England v Australia, 3rd Investec Test, Old Trafford, 4th day August 4, 2013

Bad light then rain hits Australia's chances

279

Australia 527 for 7 dec and 172 for 7 (Clarke 30*, Harris 0*) lead England 368 (Pietersen 113, Cook 62, Bell 60, Siddle 4-63, Starc 3-76) by 331 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Australia's captain Michael Clarke was far from alone in fuming as the umpires made the unilateral decision to take the teams off for bad light with the tourists leading by 331 runs on the fourth evening of the Old Trafford Test. To widespread incredulity around the ground and the world, Tony Hill and Marais Erasmus judged conditions to be unsafe for play, maintaining the officials' unedifyingly scene-stealing role in this series.

Clarke's disgust was as clear as the barely concealed relief of his opposite number Alastair Cook, for England need only a draw in Manchester to retain the Ashes. Rain arrived subsequently to end the day, but the umpires' enthusiasm to get the combatants off the ground cost 30 minutes of possible play, a figure that may prove critical should the skies clear enough on the final day to allow a full allotment of overs.

Speaking to the host broadcasters, Hill and Erasmus stated that they had deemed conditions unsafe, even though Australia had been motoring along at close to six runs per over. They also revealed they had asked Cook to bowl spin, a request England's captain understandably refused given the series scenario. Clarke remonstrated at length when asked to depart, but under current ICC regulations had no say in the matter.

No side has chased more than 294 to win in the fourth innings at the ground, but Clarke appeared to be pushing towards a lead of around 350 with more than 30 overs still scheduled to be bowled on the fourth evening. The hosts had reduced Australia's chances of forcing the victory they need to keep the series alive with doughty lower order batting on the fourth morning, but were then conspicuous in their time-wasting tactics in the field.

Matt Prior and Stuart Broad put together a critical stand of 58 that averted the follow-on, before the last man James Anderson aided England's wicketkeeper in another pesky union that pared back the tourists' first innings advantage to 159. From there England played the situation with pragmatism but little imagination, letting their over rate sag and then being happy when Hill and Erasmus made a ruling that left spectators almost as nonplussed as Clarke himself.

A series of cameos by Chris Rogers, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson and Steve Smith had kept Australia's runs ticking over, though a wicket fell every time they threatened to go from a canter to a charge. Watson's absence at the top of the order reflected his lack of batting confidence in the first innings, but also allowed Warner the chance to make a decent contribution to the match after his brief and less than illustrious visit to the middle on the second day.

Rogers appeared fluent again but sacrificed his wicket to an attempted ODI dab towards third man, resulting only in an edge off Broad, well held by Prior. Warner played with good sense after lunch, finding gaps on the offside and behind square leg, though England felt they had him snicking a Broad bouncer behind. A referral was used, but amid scant evidence to overturn the original decision Warner stayed, leading to a petulant reaction by Cook's men.

Eventually Warner would fall, hooking into the hands of his Birmingham Walkabout target Joe Root at deep square leg. Khawaja played neatly until being bowled around his legs by a Swann delivery that drifted and spun, Watson made his usual start before upper cutting to third man, and Smith unfurled a pair of handsome lofted straight drives before falling victim to a run out as Clarke forgot to run the first one hard.

Broad and Prior resumed in the morning with a simple goal - avoid the follow-on and then let a bleak weather forecast conspire with them to thwart Australia. Clarke opened up with a weary-looking Ryan Harris, his usual vim sapped by the previous day. Prior and Broad seemed wise to this and attacked, while at the other end Broad kept Nathan Lyon out.

Runs accrued quickly, to a combination of decent shots and fortunate edges, the vacant third slip region getting particular attention. Australia's lead was quickly diminished, and with a slashing Broad drive off Harris the follow-on was saved. Now sensing his primary task had been achieved, Broad had no qualms about turning on his heels to the pavilion after Lyon procured the thinnest of edges through to Brad Haddin.

Prior continued to attack and was dropped at shortish midwicket by a lunging Smith from Lyon. Graeme Swann did not last long, also walking after doing well to inside edge a searing delivery in Siddle's first over of the morning, but Prior and Anderson then did their best to prolong England's innings and thus reduce the time available for Australia.

This resulted in some curious shot choices and equally odd field settings, the crowd growing restless as Prior farmed the strike and Anderson looked safe enough against the few deliveries he did have to face. Drinks arrived after 67 runs had been added for the loss of two wickets - a ledger most favourable to England.

Prior did not last too much longer, skying Siddle to hand him a deserved fourth wicket. From there Cook's team would take on a decidedly defensive if not outright cynical posture, until Hill and Erasmus joined them in reducing the chances of an outright result.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Edwards_Anderson on August 4, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    It will be interesting to see how things go tomorrow if the rain relents. If the rain does subside and we get almost the whole day's play, is that it will be a highly entertaining draw that will keep the audience interested till the very end. I am hopeful we can force a win. It was good to see the likes of Warner, Khawaja, Watson give their wickets away in the team's interests and i think our lead is enough to declare now.

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    Make no mistake, while Australia hold all the aces in this game, if the weather is going to be even worse tomorrow (as some forecasts are predicting), then this game will be a draw. While Australia have pushed on for the pursuit of quick runs, England have, perhaps not in a way people would imagine it, kept Australia in check, and if Clarke declares overnight, 332 to win the Test Match will be a brave and interesting proposition for England to take a chance with. I think the rain will put Australia's Ashes campaign to bed, but stranger things have happened. Australia can win, England could win, the game could even be tied (though extremely unlikely), but a rain-affected draw is the most likely result. You can't fault England for dragging the game out. Being 2-0 up in a 5-match series makes you favourites for either the win or the draw.

  • thebrotherswaugh on August 4, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    Let's hope the fifth day is not much affected by rain or bad light. Prior Broad did well to avoid the follow on - no surprise there. The OZ bowlers did well on a fairly flat track, but Lyon was disappointing - he bowled OK, but on a surface that suits the spinners, he lacked penetration and was disappointing. OZ played in an aggressive manner in their 2nd dig, which was expected. Clarke has no choice but to declare overnight and give ENG a chance to chase down the 331 runs needed, but I suspect the elements may well dictate the final outcome of this match. As for the run rate, OZ are clicking at over 4 rpo, hardly glacial or slow, especially n a wearing 4th day track - this isn't the same conditions as an ODI or T20 game, this is a pitch that has has already seen well over 300 overs bowled on it, so those types of comments lack perspective, As for the umpires asking Cook o bowl spin - utterly ludicrous and laughable. 2013 and we're still losing play to bad light??

  • jmcilhinney on August 4, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    I think that it's safe to say that the vast majority of England fans would rather have seen the game played to completion without stoppage, even if it meant that England might lose. That said, we all knew this was coming. The forecast has been poor for a while and we're probably lucky not to have lost more time. The forecast was for rain and rain means cloud and that means likely poor light. Clarke was understandably upset but there's no use complaining. If the shoe was on the other foot then I'm sure that Australia would have hustled off the field while Cook was left behind complaining. Australia are still a decent chance but I'd say that the draw is definitely favourite. England are still a slim chance to win but it's hard to see what is obviously a conservative team taking the risk when a draw will serve their purpose.

  • H_Z_O on August 5, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    @whofriggincares Australia weren't hammered, but part of the reason for your first innings lead was inconsistent umpiring on the Agar stumping. Bell was given out in the Champions Trophy in similar circumstances, so consistent umpiring would have seen us take a first innings lead. You may point out the Broad nick but that may not have happened if we'd had a lead going in.

    That said, England should never have been bowled out for 215, and had we taken a first innings lead it would have been the bowlers masking an inept batting job. And that continued into the Lord's Test, let alone this one.

    England's selection hasn't helped matters either. With Compton opening and Root at 6, England seemed to have solved their two problem areas in the batting order, only to undo it all by moving Root (unsuccessfully, for the most part) and bringing Bairstow in. Here at OT, Australia's pace and bounce has been the difference, and when I saw the pitch I wanted Tremlett picked (but I knew they wouldn't).

  • whofriggincares on August 5, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    @mikkk, hammered in the first test? Really? That is precisely the sort of statement that proves a lot of English fans are delusional as to where the Test side is at the moment. You made 215 in the first innings at TB and conceded a first innings deficit forget who made the runs the bowlers are the more pertinent point in that innings, and then were able to bowl us out 14 runs short does that equate to being hammered don't think so. The truth is you have a very talented side that lacks the killer instinct and an unimaginative captain that will cost you more victorys in the future. You should have flogged NZ , you got dominated by the saffers in your own back yard and are far from dominating the Aussies as your talent and age profile suggests you should. As I speak cook trapped in front by a straightening ball AGAIN, imagine if his lack of form continued through to the Australian leg. Nothing worse for a test side to keep getting it's head cut off early.

  • mikkkk on August 5, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    @kzwitunes

    Why "should" Aus have won the first Test? Why "should" Aus be winning the series? This series won't be won in your imaginary world it will be won in the real world where the rest of us live and in that real world England have won the Ashes in only 3 Tests. Wakey wakey lol.

  • on August 5, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    Sivakumar: Agar was also out in single figures before going on to his record breaking partnership, and Trott was given out for a duck when he shouldn't.

  • TheBigBoodha on August 5, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    @mikkkk, nice stirring. Expect more "flukey" late-order innings which create the illusion that these teams are evenly matched. That's what happens when you have only two good bowlers who get tired and your opposition has excellent lower-order batsmen. And perhaps the fact that England won the toss and batted first in the first two test had a hell of a lot to do with what happened - not just when Australia bats first. Oh, and then there are these "dry turners" - the new stadard English track. Perhaps they actually help England a bit to. Or maybe you think it is just a coincidence that these tracks have fallen out of the sky to neutralise Australian fast bowlers and aid Swann? Keep reading those English tabloids. And remember: Dave Warner is evil!

  • H_Z_O on August 5, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    @Greatest_Game on (August 4, 2013, 22:18 GMT)

    I believe in giving credit where credit's due. I do think our batting lineup is second only to yours (the Indians are in transition, but there are some promising younger players coming through) and our bowling probably is too (mostly thanks to Swann). If we're looking purely at pace attacks, I'd say Australia's is stronger than ours.

    @Shaggy076 on (August 5, 2013, 8:00 GMT) Err, mate, there were 7 overs bowled after they went off at tea (lead of 296).

    Allowing for the change of innings, Australia would have had at least 5 overs, and maybe more (factoring in how slowly England bowled those 7 overs). And had they taken an early wicket, then been asked to bowl spin, Clarke may have done for the chance to have England two down overnight.

