England Retain The Ashes

England players applaud the few fans that were present after retaining the Ashes
Ryan Harris trapped Alastair Cook LBW in the third over.
Peter Siddle appealed only half-heartedly, but Kevin Pietersen was sent on his way despite calling for the review.
©Action Images / Jason Cairnduff Livepic *3

Australia 527-7d & 172-7d drew with
England 368 & 37-3 (Harris 2-13)
Third Ashes Test, Old Trafford

England retained the Ashes in far from ideal circumstances on the final day at Old Trafford. Just 20.3 overs were possible as the forecast rain arrived shortly after lunch and the match was called off a little after 4.30pm local time.

The draw leaves England 2-0 up with only two matches still to play and is enough for them to retain the famous urn. Following the mauling that they handed down to Australia at Lord’s they would have hoped to have done so in a more emphatic manner, but instead they crept away having been outplayed by the tourists.

Overnight rain meant that play did not start until 11.30 in the morning, with Michael Clarke immediately declaring Australia’s second innings on its overnight 172 for seven to set England a hypothetical 332 to win.

They began badly as Alastair Cook was trapped plumb in front by Ryan Harris in his second over. The England captain opted for the review but he wasn’t to be saved as replays showed the ball crashing into middle-stump.

As is so often when the batsmen have nothing to gain they struggle and today was no exception for England’s top-order. Australia’s bowlers, spurred on by the apparent injustice of a rain-laden forecast in what has been an unusually dry English summer, attacked as they had to if they were to force the win.

They all bowled with accuracy and threat, none more so than Ryan Harris, who had Jonathan Trott caught by Brad Haddin to make it 15 for two.

There was then time for the usual moment of DRS drama, but that hardly warrants a mention anymore, such has been the ineptitude displayed by the umpires in operation the system during this series. On this occasion, however, Kumar Dharmasena probably got it right. Kevin Pietersen was adjudged caught behind by Tony Hill off Peter Siddle but called for the review. Neither HotSpot nor the slow-motion replay showed anything, but there was a definite noise so Dharmasena rightly decided there was insufficient evidence to overturn Hill’s on-field decision. Pietersen stormed off fuming.

That made it 27 for three and then 35 for three at lunch, but only three balls were bowled for the rest of day. The players came out after lunch, but Ian Bell faced just three balls before they walked off again as the rain came down. They would not return.

© Cricket World 2013