Rain-ruined 4th Ashes Test ends in a draw, Australia retains the Urn

Australia seized an opportunity for a historic series win in England after the fourth Test Ashes ended in a damp squib. 

The Manchester Test between Australia and England ended in a rain-ruined draw, leaving Australia with a 2-1 lead in the series and retaining the coveted urn. Persistent showers throughout the match severely limited play, frustrating both teams and fans alike. With only 30 overs possible on Saturday and the entire fifth day washed out, the match never had a chance to reach a decisive conclusion.

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Resuming their second innings on the fifth day, Australia found themselves trailing by 61 runs with five wickets remaining. Marnus Labuschagne was the standout performer, displaying remarkable focus despite a vicious blow to the finger from Mark Wood. His gritty determination, coupled with his adroit shot selection, contributed significantly to Australia's dominance in the Test.

However, the weather gods seemed determined to thwart any hopes of a thrilling finish. Heavy overnight rain delayed the start on the final day, and the scheduled inspections were further delayed by persistent showers. Although a start time of 1 pm was announced during an early lunch break, the rain promptly returned, refusing to let up for the rest of the afternoon. As a result, the day's play had to be abandoned without a ball being bowled, and the draw was officially confirmed at 5.24 pm.

The Test match was a tale of missed opportunities and uncooperative weather conditions. Both teams struggled to make the most of the limited overs available, and sluggish over rates further reduced the number of overs played to a mere 269. This unfortunate turn of events meant that neither side could secure a result, resulting in England's first draw in the 17 matches since Ben Stokes took over as captain last year.

Ashes
Photo by Icon Sport

For Australia, however, the draw proved to be a blessing in disguise. Despite being on the back foot in the last two Tests, their series lead ensured they couldn't lose the Ashes this year. Memories of their 2019 tour, where they left Manchester 2-1 up but went on to lose at The Oval, must have fueled their determination to make amends this time around. With a series victory within reach, Australia will now head to The Oval with their sights set on securing a historic win on English soil.

It has been a long wait for Australia since their last Ashes series victory in England back in 2001. Since then, England has managed to maintain their stronghold, defeating Australia in 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2015. The 2019 series ended in a draw, but this time, Australia has the chance to break the jinx and clinch a series win without even needing to win the final Test.

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Ashes series results in England this century

Ashes series in England since 2000Series result
Ashes 2023Australia 2-1 (one Test to go)
Ashes 2019Draw
Ashes 2015England 3-2
Ashes 2013England 3-0
Ashes 2009England 2-1
Ashes 2005England 2-1
Ashes 2001Australia 4-1

The series has been a roller-coaster ride for both teams. Australia's wins in Birmingham and at Lord's set the stage for a strong start, but England displayed immense resilience by securing a crucial victory at Headingley in the third Test. Old Trafford presented England with an opportunity to level the series, but the unpredictable English weather had other plans.

With the fifth and final Test at The Oval looming on the horizon, Australia stands on the precipice of history. A victory in the upcoming match would not only secure the Ashes but also mark their first series triumph in England in over two decades. The pressure is on, and the anticipation is palpable as fans eagerly await the grand finale of this gripping Ashes series.

As the cricketing world holds its breath, one thing is certain: the battle for the urn is far from over. Both teams will be giving it their all at The Oval, and fans can expect a thrilling showdown as Australia aims to rewrite the history books and England seeks to defend their home turf. The stage is set for an epic finale to a memorable Ashes series.

Rohit

Rohit

Rohit is an experienced cricket writer based in India