    Also, declaring on 300 takes the draw out of the equation. If England batted the overs, they'd get the runs. That changes the mindset of England just a bit, maybe some loose shots, bonus wickets.

  • Edwards_Anderson on August 4, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    It will be interesting to see how things go tomorrow if the rain relents. If the rain does subside and we get almost the whole day's play, is that it will be a highly entertaining draw that will keep the audience interested till the very end. I am hopeful we can force a win. It was good to see the likes of Warner, Khawaja, Watson give their wickets away in the team's interests and i think our lead is enough to declare now.

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    Make no mistake, while Australia hold all the aces in this game, if the weather is going to be even worse tomorrow (as some forecasts are predicting), then this game will be a draw. While Australia have pushed on for the pursuit of quick runs, England have, perhaps not in a way people would imagine it, kept Australia in check, and if Clarke declares overnight, 332 to win the Test Match will be a brave and interesting proposition for England to take a chance with. I think the rain will put Australia's Ashes campaign to bed, but stranger things have happened. Australia can win, England could win, the game could even be tied (though extremely unlikely), but a rain-affected draw is the most likely result. You can't fault England for dragging the game out. Being 2-0 up in a 5-match series makes you favourites for either the win or the draw.

  • thebrotherswaugh on August 4, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    Let's hope the fifth day is not much affected by rain or bad light. Prior Broad did well to avoid the follow on - no surprise there. The OZ bowlers did well on a fairly flat track, but Lyon was disappointing - he bowled OK, but on a surface that suits the spinners, he lacked penetration and was disappointing. OZ played in an aggressive manner in their 2nd dig, which was expected. Clarke has no choice but to declare overnight and give ENG a chance to chase down the 331 runs needed, but I suspect the elements may well dictate the final outcome of this match. As for the run rate, OZ are clicking at over 4 rpo, hardly glacial or slow, especially n a wearing 4th day track - this isn't the same conditions as an ODI or T20 game, this is a pitch that has has already seen well over 300 overs bowled on it, so those types of comments lack perspective, As for the umpires asking Cook o bowl spin - utterly ludicrous and laughable. 2013 and we're still losing play to bad light??

  • jmcilhinney on August 4, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    I think that it's safe to say that the vast majority of England fans would rather have seen the game played to completion without stoppage, even if it meant that England might lose. That said, we all knew this was coming. The forecast has been poor for a while and we're probably lucky not to have lost more time. The forecast was for rain and rain means cloud and that means likely poor light. Clarke was understandably upset but there's no use complaining. If the shoe was on the other foot then I'm sure that Australia would have hustled off the field while Cook was left behind complaining. Australia are still a decent chance but I'd say that the draw is definitely favourite. England are still a slim chance to win but it's hard to see what is obviously a conservative team taking the risk when a draw will serve their purpose.

  • H_Z_O on August 5, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    @whofriggincares Australia weren't hammered, but part of the reason for your first innings lead was inconsistent umpiring on the Agar stumping. Bell was given out in the Champions Trophy in similar circumstances, so consistent umpiring would have seen us take a first innings lead. You may point out the Broad nick but that may not have happened if we'd had a lead going in.

    That said, England should never have been bowled out for 215, and had we taken a first innings lead it would have been the bowlers masking an inept batting job. And that continued into the Lord's Test, let alone this one.

    England's selection hasn't helped matters either. With Compton opening and Root at 6, England seemed to have solved their two problem areas in the batting order, only to undo it all by moving Root (unsuccessfully, for the most part) and bringing Bairstow in. Here at OT, Australia's pace and bounce has been the difference, and when I saw the pitch I wanted Tremlett picked (but I knew they wouldn't).

  • whofriggincares on August 5, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    @mikkk, hammered in the first test? Really? That is precisely the sort of statement that proves a lot of English fans are delusional as to where the Test side is at the moment. You made 215 in the first innings at TB and conceded a first innings deficit forget who made the runs the bowlers are the more pertinent point in that innings, and then were able to bowl us out 14 runs short does that equate to being hammered don't think so. The truth is you have a very talented side that lacks the killer instinct and an unimaginative captain that will cost you more victorys in the future. You should have flogged NZ , you got dominated by the saffers in your own back yard and are far from dominating the Aussies as your talent and age profile suggests you should. As I speak cook trapped in front by a straightening ball AGAIN, imagine if his lack of form continued through to the Australian leg. Nothing worse for a test side to keep getting it's head cut off early.

  • mikkkk on August 5, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    @kzwitunes

    Why "should" Aus have won the first Test? Why "should" Aus be winning the series? This series won't be won in your imaginary world it will be won in the real world where the rest of us live and in that real world England have won the Ashes in only 3 Tests. Wakey wakey lol.

  • on August 5, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    Sivakumar: Agar was also out in single figures before going on to his record breaking partnership, and Trott was given out for a duck when he shouldn't.

  • TheBigBoodha on August 5, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    @mikkkk, nice stirring. Expect more "flukey" late-order innings which create the illusion that these teams are evenly matched. That's what happens when you have only two good bowlers who get tired and your opposition has excellent lower-order batsmen. And perhaps the fact that England won the toss and batted first in the first two test had a hell of a lot to do with what happened - not just when Australia bats first. Oh, and then there are these "dry turners" - the new stadard English track. Perhaps they actually help England a bit to. Or maybe you think it is just a coincidence that these tracks have fallen out of the sky to neutralise Australian fast bowlers and aid Swann? Keep reading those English tabloids. And remember: Dave Warner is evil!

  • H_Z_O on August 5, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    @Greatest_Game on (August 4, 2013, 22:18 GMT)

    I believe in giving credit where credit's due. I do think our batting lineup is second only to yours (the Indians are in transition, but there are some promising younger players coming through) and our bowling probably is too (mostly thanks to Swann). If we're looking purely at pace attacks, I'd say Australia's is stronger than ours.

    @Shaggy076 on (August 5, 2013, 8:00 GMT) Err, mate, there were 7 overs bowled after they went off at tea (lead of 296).

    Allowing for the change of innings, Australia would have had at least 5 overs, and maybe more (factoring in how slowly England bowled those 7 overs). And had they taken an early wicket, then been asked to bowl spin, Clarke may have done for the chance to have England two down overnight.

    Also, declaring on 300 takes the draw out of the equation. If England batted the overs, they'd get the runs. That changes the mindset of England just a bit, maybe some loose shots, bonus wickets.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 5, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    Freddy Flintoff was right in the 2005 Ashes - they need to start putting lights on the bails so that the bowlers can see where to bowl to; Finn-knee might stop knocking the stumps down at the non-strikers end; wicket-keeper knows where to stand...

    I mean Bell comes out to bat with lots of yellow reflectors anyway, and Warner's helmet yesterday had fluorescent orange things!

    Oh but wait... lights on the bails might attract too many moths...

  • on August 5, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Actually Broad was out in the first test and Australia should have won the first test Now England will lose this match if not for Bad light So Australia should be leading the series

  • Jaffa79 on August 5, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Hey Jayzuz...you are the biggest conspiracy theorist out there1 Every time you whinge about pitches! All throughout the India series you whined about them (Indian pitches spinning? Never!) but failed you recognise that England BEAT India on those same pitches!! This series too you have complained about the pitches. Stop bleating and just accept your team isn't very good.

  • whatdoyoumeanwashe on August 5, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Can't understand everyone's outrage at the bad light decision. As far as I can remember, no batsman has ever based their decision when offered the light on their own safety. The decision is always taken based on what's best for the batting side at that moment in the game. Imagine Michael Clarke, with the tables turned, hunting for a draw to retain the ashes. Would he have complained about his safety on such a gloomy afternoon? Of course he would! And Alistair Cook would have gladly used spin at both ends. Surely it fairer to have someone impartial make the decision?

  • Dashgar on August 5, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    It'll probably be a draw, England will retain the ashes. That shouldn't matter too much to Australia. The point is we've sent a message here. England have been challenged and instead of rising to it they've battened down the hatches and tried to survive. We know now they're beatable. When we are at our best we're better than them. Just need to consistently reach our best and the urn will be won back in Australia.

  • on August 5, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    England want to draw the match and retain the ashes So bad light , wasting of time etc

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    @KARNAWAT33 on (August 5, 2013, 8:31 GMT) Cook is an exceptionally cautious captain anyway , but I genuinely believe most (if not all sides) would play the same way if in Eng's position. The highest run chase on this pitch , over all the years and decades was less than 300 so I'd say the odds were heavily stacked against any side chasing a score north of 300

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 5, 2013, 8:49 GMT) The Sky commentators - to a man - seemed to indicate that they could have carried on. They did have light metres out there - I saw the reading but forgot what it was. The umpires said that they would have carried on had Cook bowled spin but surely if Clarke/Harris were happy to face pace , they were the ones who were in danger and are grown men capable of making the risk vs reward decisions for themselves. If they were considering safety of the fielding side , then how would bowling spin be less dangerous for the fielders?

  • Surajrises on August 5, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    This is sad. Australia should have won this match and made comeback but the Rain God have another plans. The Aussie dressing room is going to be dejected at the end of the day. Clarke's 187 in vain and more than that the entire team's effort has gone in vain. Feel bad for Australia right now...

  • on August 5, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    If Aus REALLY wanted to win this game they would have declared at 280 lead. It's all very well saying "Ignore the forecast" but that sort of Quixotic or Canutian gesture won't get you very far. Old Trafford seemed to survive against the odds yesterday with the rain just skipping as close as 3 miles South for most of the day. The forecast for is heavy rain and thunder storms all day. Clarke needed to have declared at tea. Hiding their most consistent scorer of quick runs (Watson) their best batsman dropping down the order to number 5 AGAIN (Clarke) and pushing towards a lead of 350 with every likelihood of less than 2 sessions possible. These were not the actions of a captain who wanted to win. As for the snide remarks in the openly anti English drivvel of a report. England had no say in coming off the pitch - and snicko (and hotspot) showed Warner WAS OUT. (So why didn't he walk?). England were right to be "petulant" the umpires were wrong...AGAIN!

  • Jayzuz on August 5, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    @ thebrotherswaugh, who are you kidding? Give England a chance of winning? Even if we have a complete day of sunshine the English would have winning as the last thing on their minds (as it is, it will be lucky if we get an hours play in). You really don't understand the way this team operates, the way it thinks. The entire strategy from even before a ball was bowled was to plan for a draw. Just take a look at the pitch. Just look at the 2.5 runs an over - throughout the entire series. Just take a look at Cook's fields yesterday as soon as Australia stepped in to bat. These guys wouldn't know what taking a risk was if they fell out of a plane with no parachute. Another noble victory for the British... um I mean noble non-loss.

