Australia retained the Ashes 2023 title after rain completely ruled out the fifth day of the fourth test match on Sunday at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester.
Australia were leading the series by 2-1 and the rain prevented the play on the final two days of the Test, which resulted in a draw.
After retaining the Ashes, Australian skipper Pat Cummins said that though the team did not retain it in the most ideal circumstances, they are happy to do so and the result does not change the way they are looking at the final Test.
“Our preference is to come over here and win the Ashes. Not the greatest of circumstances but happy to retain it now.”
“What happened today does not really change how we look at the next game. It has been an amazing group, we all turned up here very motivated. Will be a special week at The Oval. We all turned up here to win the series, retaining the Ashes is nice but we are fully focused on winning it (by winning the final Test),” said Cummins in the post-match presentation.
“Tough one to take” after dominating Australia
England skipper Ben Stokes said that the result is pretty hard to take after dominating the visitors for the majority of the match. He said they want to finish off the series on a high with a win in the final Test.
“It is a tough one to take, you know (the match ending in a draw). The kind of cricket we played on the first three days and being on the wrong side of the weather, it is a tough one. But it is a part of the journey.”
“I think coming into this game, it was a do-or-die game for us. Bowling them out for 320 and scoring 590, we could not do much. We will have a lot of pride to play the next game,” said Stokes in the post-match presentation.
What Happened on ground
On the fourth day, rained had intervened most of the game. The stumps were called when 214-5, taking a lead of 61 runs. Mitchell Marsh 31* and Cameron Green 3* were at the crease at the close of play in the second session after which the game did not resume.
With the opening session washed out because of a shower and a wet outfield, Australia resumed their innings post the lunch break at 113/4.
Looking increasingly assured and confident at the crease, Labuschagne raised his fifty with a couple of tearaway Mark Wood.
Australia added 150 runs in 52.3 overs, with Labuschagne and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh holding the fort for the visitors.
Labuschagne brought up his century in the 63rd over, off Moeen Ali’s bowling. He took 161 balls to achieve his first three-figure mark since December.
After suffering early blows, Australia limped back into contention, riding on the enterprising partnership between Labuschagne and Marsh.
The Aussies reached 200 in the 64th over. England turned to Joe Root’s golden arm to bring an end to the partnership. The former England skipper induced an edge off Labuschagne’s bat, which was pouched safely by Bairstow behind the stumps.
England ended Day 3 on a strong note as Mark Wood dominated the entire final session to take the hosts one step closer to levelling the series on Friday.
The fifth and final match will start on July 27 at the Oval in London.
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