August 27, 2013
England and Australia have drawn the final test of the Ashes series at the Oval, leaving England to complete a 3-0 series win. With more than a day lost to rain, Michael Clarke, Australia’s captain, did his very best to contrive a result by declaring twice in the match and setting England a tempting 227 for victory in a minimum of 44 overs in the fourth innings. England showed positive intent, but, in deteriorating light and with just 21 required, play was abandoned at half past seven. The umpires were in an invidious position; on the one hand England and a vociferous full house crowd were keen for play to continue while Clarke was increasingly in their ears insisting that conditions were unplayable. They chose to follow letter of the law, consult their light meters and, to a chorus of boos, take the players off the field.
Following the fourth day washout, few had expected such an extraordinary last day in which 447 runs were scored for the loss of 17 wickets. In contrast to their earlier efforts, England’s tail wagged before finally being dismissed for 377, conceding 115 runs on first innings. Australia came out to bat in their second innings with all guns blazing and extended their lead by 111 in just 23 overs before the declaration. After tea, England made a good fist of the chase with Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott completing quick-fire half centuries, but all was to no avail as the game finished in anti-climax.
Within half an hour of the finish and with all animosity quickly forgotten, England were presented with the Ashes amid scenes of joyous celebrations. Shane Watson was named man of the match for his first innings century while the two men of the series awards went to Ian Bell (562 runs) and Ryan Harris (24 wickets). Bell also picked up the Compton-Miller medal. Australian keeper Brad Haddin, with 29 victims, set a world test series record.
In the post match interviews, the winning skipper Alastair Cook paid tribute to his team and savoured the special moment of lifting the famous urn. Clarke rued the continuing inability of his side to nail down a victory and, as usual, was full of praise for England. The losing team will have shared a beer with their conquerors after the game and, doubtless, revelries in the England dressing room continued well into the night.
Australia 492 for 9 dec (Watson 176, Smith 138, Anderson 4-95) and 111 for 6 dec (Broad 4-43) drew with England 377 (Root 68, Pietersen 50, Faulkner 4-51) and 206 for 5 (Pietersen 62, Trott 59)
The Scoop 26/08/13