  • mikkkk on August 5, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    @kzwitunes "The light should have been offered to the batsmen"

    Why? Do you not know the rules or do you think the rules should be changed just for the benefit of Aus?

    Aus were lucky to not get hammered in the first Test (a flukey no11 inns made it look more respectable), they got hammered in the second Test. They won the toss on a road and their one and only batsman finally got some runs (doesnt he get two thirds of all their runs?) and they still couldn't prevent England avoiding the follow-on. As predicted by everyone except deluded Aussies, England win the Ashes with two games to spare. Easiest England Ashes we've seen for a generation.

  • whofriggincares on August 5, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Why are England content with a draw? The answer is simple it retains the ashes ,obvious right? Yes but I cant work out for the life of me why they aren't pulling out all the stops to whitewash us while the opportunity is there. I mean look at it realistically, Swann 34 Pieterson 33 Bell ,Trott, Anderson and Prior all 31. All of their elite players are well into their prime and truth is they should be dominating world cricket. They more or less broke even with NZ got spanked by SA in England and played to their age and talent profile with the very impressive win in India. And you can say what you like about this ashes series yes England lead 2-0 but the first test was a flip of a coin, the second test went the way recent form suggested it would and this test has seen the Aussies very much in the ascendancy so all in all fairly even right? I am sure there is a lot of young talent in the English system but the one's currently playing aren't impressing much at this stage.

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    Please publish this time. Nothing of offence to anyone and it is answering a direct question in a courteous manner

    @mysay on (August 5, 2013, 3:04 GMT) Not sure if I have good sense or not , but the problem is that it's the sort of uncertain weather which could have taken a huge amount of time out of the game or a very tiny fraction out of the game. It looks like being the former. Had Clarke declared when 250-280 runs ahead and there was no more weather , then Eng would have had 4+ sessions to get those runs. I know Aus needed the win but they don't want to make it too comfortable for Eng. So for me , the prob Clarke had was not knowing how long he had left in the game. Also had he declared earlier (which he possibly should have done) then Cook and co when batting would have gone off for bad light at the 1st available opportunity.

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    @Puffin on (August 4, 2013, 17:56 GMT) re "Also the reason why they didn't stay at No 1 very long is again clear. Too much reliance on Anderson, the change seam bowlers aren't so good. " You also forget , other team playing with injuries , other team not at full strength , other team bowling with a wet ball , other team batting on a green top (which obviously Eng didn't have to) , other team going through transition and all DRS/Umpiring decisions going Eng's way. Apologies if I've omitted anything

  • on August 5, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    its a bad decision not to declare but today is forecast is likely to be rain.if they want to win some one has to bowl more than imagination,means any bowler should take 7 wickets today according to the condition of the day it might be spinners or fast bowlers

  • on August 5, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    England grounds gets rain whenever england were in position to loose, I was noticing it many times, guess ECB had grounds men as well as Clouds men to pour the rain/ bad light.

  • kzwitunes on August 5, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    The umpires in this ashes have been less than tactful. The light should have been offered to the batsmen. Austrailia would have continued for awhile and then declared. England would have to bat and when offerred the same light would have walked off. No controversy no issues. I believe this ashes is highlighting the poor quality of umpires outside UK and Australia. Something hopefully the ICC has the horse sense to fix.

  • baranasai on August 5, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    writing is on the wall that it is draw-as Aussies have let England off the hook when they failed to bowl them out earlier .England had their share of fortunes by way of technology .It is going to be raining to add further problems to aussies .So it is matter of time before a draw unfolds and I don't anticpate either team winning the game

  • sachin_vvsfan on August 5, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    Don't understand this criticism of Eng looking for a draw. They have a trophy to retain.All modern teams do that in similar situations even SA is no exception. Check that 2011 India tour. It was 1-1 and in third game Steyn and co openly admitted that they have to first ensure they are safe before imposing a target and then safely played for a draw in third test.

  • calcu on August 5, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    England were lucky to win the 1st test and will be lucky to get a draw in this test. Australia are far better than them.

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (August 5, 2013, 4:10 GMT) Agree. My philosophy would be to allow for the weather but not take it as gospel under these circumstances where the weather could affect a small fraction of the remainder of the game or a large fraction - this is what MC's prob was. Some cases you know weather WILL truncate much of the play and these cases should be easier to prepare for but when the weather is more of a MIGHT it must be a mare for a captain. I wouldn't criticise Eng for not backing themselves to push for the win. The odds are against them and a draw means we retain the Ashes , but as said before most (if not all) teams would do the same if they were in Eng's position

    @sreehk -This is exactly why I feel we need to go back to the old way where the batsmen are at least offered the light. Having said that , Clarke could only have batted on or only used Lyon and another slow option as he's know Cook would go off if Aus declared and he (as a batsman) was offered light

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    @Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (August 5, 2013, 0:33 GMT) /JoshFromJamRock on (August 5, 2013, 4:32 GMT) It's so easy on hindsight. If Watson had reviewed KP when he was on 62 then Aus probably would have been able to enforce the follow on. Whatever Clarke declared on , if Eng had just avoided the follow on it would have looked like he declared too soon. Also , Warne intimated that he thought Clarke would not have made Eng follow on which I find hard to believe personally. Had Clarke not made Eng follow on if he had that choice then I'd feel no sympathy for him whatsoever but as it is I think Clarke has done the best he can

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    @Greatest_Game on (August 4, 2013, 22:36 GMT) - Eng had luck in NZ with the ball that hit Prior's stumps hard not knocking the bails off but I'd say they earned that drawn game - helped immeasurably by BM A - Not enforcing the follow on B - Batting on too long I'd say we were more lucky to get the win in the final test vs NZ when , although we outplayed NZ we arrogantly ignored the weather forecast and batted again , and with little urgency when making NZ follow on was the obvious choice. We were lucky NZ were so inept in the 2nd inns and that we got so many overs in

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    Just looked at the BBC weather forecast for Manchester today and hate to say that it looks worse than yesterday's forecast for today. The hourly forecast predicts heavy rain for 10,11,12,1 and 2.00 , then heavy rain mixed with sunshine for 2 and 4.00 , then lightning for 5.00.

  • Guernica on August 5, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Such a shame that weather has spoiled what could have been a great finish. Being forced off for bad light sucks - but the rain came soon after anyway. Sadly it looks like it will rain for most of today. I was hoping for another day of wearing down the Aussie bowlers. England batted for 140 overs in the first innings despite a bad start and Broad and Swann playing today like it was a T20. The Aussie pace attack has certainly shown their value on flatter pitches though. Ryan Harris is one of the best, but it all looks such an effort for him. You do wonder how much his body can stand.

  • willsrustynuts on August 5, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    Bah humbug, the rules were changed and it wasn't to your advantage in this instance so NOW you dont like the rule. PATHETIC.

  • buncers on August 5, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    The BAD LIGHT decision in tests should go back to the batting side as before. It is not something that can be predetermined as in ODI or T20 when you bat second (and is determined by the toss whether you bat or bowl under lights). Whereas with tests it is a matter of pure luck whether the situation arises (why remove this element by regulations).

    In this case it is clear that handing the decision to the batting side would have been in the interest of the paying public and Australia and many England supporter. Why allow ICC regulation to mess this up.

  • Gdesai on August 5, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    Australia have played almost out of their skins in this match and will be pity to see a weather interrupted tame draw! One would have say that the Aussie pacers have out bowled the English counterparts in this match on a pretty flat track. But, the only disappointing thing was Lyon's inability to take wickets on a pretty helpful track unlike Swann and many would have wondered had Agar played in place of him, he could have done a bit better job.. IF the clouds stay away, we could still be in for a fascinating 6-8 hours of Test match cricket and the series still being alive!!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 5, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    @JG2704 (post on August 5, 2013, 8:17 GMT): I wasn't at the game yesterday, but was near-by; pretty close to Manchester let's say. Around the time of the 'hang-up-your-boots-boys' call, it was pretty murky with rain no doubt in the air. But more- or even equally- as dull as previous games, particularly when Old Trafford's got those new moth-attractors in (i.e. floodlights)... I think not. It is the consistency of umpire's calls which is getting on people's nerves; I mean did the umpires even have light meters? 2013 and we still can't use a light meter and decide upon a value that means "no - it's below value X, therefore we can't play". P.S. very gloomy with heavy rain here in Oxford now.

  • cric_J on August 5, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Interesting to see that a lot of people here have taken it for granted that the scorecard for this match is going to read "MATCH DRAWN ". I know that the forecast for today is pretty pathetic. I also know that it predicted heavy and continuous rain from 12 pm for yesterday. But we all know that didn't quite happen.

    And yeah, being an England supporter, I know my team pretty well. They are a very good test team.Not great but pretty good indeed. But they have this knack of self destructing and helping out the opposition to blossom and prosper after putting them in shambles initially. The CT 2013 finals ? Failing to chase 140 against Pak ? Anyone ? They had almost succeeded in doing that here as well ,but for some sensibility prevailing later on.

    Also, despite what the stats may say, I'm usually pretty unsure when Eng bat fourth. So I do believe that Aus could win this even in 2 sessions. It would need horror stuff from us but we may just provide that. Fingers crossed we don't, though.

  • KARNAWAT33 on August 5, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    @ H_Z_O: I'm not here to argue mindlessly about whether the South African team has the best batting line up or not. My point is, England do have a batting order which can chase down 331 in 100+ overs in on the last day and last session of the 4th day (which unfortunately wasn't a very pleasant experience) OR at least survive 100+ overs WITH EASE> And what they're looking for, is a DRAW, so that they can retain the Ashes, no mayte, didn't expect that from Cook's men.

    @Clarke 501: Really? Alright. 1st Test, Broad (I need not say more) - 14 runs. 2nd Test, ENGLAND OUTPLAYED AUSTRALIA. 3rd Test, England are just pushing for a draw cuz they're scared of losing and doubt their ability to bat 100 overs. According to me, it should've been 1-1 heading into this STILL exciting Day 5.

    @ Paul Wilson: Maybe, we have two great batting line ups in Test cricket then.

    @ JG2704: I do agree with the UMPIRES part, but sorry, if that's how a Captain thinks these days, Test cricket is DOOMED.

  • Mr_Chablis on August 5, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    The trouble with bad light is that it is subjective. Given the choice, on the final afternoon, if you are 170-5 chasing 200 to win you would bat on but if the target is 400 you would come off. Either way, it hands an advantage to the batting side. The light is either playable or it isn't and it is this neutral position that the rules are intended to reflect.

