahead in the series with one Test to go, are the current trophy holders.

England, meanwhile, had high hopes of winning the Test after being in a good position at stumps on day four. Australia were 61 runs behind and England had them five down with a win very much on the cards until rain intervened for a day and a half.

Only 30 overs were bowled on day four, and the weather hampered England’s chances, which looked pretty bright after they dominated three days of the Test.

This Test is the first draw since the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum partnership began for England.

Australia will now head into the final Test at The Oval knowing that a win would give them a historic series triumph in English soil.

Since 2001, Australia have not won an Ashes series in England. England beat them in 2005 in a remarkable Ashes series and repeated the same in 2009, 2013 and 2015. Australia managed to pull off a draw in 2019, the last time they were here for the five-match Test series.

“It’s certainly something I have wanted to tick off my bucket list,” Steve Smith had said before the series started. And now Australia have the chance to make that come true. Unlike in 2019, Australia needn’t even win the final Test to secure a series victory as they are ahead already after wins in Birmingham and at Lord’s in the first two Tests.

England pulled it back with a victory at Headingley in the third Test and appeared to be on course to level the series here at Old Trafford before the rain interrupted their charge.

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