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Cricket: Bad light ends thrilling final Ashes Test

2013-08-25 22:06:38

England were denied a probable victory over Australia in the final Test when bad light ensured the match ended in a draw which confirmed the hosts' 3-0 series win

Set a target of 227 by Michael Clarke's ambitious declaration, England needed 21 more from 24 balls with five wickets in hand when play was called to a halt by the umpires at 7.36pm.

The Oval crowd, who had been treated to an incredible final day in which 447 runs were scored and 17 wickets fell, booed in disapproval before gathering to watch England captain Alastair Cook lift the Ashes urn.


Australian captain Michael Clarke consults the umpires

 

562 Ian Bell (Eng) - average 62.44

418 Shane Watson (Aus) - average 41.80

388 Kevin Pietersen (Eng) - average 38.80

381 Michael Clarke (Aus) - average 47.62

367 Chris Rogers (Aus) - average 40.77

England, who have now won three Ashes series in a row for the first time since 1977-1981, celebrated with a lap of honour while fireworks blazed over the Oval pavilion.

Such an absorbing and ultimately controversial conclusion to the series looked unlikely when England began the final day only four wickets down in their first innings.

But the hosts' aggressive approach on Sunday morning and Australia's determination to give themselves a chance of a consolation victory saw Clarke declare his side's second innings on 111-6 at tea and set England a tantalising target in 44 overs.

A partnership of 64 between Cook (34) and Jonathan Trott set England on course before a buccaneering 62 off 55 balls from Kevin Pietersen established the hosts as firm favourites.

After Trott (59) and Pietersen were dismissed in quick succession, Chris Woakes and Ian Bell kept up the pace, but with the light fading rapidly, Australia began to complain.

When Bell was run out by Mitchell Starc for 17, the umpires consulted their light meters, and took the unpopular decision to end the match, denying the full house the finale they desired.

Under International Cricket Council regulations, the umpires were obliged to take the players off once the light had faded to the same level it was when they had stopped play on Thursday evening.

26 Graeme Swann (Eng) - average 29.03

24 Ryan Harris (Aus) - average 19.58

22 Stuart Broad (Eng) - average 27.45

22 James Anderson (Eng) - average 29.59

17 Peter Siddle (Aus) - average 31.58

England captain Cook said: "It would have been nice to finish with a win but the rules and regulations are there for a reason. The umpires have strict guidelines and, if it was day three, we would have gone off.

"This morning our job was to try and make it as difficult as possible to stop Australia from pushing on for a win and to make our chances of victory easier. The crowds have been fantastic for all five Tests and I'm privileged to captain this group of guys. Winning this series is the proudest moment of my life."

Australia skipper Clarke said: "We did our best to set up the game and hopefully we have given the fans something to enjoy. We got outplayed throughout the series and again we couldn't get over the line today.

"England deserve a lot of credit for the way they played. The result says they won 3-0 and it doesn't matter what I think. The last three Tests, we have played a terrific brand of cricket."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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