    Bad light is always going to be a contentious issue. Perhaps the solution would be to not come off at all for bad light, or at the very least have the minimum light level much darker than at present (e.g. at the England v Pakistan level at Karachi) before coming off.

  • shandy657 on August 5, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Australia would employ the same tactics if the boot were on the other foot. I think England have played negatively throughout the whole match knowing a draw would be good enough; starting with the non-selection of Tremlett. Australia's decision-making throughout has has smacked of panic whereas England's choices have been ultra-conservative and lacking the confidence of a truly great side.

  • on August 5, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    My 2p.. I thought that Clarke was premature in declaring on Day 2. Setting 328 as a follow-on target is too low - only takes one decent innings to get there - so you are going to be batting again. Starc and Haddin were easily flogging a tired attack and had a pretty good chance of getting the total up to 600 and still having a few overs at England.

    As it is, having to bat again means setting a big target so always takes up more time. If England had been 150-4 following on, today would be a lot more interesting even with rain interruptions.

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Out of interest , is there anyone posting on these threads who went to both this day's play and the final day of the final test vs NZ? If so , how did the light compare? It looked no worse here but I know TV can mask poor light. I'd love to hear comms re the light by anyone who attended today?

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (August 4, 2013, 20:09 GMT) I obviously lost track of the rules change but I'd say the old way was a more common sense way of doing it. The umpires said that if Cook had bowled Spin they'd have stayed out there and I'd say the batting side should be allowed to continue , knowing that Cook and the bowlers are able to bowl some chin music at them etc

  • Metro-ant on August 5, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    The only way Michael Clarke would have been able to beat England today is to meet them halfway in the contest by declaring at a score which leaves England the possibility of chasing down. Right now it seems the poms will either try and bat it out or hope for rain and the 5th day hasn't even started let alone gone in to bat yet. Give them a sniff and pounce!

  • JG2704 on August 5, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Just looked at the BBC weather forecast for Manchester today and hate to say that it looks worse than yesterday's forecast for today. The hourly forecast predicts heavy rain for 10,11,12,1 and 2.00 , then heavy rain mixed with sunshine for 2 and 4.00 , then lightning for 5.00.

  • Fourworldcups on August 5, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    One thing that has been bothering me is the assertion from some commentators both here and in the broadcast that if the tables were reversed then Clarke would also be playing slow and going off for the light at every available chance. I disagree with this, in 20 years of watching I have never seen an Australian captain or team mincing off the field or employ these sort of time wasting tactics to push the game to a draw. .

    And if England pull a draw from here and secure themselves against a series loss, it will be against a backdrop of one-sided umpiring (numerous), poor sportsmanship (Broad) and as is typical, time wasting. A thoroughly "English" style victory. You can see from most neutral comments here that the English way of playing is not winning many fans, and doing a disservice to the game. It seems England are content with securing a series in this fashion and hence why history will never regard this as more than a middling team. Uninspiring.

  • on August 5, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha What the crap are you talking about?! Yes Aussie may have dominated most of the game, but your attacks on England are un-called for. Yes of course the batsmen have helmets and protectors but the fielders don't and that is something that would have featured in the umpires mind. As for England not having "honour" for their so called time wasting, correct me if I'm wrong, but your precious Australia was behind the over rate during England's innings. Where is all the honour in Michael Clarke's actions at the end of the day?

  • Shaggy076 on August 5, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    Valavan; I think you had a point to make but can't work out what. No one is saying Cook should have bowled his spinners, Clarke wanted to face Anderson and co so not sure about the point you made there. If the weather is so bad in Manchester then those extra 2 overs we could have bowled for declaring at 300 is barely going to make a difference.

  • vxttemp on August 5, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    @ Valavan: Regarding India retaining spin and bouncy tracks can be viewed differently. Do you want australia and SA conditions everywhere in the world.? It is like asking Tennis to be played only on HC/grass/Clay? What Steve waugh would have left with had India not produced those turning wickets? In this case, I think the decision should be with batsman. Let Cook bowl his fast bowlers, anyway Clarke is okay to continue.

  • VillageBlacksmith on August 5, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    @muzika_tchaikovskogo... Cdnt agree more, it is certainly a biased article... this is test cricket and the ashes are at stake, BOTH teams will use whatever gamesmanship they can... aussie have to chase the game, and already being 2-0 up thru some woeful aussie batting Eng do not have to do absolutely anything, that shd certainly have been mentioned... and for the aussie to still be batting at the end of the day shows clark does not believe his bowlers are really up to it... and then he moans... he's got easliy enough runs for ''the best bowling attack in the world'' , clarke should have declared already and had Eng in..

  • millsy24 on August 5, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    No way should he have declared earlier. Even if he had, would have made no difference anyway as the England players would have been complaining about bad light and wanting to go off. Would have made no difference at all. I do have a major problem with the regularity that the England players are going off the field. All teams do it but none so blatantly. I think it was the last test and someone went off not even 10 minutes after the game started, just ridiculous. Swanny boy goes off without fail just before he is going to bowl. What for? Massage, instructions, whatever, just watch him. Goes off and comes back, waits for the required time and then bowls. Agree totally with Botham. If someone goes off, no substitute should be allowed for 15 minutes and then if there is a genuine injury (which these aren't) then a sub can come on. Maybe even send a 4th umpire in with whatever player goes off to oversee proceedings and then make a ruling on a sub. That would be good.

  • mondotv on August 5, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    Lets not forget that throughout this test England bowlers have regularly left the field after a spell. Against the rules - the umpires do nothing - that's Anderson, Broad, Swann and Bresnan and god knows why KP - the 12th man's been on the field longer than some of the players! 12 overs an hour with Swann operating from one end. That's not just the second innings - first innings as well. And the umpires do nothing. Bouncers regularly going 2 -3 feet over the batsman's head and only about three wided when the rules make the provision to no ball negative bowling. Poor umpiring and poor cricket. The lowest point for an English side since bodyline.

  • on August 5, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    @Ramakrishnan Venkatasubramanian "... Cook is no sporting captain and he is only interested in protecting England's lead to hold on to the ashes...." And your point is ? Cook's job is to win the series and retain the Ashes - Clarke would have done exactly the same if the positions had been reversed. As would Dohni, mcCullum and every other international captain.

  • Valavan on August 5, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    @All, if Clarke is really aggressive captain, he should know about weather in Manchester currently and declared with 300 lead to get a game out of it. @ramakrishnan, why should cook bowl his spinners, everyone bowl to their advantage, why dont india prepare fast pitches to promote sportive competition, why always India cry for turn and bounce. Every Captain want to win, and play to their strengths, if clarke and co wanted to bat they could face anderson and broad. In England test history none chased more than 300 barring 404 by Australia in 1948 and 340 odd by Windies in early 80s. Sportive captain should trust his bowlers and declared with 299 lead to give a target of 300, could see clarke want to play safe first, if possible to bowl out England. In any case if clarke will give a 370 target, england knows how to play out time. cricinfo please publish.

  • DylanBrah on August 5, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    Looks like we will be lucky to get an hour of play on day 5 anyway. Rain saves England!

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on August 5, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    Terribly biased article! Really Mr. Brettig, if the English players' reaction to the Warner decision was petulant, how about the conduct of Clarke when play was called off due to bad light? And it isn't as if the weather was 'conspiring' against the Australians- it was well known that there were rains forecast for Monday. And the comment on the umpires joining the English players was laughable. Even if Clarke had declared at 172-7, the Australians would have had no more than 20 minutes after the change in innings, before the rains came down.

  • TheBigBoodha on August 5, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    What can you say? The nanny state comes to cricket. Surely the batsmen should be allowed to bat on if they wanted. Do they not have helmets and protectors?

    Too bad for AUS. They have made me feel proud as an Aussie, the way they have approached the game with courage and attacking flair, dominating most of the game. Then in the red and white corner we have guys changing their boots, getting physio, having endless chats on the field, so they can NOT do what they are paid to do - play cricket. I can't see how there is any honour in what England have "achieved" in this game.

  • cricket_fan_boy on August 5, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    The bad light is one thing, and i totally agree the aussies would have also accepted the offer to leave the field if they found themselves in englands position. The obviously slow over rates by England were however appalling and also very unsportsmanlike. It is a joke that nothing was said or done about this. Disappointing attitude from Cook.

  • Ankitsuperking on August 5, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    I am very impressed with the aggressive approach of Michael Clarke as a caption. Lets not forget Australia have lost 6 test matches on trout. Most other caption would have been worried about making himself safe, in terms of drawing the test match, before thinking of winning. But the way Aussies approached on 4th day was commendable.

  • milepost on August 5, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    I think there's a fine line between gamesmanship and upholding the spirit of the game. As a spectator poor umpiring and time wasting are two things that really make we want change sports. England are a boring side, they won't ever achieve number 1 nor deserve it. They have found a way to win and I don't begrudge that, it is great from Flower to have them in the shape they are, grinding away at 2 runs an over. Cricket fans don't need England's style of play though.

  • on August 5, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Cook knew pretty well that England, on their own , may not be able to hold on for a draw in this test . Hence , there is no surprise in Cook declining to bring on their spinners . After all , Cook is no sporting captain and he is only interested in protecting England's lead to hold on to the ashes. Umpires have played more than diabolically in this test and this only prooves a point that only the best umpires should do duty in tests , regardless of their nationality .

  • sreehk on August 5, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    Mike Atherton made a sensible point - Umpires Tony hill and Erasmus who are about 60 years in age and were not professional cricketers themselves will definitely find it hard to spot the ball in relatively low light conditions. But is it right to go by their judgement, when prof cricketers aged about 30 were scoring at 5 an over in a test. Unfortunate for Aus but need to recognize the fact that umpires just went by light meter and the call would have been the same even if England were in same position.

    For all the hype around England being top test side, their bowling looks toothless. Watching Stuart Broad and Bresnan bowl may cause eye sore. Aus bowling with Harris, Siddle, Starc, Watson, and 2 spinners is an attack any captain would take, except for Lyon. Had these been the regular seeming wickets of England the results would have been different. England knew this hence India like pitches. Backing Aus to run through England on final day and win if it doesn't rain.

  • on August 5, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    The sad part is that the fielding side gets let off with just the fine or suspension for wasting time.For the batting side, the time they lost by play being held up could cost them the match (and series in this case) . and spare a thought for the 60 pound-paying public.

