Australia 492-9d (Watson 176) v
England 247-4 (Root 68)
Fifth Ashes Test, The Oval, day four
Rain at The Oval meant that there was no play at all on what should have been the fourth day of the final Ashes Test. The forecast for persistent heavy showers, for once, proved spot on and each time just as hopes were beginning to build about a possible start, the rain began falling again. Heavy overnight rain also did not help and left the ground sodden.
The loss of the entirety of day four, plus half of day two, and the still-flat Oval pitch means that anything other than a draw is now highly unlikely in this match. England do still require a further 46 runs to avoid the follow-on, but that should be achieved quickly tomorrow and the game will peter out into a draw thereafter unless the captains agree to something unusually daring as regards declarations.
England will therefore win the series 3-0 and head to Australia for the defence of the urn with a comprehensive win behind them, but still plenty of questions to answer about both their back-up seam-bowling and occasionally fragile batting. Australia, meanwhile, will be buoyed by the improved form that they have shown in the second half of this series and must surely be confident of a more competitive showing Down Under.
© Cricket World 2013