  • on August 5, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    bad luck for clark!!!!...we need lucky captan lik msd ...we dnt need hw dey wrk nd all..for ex:zimbabwe captan taylor toss s da crusial n pitches he jst won 1/5..luck s all nw cook lets see wat happns last day

  • MoreTestsNoT20 on August 5, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Australia should have declared at 300 lead knowing the series is on the line and weather was coming. However England's tactic to bowl the overs so slow cost Australia. An overrate of 12/hour probably cost around 8-10 overs. If those overs had been bowled Australia would have declared before the bad light at the 350 target and then accepted the offer to bowl spin. Shame England for using the unsporting tactic that was obvious to everyone except the umpires. They should have been warned by the on field umpires and then fined/captain suspended if it continued.

  • on August 5, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    finally Australia could earn people sympathy !!!! this didn't happened for more than two to three decades....a very poor game show by England ...even retaining ashes won't bring any pride for England...Australia won the hearts of true cricket fans !! this actually weighs more than the ashes...umpires are meant for judging two teams and in this series umpires really playing hard for their team's(England) success !!..be it broad's dismissal or khawaja's..and now bad light story...it's really ridiculous !!

  • Mitty2 on August 5, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Ah @greatest_game, great response, hussey was the prime reason we took it up to you, but the inclusions of Quiney and Hastings (just for your info I use their two's names as evidence for why our selection panel is so terrible!) most definitely hindered. SA, as was expected considering their vast superiority, fought back viciously and thrashed us in Perth, but completely restructuring the bowling line up (if only we selected bird and brought in cutting instead of Hastings and MJ) in that test did not help. Not to mention the embarrassing selection of Quiney over an in form Hughes or Doolan (who incidentally scored 160 against you in the warm up)!

    But I guess my overall point is is that with our inexperience, we are far superior at home than away. In the home summer, we had a 3-1 win/loss in the tests, which, ignoring Hussey's influence, still had promising performances from Warner, Cowan, Bird, and Hughes. Despite this, these blokes have all failed away, and that's exactly my point!

  • on August 5, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    If the light is bad then why play in the lights. Use the light until 90 overs or do not use it all. The rule has to be changed. The series is full of controversies with laws of the game. Too many and frequent tweaks of the rule will nullify the spirit of the game.

  • on August 5, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    What was Clarke thinking? The order was for quick runs, yet he didn't run hard or listen to the calls of the partner. He then has the temerity, because he is captain to send the other guy back - at that point, Smith was doing far more for Australia. Smith should just have completed the second run, then given Clarke a helping "hand" down the pitch with his size 11s.

  • 5wombats on August 5, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    @Chris Fitzgerald (August 5, 2013, 2:03 GMT) hilarious comment from you about respecting the opposition. Don't make me laugh. I lived in Aus for most of the 1990's and got well used to the creaming that England got on the field, in the stands at Aus cricket grounds, in the Aussie press and in the bars. Mate - don't take a high-handed stance on respecting the opposition because coming from an Aussie that doesn't stack up. Australia is getting a kicking in this series because they are not the better side, not because they are "unlucky".... If it was just down to luck then we could play Two-up instead of cricket, maybe that would even the odds a bit. Stop whining and enjoy the game.

  • Insult_2_Injury on August 5, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    What's becoming clear through this test series, is that the recent changes to playing conditions and Umpiring aids, etc have not enhanced the game. Enough's been said about the DRS, but the added weight to Umpires has competent umpires showing form unfit for park cricket. The no ball for brushing the stumps is not an enhancement to the game, but another rule to be added to an umpires memory. It also appears umpires are ignoring the front line, believing they only need to ask for a review on a wicket. With all this clutter, the umpires are missing the spirit of the game. The reviews are interminable, added with umpires ignoring Englands go slow tactics in the field robbing the days' cricket of momentum. These back to back, hyped Ashes series had a chance to show how enthralling Test Cricket could be, amidst the negativity for the format and while there have been moments, sadly the spotlight has been on officiating. More overs, less umpiring; more enthralling cricket.

  • on August 5, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    If cricket is a looser then true cricket fans will bash the loosers which are England in my vision at the moment. Its not about supporting England or Australia, but England have a history of playing negatively (Ask Ashley Giles) which might have stemmed from the desparation to achieve something which most of the top 4 cricketing nations have achieved in lesser time than England. Firstly a test championship which can be retained for at least 8-9 months. Secondly a world championship in limited overs cricket. If you are a top ranked test playing nation then play like one. Their fans defending the team by pointing out the similar incidents of the opposing teams are not going to do any good to their cricket. To be champions gentlemen you have to play like ones. PS: i do not support unsporting play by any cricketing nation, be it aussies, india, SA or SL who all i agree have been involved in such incidents as well.

  • JoshFromJamRock on August 5, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    Fact of the matter is that Clarke should have declared with a lead of 270-280 leaving themselves 115 to 125 overs to bowl out England...knowing how most teams approach last day totals when their up in the series, they would be cautious at first for about 20-30 overs then attack if possible but by then the RRR would be above 3 RPO. The moment they lose a wicket they'll defend another 15 overs before thinking its safe to attempt again but then the RPO would be 3.5. After losing 3 wickets (including KP), England would definitely play for the draw and that would take runs out of the equation. And when it comes to declaring when batting first, its either you declare at 450 with the chance to extend the lead in the third innings or make 600 with following on almost guaranteed and having a two nights rest and 6 sessions to bowl out the opposing team. Test match cricket on days 3-5 is like chess, you gotta think real good about all circumstances and their probabilities.

  • on August 5, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    There are lessons from this event (a) Australia should have hastened in early hours of Day-2, (b) England had been left safe by the Umpiring Decisions of the test, (c) England's slow over rate should be punished by adding the un-completed overs as per expected rate by the scoring rate of Australia in the second innings. If these are done, Australia would still win. Over all, ENGLAND RETAIN ASHES THROUGH UMPIRES. Good game of Cricket has been already killed by two premier nations in the game. They cannot complain on anything in the game from now on.

  • jmcilhinney on August 5, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    @JG2704 on (August 4, 2013, 20:14 GMT), couldn't agree more. Cricket is very much a game of percentages and risk:reward ratios so to simply ignore the likelihood rain seems ludicrous. England very much base their game on playing the percentages so for them in particular to ignore a high percentage chance of rain (as I seem to recall they did recently in NZ) seems hypocritical and still foolhardy for any other team too. Obviously you can't base your whole game plan on the weather but given that this game is a must-win for Australia, surely it would be worth the gamble for Clarke to risk a loss to increase the chance of a win if it rains. Some are criticising England for not backing themselves to win the game but what about Australia not backing themselves to score enough runs quickly to win even if the almost inevitable rain comes? Did anyone ever think that this game would finish without some time being lost?

  • on August 5, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    The self-described GREATEST ENGLISH CRICKET TEAM OF ALL TIME doesn't back its chances against a denuded Australian lineup which has been mocked as the worst Australian touring side to ever grace England's shores. For some reason I can't see the Australian team of a decade ago or the current South African side letting any chance of victory slip away. Laughably craven and pathetic. This is why England won't ever be the #1 ranked side again.

  • VivGilchrist on August 5, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    Yes, all England need to do is draw this game. For them to pull of a win it would be reliant on Australia offering up 2 declarations. Ausralia at there peak would attempt to win from any situation, that how they won 16 Tests in a row. This is also why England will never be a great team.

  • vishwa_a on August 5, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    I don't understand this. The umpires' decision to abandon a play is purely based on a digital value (the value shown by a light machine). Is there a subjectivity?

  • Federer14 on August 5, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Coward England I should say, they have never faced a pressure situation in the entire series expect in the present test match, If they had the talent of playing under pressure they had to prove it, which they never will do... Aussie playing really a good third test match. If Aussie had won the first one, then it would have been a different situation all together. Anyways well done to Aussie came back after a worst defeat...

  • on August 5, 2013, 3:16 GMT

    I find it funny how there are all of these England haters poking their heads out of the sand because the boot is now on the other foot. The thing people look past is the fact that England have dominated Australia right up to this point, Australia are backed up against a wall so they try to play it like an ODI match. The fact of the matter is, whether England are being battered by the Ozzy batsmen or not, they still haven't beaten England, and until that happens, nobody can say England aren't anything but a world class outfit.

  • 2020sux on August 5, 2013, 3:08 GMT

    someone should have told the aussies that this was a do or die match - oh wait they knew well someone should have told them that this was almost certainly going to be a rain interrupted match - oh it was forecast that way for a week ahead

    IMHO Aus batted to long knowing the above facts. in a series where the previous highest score was 375 I think aus could have been more aggressive declaring and getting in the field a session sooner. if you score over 400 runs batting 1st you shouldn't lose a test unless you play very poorly or run into a champion performance. if that happens cest la vie. Aus have to win this game ironically by being less aggressive in their 1st inning declaration they may well have to declare at start of play today and give England an outside chance at a run chase

  • on August 5, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    One of the most biased articles I have read for a while.

  • mysay on August 5, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    Can anyone with some good sense tell me as to why Clarke did not declare with a lead around 250, 280??? Is he trying to avoid a 5-0 that he failed to realize anything less than a win was a hog wash. The only way he can salvage some sense of his senseless captaincy thus far is walking in to bowl first thing. I doubt a full days play, and what has Clarke achieved??? It's so damn annoying that you want to pull out a stump and thump pup on the head while at the batting end.

  • SamRoy on August 5, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    On another account this Ashes has been the opposite of 2005 Ashes --- really terrible cricket sometimes by both sides, unwanted off-field controversies, totally useless appealing, terrible umpiring and what not. Hasn't looked like a test series between two of the best teams in the world. A good team playing below potential against a very average team playing below potential --- story of the series. Most forgettable Ashes Series in terms of quality of cricket in a very, very long time (I haven't seen a worser series in more than 20 years).

  • Frank99 on August 5, 2013, 2:28 GMT

    Why did Clark not declare 20 mins before tea? - I thought he wanted to win! - A lead of 270 ought to be enough - there's no way England will go for the runs, why should they? (unless they are looking for a 10-0 whitewash). Of course if England had been batting and it got dark the inept umpire comment of 'Use your spin bowlers' would have made sense.

  • Rohit... on August 5, 2013, 2:17 GMT

    @ Ian Burnett :- Boy, Oh! Boy, Oh! Boy... You did not get a word of what I had said before... I said the request to stop the play... not to take the decision... I Umpires themselves request then to whom do they requests????.... LOL... I hope that You got the thing this time.... Moreover I think it was pretty harsh on Australia... When Clark's men had no problem in facing the fast ball then why would the Umpires themselves instruct Cook to either bowl spin or leave the ground... Clarke would feel that he has no value in the match... Nobody consults him before doing anything...

  • dunger.bob on August 5, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    One last thing. .. there's a big difference of opinion about England's apparent go-slow, safety first tactics.

    Some say it's the way to go and every one else does it so what's the big deal .. Others think it's negative and unattractive cricket, not a good look in their opinion.

    I think it always comes down to the match situation... There are times when it's definitely in your teams best interests to slow things down. A backs to the wall rear-guard action calls for defense and time wasting. No doubt about it, every country has been there and that. .. Other times you are best served by moving the game along as quickly as possible. .. It all depends on the situation.

    Looking at the current context, this is what I see... England have a rare opportunity to whitewash Australia. I'm not sure they've ever done it in a 5 Test series. .. Yet, they seem more interested in not losing than winning. .. I struggle with that. There's a shining path to follow. How could you not try to bury us deep.

  • on August 5, 2013, 2:03 GMT

    Honestly, Old Traffold Will go down as bad luck to us (Ausies). We out batted and bowled the Poms for the entire test - for the first time in three games so give us our due. With some luck the rain will give way tmrw but I still see a draw. I am getting sick of the petty-ness of the British press and the public (I live in the UK). In Aus we respect good players and batsmen/bowlers from other teams who earn respect. In the UK the public hound the opposition and dont respect them at all (espc in the tabloids). It's bad sport and not great at all for the country that invented cricket. Grow up.

  • on August 5, 2013, 1:50 GMT

    Clarke's running between wickets quite dismal re Smith's run out. While Smith nearly ran 3, Clarke should have comfortably managed 2

  • GloryDaysReturn on August 5, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    @big_al_81: Al, when you say "if the boot was on the other foot...", you imply that Australia plays cricket like England does. This has NEVER been the case (at least in the 40 years I've followed these clashes). England have always pushed the boundaries when it comes to the rules and gamesmanship (with the possible exception of sledging:)). Lets see: removing shoes to avoid an extra over; leaving the field after every spell of bowling; calling on physios for imaginary ailments, etc. Need I remind you of Cardiff 2009 physio debacle, the English Super Subs of 2005, or Douglas Jardine? We don't see these issues arise when Australia play South Africa, for instance. The contest is truly between bat, ball and on-field tactics. Certainly, an element of gamesmanship (e.g., Warnie, Botham) is critical to the game, but only when it ADDS to the value of test cricket.

  • dunger.bob on August 5, 2013, 1:38 GMT

    There's been a lot said about Australia's run rate being too slow. I can't fathom that one. 4.5 rpo on a fourth day pitch is not slow. .. The one thing that Australia would have been worried about was collapsing to, say 120 all out. .. That would have gifted the game away. . they had to balance attack with survival and I think they did a goodish job. .. the killer blow was the smith run out. 5 or 6 more overs of him would have meant a declaration before tea. .. not to be though. ..England bowled pretty damn well and Swann was dangerous. Overall, given the field settings, the bowling and the pitch, the Aussies did pretty well.

  • heathrf1974 on August 5, 2013, 1:32 GMT

    The slow down tactics by England that they have used before in previous series, whether it be constant subbing of fielders or bringing on drinks during non-scheduled breaks is really irritating me and the umpires need to stamp down in it quickly. England is a good side but these bending of the rules must be stopped. I'm glad Australia went for it. They need to win the game. But the stop due to bad light needs to be looked at. Over 30 overs lost.

  • GloryDaysReturn on August 5, 2013, 1:22 GMT

    I feel a sense of impending doom, and it has nothing to do with the weather. This series had the hallmarks of becoming a thrilling series, but momentum has been continually stalled by the officials, which is ultimately the fault of the toothless ICC. There are rules for over rates and players leaving the field. There are rules for time wasting and dissent. Yet the umpires allowed these things to occur. Swann, Broad and Anderson were giggling at how easy it was to pervert the 'guidelines', and effectively stifle a fascinating contest. Then, as a final insult, and something reminiscent of junior cricket, the umpires called off play. Even the parochial crowd thought that was too much. Maybe it's time to go get rid of the ICC and return to local rules and local umpires. The rules are agreed upon at the start of the series by both teams, then they stick to them. Finally, reintroduce non-neutral umpires and revert the DRS system back to a curiosity for TV viewers!

  • Barnesy4444 on August 5, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    Player "safety" hey? Clarke looked very "safe" at the crease.

    Australia should have had another 20 overs, 30 mins of play and 10 more overs from England's slow over rate. That's another 70 runs.

  • mansel on August 5, 2013, 1:18 GMT

    How can we consistently have bad light in test matches, when the flood lights on the ground have been switched on?? Does this mean that all ODI/T20's are played in bad light also?

  • Jimmers on August 5, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    All this fuss about light is really over the 30 mins between them going off and the rain starting - next to irrelevant. Either way I thought Clarke would have declared earlier, don't need 350 or 400 - especially with the weather forecast as it is. England will drop anchor anyway, virtually no danger of them going for the win, and if they do try and then get rained off then it's their own tough luck for dragging their heels today. Got a lot of time for Clarke the captain, but think he's got his thinking a bit wrong. In the end weather will probably have the last laugh tomorrow

  • dunger.bob on August 5, 2013, 1:13 GMT

    Light, rain, it's all a part of cricket. .. Besides, this match isn't over yet. There's still time for some nail biting cricket here folks. Here's a scenario. .. Aust. declare o'night, so the target is 331. .. that's a very nice target. .. Gettable, but not easily. .. England, even though they don't need to win the match, still have the prospect of a whitewash in front of them. .. Will they go for it? .. my guess is they'll have a look, see how it goes early. .. If they cruise at 2-3 rpo for a while and don't lose wickets, they may have a crack. If they lose 2 early wickets, they'll pull the shutters down.

    @Anish Chowdhary: "So Aussies finally on the recieving end of tactics which they so unabeshedly used during their dominance of world cricket over the previous decade" .. yeah mate, you got it. Fiddling around, slowing the game down, not wanting to bowl one delivery more than you think you can get away with. .. That's the sort of attitude that wins you 16 consecutive Tests, twice.

  • OneEyedAussie on August 5, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    The decision to send the players off for light turned out to be pretty insignificant - the way the English were stalling there only would have been 5 overs bowled before the rain came anyway. The real worry is the rain forecast for tomorrow. With a full compliment of overs (90 + half hour extra play) I'd rate Australia a good chance to dismiss England. However, it looks like we may be lucky to get 50 overs, which I think England will see off easily.

  • whoster on August 5, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    I have to say this is an extremely one-eyed view of the day's events. So what if England's over rate wasn't brisk, or that they were happy to go off for bad light, or that they played with 'pragmatism but little imagination.' England are the team fighting to save this Test match, and their job in this situation is to make Australia do all the running.

  • abhaya-wijeratne on August 5, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    Mr Clarke where were you when you were about to loose the 3rd odi against Sri Lanka when your umpires called off the match poor ground conditions. You only cry when its against you. please grow up; otherwise you'll continue to loose matches.

  • Whatsgoinoffoutthere on August 5, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    Unsafe? The only issue I can see is that if the light prevented the umpires from seeing the action, they might have stood a greater chance of giving a correct decision!

    However, this incident only goes to underline Australia's questionable first innings declaration. Haddin and Starc were in no trouble and a few more runs would have seen England following on. This match was always going to be affected by the weather and from the start I thought that if they wanted to win Australia would need to bat once and once only, and have it wrapped up a day early at least. Instead, the lack of attention to detail that has become a hallmark of their tour thus far is likely to come back to bite them again.

    The memory of this tour will be the image of Clarke spitting his dummy out at coming off early today. This stoppage will make no difference because sufficient play is very unlikely on Monday. Too little, too late.

  • LoungeChairCritic on August 5, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    England have been playing for a draw since we were 3 for 300 after day 1. Defensive fields on day 2 and batting time in their first innings. Yesterday was an extension of similar tactics. Slow over rates and a million & one field changes. I say fair play to England. Cook is an intelligent captain. Despite the above I did think they took it a bit to far with their second review of a caught behind Michael Clarke flick down leg side. Despite Swann telling Cook and Prior that it hit pad, Cook went for the review to waste a further 5 minutes. Gamesmanship is part and parcel of the modern game. In my opinion it's the ICC's job to make the rules, the umpires job to enforce them and its the players job to push them to the limits.

  • Greatest_Game on August 5, 2013, 0:22 GMT

    @ Mitty2. You made a pretty fair and balanced analysis of your team, but when you wrote "considering how we outplayed SA for much of the home series, we will play much better in the return leg," just remember that you won't have Mike Hussey to torment Eng as he tormented SA. I'm not sure how far Clarke would have got in his 2 giant knocks without Huss' support. And, besides, at the rate Aus are going through batsmen and bowlers, we might yet see the return of Quiney and Hastings, names that I have a feeling do not inspire breathless anticipation in you!

  • sohaibahmad on August 5, 2013, 0:18 GMT

    Seeing Australia play in this Test, makes me feel that 'no fear' style of play is the best for Aussies, instead of 'grind them' style. This has served them well in the past and am sure this is the way forward for them. Also the return series in Australia will be a real challenge for the Poms, and I give Australia a more than even chance of winning back the Ashes down under, or even retaining it.. Still lot to play in the current series.

  • RJHB on August 4, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    Hmmm interesting that England's poor sportsmanship with regard to the ultra time wasting, previous disgraceful lack of walking to clear outs and massive over appealing especially by the ridiculous Prior, doesn't even rate a mention. Of course if it had been carried out by a Ponting led Australia there'd be world wide condemnation and ridicule!

  • Captain_Oblivious on August 4, 2013, 23:46 GMT

    To those criticising Clarke for not declaring, the Poms would have walked straight off the park for bad light. Don't think it makes any difference if he'd declared with a 300 run lead...

  • dmat on August 4, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    Coming off for bad light is the umpires call and that's the end of it. I'm sure Clark was frustrated but too bad. However, what I believe needs to change is this disgraceful time wasting - it's a blight on the game and will cause punters to turn away from test cricket. How to fix it, I'm sure better brains than mine can come up with a solution but perhaps fine the umpires if there is not say 28 overs bowled in a clear session. As controllers of the game, they will actually hurry the captains up if their own money is riding on it. Last night they stood by while Eng pontificated endlessly. I like Botham's idea of not allowing a replacement fielder for the first 15 mins whilst the player is assessed for an injury. Eng have been employing specialist fielders for too long now and abusing the goodwill of other sides by continuing to do so. The twelfth man must be the first replacement fielder and if more fielders are required the use of them should be approved by the opposing capt

  • cricket_ahan on August 4, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    @jmcilhinney. Totally agree with you. Though it's interesting that in this day of TV commentators dissecting the game in its most detailing minutia, that there hasn't been a critical analysis into the specifics of the light rule, and how they have come about. Frustration is natural, especially for someone in Clarke's position, but the rules are the rules, and the umpires are responsible for following them, not setting them. Light has frequently been a problem in countries like England and New Zealand, so there should be no surprises here. I think the cricket watching public though, would be more receptive to the rule if they knew what the meter readings are, and how they have determined a certain light level below which play for batsmen is deemed unfit. Perhaps an article from you Cricinfo?

  • Not_Another_Keybored_Expert on August 4, 2013, 23:27 GMT

    @big_al_81 its nearly impossible to give a completely unbiased opinion,the sky sports commentators are far from being unbiased also but its what you expect because of the passion involved, by the way were are u from? not Australia I bet.

  • garibaldi on August 4, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    Surely the big question is: why on earth didn't Clarke declare sooner? A draw is useless to him: he might as well risk everything for a win. He knew the weather forecast- what he needed was time to bowl England out, and possibly the temptation of an unlikely England win to incite a bit of risk taking. Surely he didn't need a lead of more than 275? He could have had us 50-3 by now with a serious chance of finishing the job. I always thought MC was the kind of captain who took those risks; if this does end in a draw, he must surely regret batting so long today.

  • Shaggy076 on August 4, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    3) The NEUTRAL umpires the world over are the sole deciders on whether the ground is unfit to play or the light is to dark. England had no say in it - like Australia had no say in the game in Australia to the Sri Lankan supporter who seems to bare a grudge against NEUTRAL umpires. 4) Khawaja made a streaky 24 - since when is that piling on the runs. I guess its increased his average in this series so for Khawaja perhaps it is piling on the runs. You got to worry about a batsman future when his greatest supporters are cheering a 24 like he has made a ton.

  • on August 4, 2013, 23:09 GMT

    @Mitty2 Australia showed up for the first test aswell, they just left for the 2nd... Whats encouraging for Australia is that 10 wickets fell in 2.5 sesions... Even though it was partly due to Australai trying to bat quickly its still somethinf for the bowlers to look at... 331 is enough runs clarke time to declare

  • RednWhiteArmy on August 4, 2013, 23:05 GMT

    Fantastic stuff from England, Im enjoying it. Now all the aussies can go and whinge to their friends about how lucky England are to consistently beat australia. hahaha

  • on August 4, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    The time lost to rain will force Clarke to declare. With more rain on the way, he'll have less time to take 10 wickets. So far this series looks like it has been dictated by the umpires and not the players. They seem to hog the media limelight with howlers, bad decisions and DRS issues.

  • Shaggy076 on August 4, 2013, 22:55 GMT

    Came on here to read the comments of educated cricket supporters and left me disappointed. 1) Every team in the world use slow over rates when not on top. Australia have done it - I think its poor form but it is not solely an England thing. Umpires need to take control but to have a go at England doing it when your own team does it is a waste of time. By the way even when England are on top they take for ever to set a field as they captain by committee on the field. To be two overs behind is barely taking advantage of the slow play. 2) What are everyone expecting. Maybe Australia shouldn't have batted at all and tried to bowl them out for under 170. They have tried to score quickly on a 4th day pitch which is hard to do. If they set a total of 300 with 4 sessions and the rain didn't come well they are just handing it to England. If it rains all day tomorrow well no result was ever going to happen anyway.

  • on August 4, 2013, 22:49 GMT

    Hopefully England to rack up a third win this series, on the morrow.

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 22:44 GMT

    @Mitty2 on (August 4, 2013, 21:00 GMT) yeah, it would be hard to argue Australia haven't outplayed us in this Test. That said, I disagree with you that the concern is that it took until the third Test, ideal conditions. winning the toss etc.

    For my money, the concern has to be that Australia played *very* well to dominate this Test match, but England dominated the Lord's Test without playing very well at all. In fact, we were barely above average at Lord's.

    Swann's first innings five-fer was a gift (funny how many English fans were saying Siddle's at Trent Bridge was gifted; nowhere near as much as Swann's), Root got a let-off on 8, and had Siddle not overstepped with Bairstow...

    For my money, there is a gap between the sides, but not as big of one as some are saying. Nor, however, are the sides "evenly matched". Australia *can* match (even beat) England, as we saw in this Test, but they must apply themselves. That's a big lesson they need to take on board for the return series.

  • Greatest_Game on August 4, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    @ gahapanmachan Interesting that you wrote that "Clarke got umpires to abandon the match against SL last summer on 1mm rain when they were about to lose the series. What goes around come around Clarkie."

    I have a similar opinion myself, and considering 6 defeats in a row is quite a lot of "coming around," I wonder how much more "going around" he has to account for? Katich may have an opinion there?

  • Mervo on August 4, 2013, 22:38 GMT

    Pity it looked like a strong position for Australia. They played badly in Test 2, but almost won the first and should have won this one. Could easily have been 2-1 to Australia thus far. Better than most expected.

  • Greatest_Game on August 4, 2013, 22:36 GMT

    @ the_blue_android As a South African, and supporter of neither of the teams as they are our only real opposition, I'm interested that you wrote that "England needs umpires and their blunders to help to win the first two games and now England needs help from weather AND umpires to win the third game!" I think Eng have earned some of their recent successes? It looked to me like England won fair and square at Lords. It was a pretty sound defeat. They did have some luck save them in New Zealand, so there has been an aspect of luck/weather etc aiding them recently, but in India for example they came back and outplayed and out spun Dhoni on his own rank turners. That was not weather or DRS, but better bowling and batting. They really deserved that success, don't you think?

  • on August 4, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    @2MikeGattings Toying with the over-rate and slowing the flow of play is a distinctly English tactic. Not many other teams tend to do it that I've seen, and none to the extent that Cook and Strauss have actively encouraged it.

  • on August 4, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    A frustrating day for the Australians, and a draw looks the most likely outcome of this Test. I suspect Australia will declare overnight, and hope the weather holds, although I understand it's another poor forecast for Monday. As I post, it's raining in the Manchester area.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 4, 2013, 22:25 GMT

    @Mitty2 England fallible? Of course. England have been consistently inconsistent for a good while. The last 4 years it's been win by an innings or lose by an innings. On top and dominate, under pressure and crumble. India had similar failings but have rejuvenated and seem to be on the way up. England are still good, but the signs of decline are becoming increasingly obvious. As for Australia, I am honestly not sure if they have hit rock bottom or if worse is to come. Who will replace Clarke?

  • Greatest_Game on August 4, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    @ H_Z_O. Well done! You sneaked in ahead of me there, & left me nothing to say but that SA's top seven (incl. Duminy) average 50.49. Eng's top seven average 44.77. (I felt it was just not fair play, and not in the spirit of the game, to publish Aus' top seven's average!)

    Of course, I have to say you are pretty good at anticipating my responses! Excellent work. I am quite comfortable to delegate to you all my future posts. (This would please my wife no end!) I have dispatched my cricinfo login password via carrier pigeon. Unfortunately, due to coreolis force it will automatically head east, and take the long way around the world, and as it is rather old and lazy, it will probably stop off as often as possible. However, it should still get to you before Australia win anything!

  • TheBigBoodha on August 4, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    Pathetic, England. Just pathetic.

  • Someguy on August 4, 2013, 22:15 GMT

    The time wasting tactics from England have been disgraceful all series. They really need to get a nice big fine, maybe a suspension for Cook. Teams already struggle to bowl enough overs in a day so blatant time wasting should be punished hard. Like when Broad decided a minute before the lunch/tea break in the first(?) test, after being fine for the last 2 hours, that there was suddenly something wrong with the inner of his shoe, so he had to take his shoe off, pull the insert out... Sorry, I'd fine him at least 10% for that. It's uncalled for and looks very bad for the game. I don't think there is a single person in the world that believes he actually had a problem with his shoe.

  • landl47 on August 4, 2013, 22:13 GMT

    As a cricket fan first and an England supporter second, I have to say this wasn't an acceptable performance from England. There's a sell-out crowd wanting to see cricket, a game in a very interesting stage, and England's response is to bowl at 12.5 overs an hour even though Swann is bowling continuously from one end. It's high time the umpires were instructed to start implementing penalties (there's provision for it in the Laws) when sides try to gain an advantage by blatant time-wasting.

    As for the cricket itself, England didn't seem to have any real plan. A lot of the bowling was too short, meaning that England had few ways of getting wickets, and the field placings were badly thought out. Australia did their best with what they had to work with and scored at a respectable rate.

    I hope we have a full day's play tomorrow. Part of me (OK, not a very big part, I still support England) hopes that Aus wins this test and gives the rest of the series more meaning.

  • 5wombats on August 4, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    What a lot of whingeing from a few Aussis here! I guess it comes back to the 2010 Adelaide Test when rain didn't come soon enough to save Australia. Ow bad luck mates.... Also a lot of nonsense posts on here from a certain country calling England unsporting which, given the use of runners for "injured" batsmen, bellowing at Umpires trying to influence them is laughable. I suspect these posters are still bitter over the fact that they were beaten at home by poor, mediocre, middle-ranking England and this inspire of all the blatant pitch doctoring. Give it up. Meanwhile in the real world this game is heading for a certain draw. England easily drew the 2012 Nagpur test on a pitch much worse than this one against an armada of spin bowlers. Australia only have Lyon. Durham next...

  • sailboatmike on August 4, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    As I predicted at the end of day 2, Clarke conservative captaincy is the major drawback to Australian winning the test, rather than take an attacking role of a team that MUST win to keep the series alive, he withdrew into a frame of mind that they would set it up so the cant lose, seemingly happy to at least draw the game and stop the Aussies test losing streak.

    With bad weather predicted for the afternoon and into the final day Clarke had every opportunity the show he was in the game to win it by making a declaration and forcing England to bat to bat under pressure to save the game.

    A good captain would rather lose the game and take the chance of a remarkable moral boosting win than just bat on and throw away any chance Australia had of winning the Ashes back, with bad weather predicted for most of the final day, it seems that the Australian team may spend alot of time sitting in the dressing rooms waiting for the weather and watching the any chance of winning the ashes dissapear

  • on August 4, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    @Mitty2: "and Clarke's away average of 45 odd is due to his experience" - to be fair a mid-forties record is very respectable in away conditions, and I think that figure is broadly comparable to his Ashes average. I agree with you that we should look for some competent reserves for Anderson and Swann in case of loss of form or fitness, and I would also agree that Shane Watson should be replaced - Australia is a large country and I don't believe there isn't a good batsman there somewhere who can bat better than him. Mitchell Starc is promising but erratic, and I also would give Jackson Bird a go, but to be fair on Starc he has done no worse in this series than, say, Stuart Broad with the ball. What needs most work is the batting and sorting out those sub-200 collapses, as the Australian bowling is pretty good overall.

  • SirViv1973 on August 4, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    @m_ilind, I agree Aus have been on top in this match really since the first morning. However even if the rain wouldn't have come they would still have had plenty to do to win. Aus would have wanted 20 overs at Eng 2nite then the 90 tomorrow. I think we can all see that the pitch is still playing well & although Aus would have been more than capable I would have backed Eng to bat for 110 overs on that surface.

  • T-800 on August 4, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    So..Australia show a much improved performance compared to the last two tests but rain might have the final say here. Good show by Rogers, Clarke and Smith. Other than Clarke and Smith, rest of the Australian batsmen both in the playing 11 and outside(Rogers,Khawaja,Hughes,Cowan,Warner) are vulnerable to spin. Watson can handle spin but he seems to be out of form. I get the feeling if England had managed to squeeze in Monty Panesar into their playing 11, Australia would have had a much harder time

  • Iddo555 on August 4, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    Clarke should be fined for arguing with the umpires at the end of the game. They are there to enforce the rules, not allow Clarke until midnight to get the amount of runs he wants. Whether he is happy with the decision or not, you don't stand in the middle of the ground and argue with the umpires in front of 25,000 people.

    Respect the umpire's decision, whether you like it or not

  • thelapal on August 4, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    I Was in the ground and totally agree with the umpires decision of stopping the play the light was very bad and whether conditions are not good i hope i can catch up the game tomorrow. I Wonder my clarke is disappointed even though they have enough runs on the board that shows he lacks confidence on their bowlers.

  • SirViv1973 on August 4, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    I have had an eye on the forecast over the past few days & in all probability there will be less play tomorrow than we had today, if that's true then this match has already been drawn. I thought if Aus were going to win they probably needed to be in a position to enforce the follow on. Had they been able skittle Eng out early today they would have had a couple of sessions to have made inroads and then perhaps 1 session tomorrow may have been enough. However the suggestion is Aus would have batted again anyway which I find quite baffling. Clarke was wrong to ignore the weather factor, he could have given his side a chance of winning if he would have dec at tea. Aus were 300 ahead at that stage & they would have had 6 or 7 overs from their seamers before the light came in, then in theory atleast could have got another 6 or 7 overs out of Lyon & Smith before the rain, time enough to perhaps get 2 or 3 wickets, then half a day tomorrow might have been enough.

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    @KARNAWAT33 on (August 4, 2013, 18:34 GMT) I think most captains would do similar to Cook if they were in a similar situation. It's up to the umpires to keep the game moving and if Eng are getting away with it , they'll continue to do it

    @Amit Bhatnagar on (August 4, 2013, 18:30 GMT) I agree with you there 100%

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (August 4, 2013, 20:09 GMT) I obviously lost track of the rules change but I'd say the old way was a more common sense way of doing it. The umpires said that if Cook had bowled Spin they'd have stayed out there and I'd say the batting side should be allowed to continue , knowing that Cook and the bowlers are able to bowl some chin music at them etc

  • 2MikeGattings on August 4, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    I think a better title for the summary of the day's play would be "England crawl towards safety" or something like that. In relation to Warner's comments on the over rate: quite apart from the irony of this individual dishing out morality the most likely form of payback, of course, is that England will end up on the receiving end of exactly the same tactics from another team, including Australia.

  • Mitty2 on August 4, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    But i guess to further this, Eng's luck - whether it be in untimely rain, marginal calls going their way, and just downright shockers of broad and Agar decisions - can be down to their experience. They have all but Baristow and Root playing less than ten tests, and all but Bairstow averaging less than 40 in the top 7. Just from the sheer fact that only Clarke averages above 40 (50) you'd have thought that we'd get a thrashing. But once again, Eng's inability to play to their potential and have a collective batting performance is shown, how much of that is due to pressurised bowling I don't know. But it shows they are fallible, and considering if Anderson and Swann to a lesser extent, are faltering (not bowling with pressure/threat constitutes this) you are a deadset certainty to score 500+, there is much hope for a win at home. but I guess this can be turned around by saying if Clarke doesn't fire...

    This test is all but lost, and we are left to rue TB, and maybe that bloody rain.

  • gahapanmachan on August 4, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    Clarke got umpires to abandon the match against SL last summer on 1mm rain when they were about to lose the series. What goes around come around Clarkie. Still want you to get this match.

  • on August 4, 2013, 21:03 GMT

    KARNAWAT33 "A team which is by far, THE BEST batting unit in test cricket in the world" you not see the South African team lately - get your hand of it mate!

  • Mitty2 on August 4, 2013, 21:00 GMT

    Well all this papers over the fact that we've thoroughly outplayed Eng in this test. (Im not too fussed about Eng's time wasting, they've done it before and they'll do it again - and so would we if were in the same position.) But the fact that we had to wait for the third test to show up and wait for ideal conditions in winning the toss and batting first highlights the problems in the team. Eng are far from a great team, and are a good, yet flawed team; and we are a very inconsistent and inexperienced team that plays far better at home than away. Only Hughes has a comparable away record to his home record, and Clarke's away average of 45 odd is due to his experience. in a few years, we will get much better, and considering how we outplayed SA for much of the home series, we will play much better in the return leg. Just have to get the right balance, which means no Watson, no Starc, and Bird and Hghes definite starters. We can say we've been unlucky this series, but credit to Eng.

  • m_ilind on August 4, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    His reaction seems premature. There is no guarantee that Aus could have bowled Eng out in 3.5 sessions, assuming there we had a full session tonight.

  • big_al_81 on August 4, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    'It takes one to know one' my mum used to say and that that's true of Mr Brettig here, I'm afraid. Petulant is what he calls England and yet, not for the first time this series, his article smacks of 'it's just not fair'. As clarke501 points out when Michael Clarke is described as remonstrating and England's entire side as petulant it's pretty clear how one-eyed the report is. No-one likes the way the weather and umpires intervened but if the boot was on the other foot the Aussies would be just as happy. If it's the official report for the day, it behoves any writer to at least attempt an unbiased piece. I've just had to endure Mark Nicholas celebrating Australia's resurgence as it makes things more interesting. Terrific! But that's nothing if not unbiased (to the point of insanity in my view, having grown up with Aussies whitewashes).

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    One thing that genuinely baffles me is how knowledgeable pundits seem (even after all these years of British weather) say they wouldn't take weather into consideration in decision making and if it rains it rains etc.. Holding said so. Warne said he thought Clarke would have batted again had Eng not avoided the follow on.I find it extraordinary that such a proactive captain who needs to WIN the game to have any chance of regaining the Ashes would stack against his chances of winning the game by batting on and then gambling on how much time he'd have to bowl Eng out in. If Eng batted again and somehow forced a result in their favour then you'd have to either lambast Aus or praise Eng , but when you're 2-0 and in a must win situation you surely don't go for the safety first option

  • Black.Mamba on August 4, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    This time 'The Ashes', have definitely been scattered and no longer remain in "The Immortal Urn"! Near Totally Hopeless & Unlucky, vs Under Performing and possibly branded, Cowardly Victors in a morass of controversial DRS decisions and all seeing Televised Errors in this new day and age, has robbed old cricket die-hard aficionados of all that was good (and naughty) of 'The Great Game'! This series is turning into a 'Soap Opera'....R.I.P. I miss Cricket!

  • jmcilhinney on August 4, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    @JG2704 on (August 4, 2013, 19:51 GMT), I'm not saying that I necessarily believe that the current rule is the best option but it is the current rule and has been for some time and there was obviously a reason for it being changed in the first place. This rule has been in place for several years and, as far as I'm aware, noone involved with CA has tried to have it changed so there's no point their complaining about it now. Apparently Clarke was wondering why the umpires made the decision "suddenly". Why does that matter? If they think the light is bad then they think it's bad. What would he have done differently if the discussion had been more protracted? Nothing. Look, I know that Clarke is just frustrated with the situation and I have no doubt that both captains would the same as each other if the situation was reversed but the simple fact is that we all knew what the rules was before today and the rules were followed appropriately.

  • BooniesMo on August 4, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    Lights on = stay on. Easy.

  • on August 4, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    @Richard Bloomfield on (August 4, 2013, 18:55 GMT) "Whilst i'm not sure if I agree with the decision to come off for the light, it's really hard to tell just how bad the light is when watching on TV."

    Actually it's impossible without knowing the aperture setting of the camera lens! The lens constantly adjusts to give the same apparent brightness of the image, sitting at home you have no idea how dark it is. When 'bad light' is being considered the one thing that you can count on is that the image will appear much brighter than reality.

  • timmo2013 on August 4, 2013, 19:53 GMT

    Who cares? We're going to retain the Ashes. Zero else matters.

  • shillingsworth on August 4, 2013, 19:52 GMT

    @KARNAWAT33 - The Ashes will be retained by the team which batted, bowled and fielded better over the course of the series. Clue - that's the side currently with a 2-0 lead. For a team with so much hunger to win and confidence in their ability, Australia seemed oddly reluctant to declare their 2nd innings.

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (August 4, 2013, 17:09 GMT) Personally , I don't see what's wrong with the umpire saying to the batting side something like

    "We've asked Cook if he'd bowl spin from both ends and he wants to continue using pace. I have taken a reading and am offering you the light. If you decide to stay on then the light will not be offered to you until it deteriorates and if you go off we will not come back on until it improves"

    To Clarke and then for consistency offer the light to Cook when Eng bat again (if Clarke won't bowl his slower bowlers) .... Is that not what usually happened in the past?

    As it happens , if we went by yesteryear's common sense umpiring if Clarke had carried on (as he obviously would have) - unless the light improved Cook would have been offered the light had Aus declared and would obviously have accepted so Clarke would have had to have batted on anyway

  • on August 4, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    All this talk about bad light hides the fact that it rained about 30 mins after they went off, even if Australia had carried on batting, the rain would have ended play early anyway. For those complaining about England's timewasting, I remember Pakistan doing it in 2001 v England and the umpires just carried on, West Indies batsman did it v England to save a test a few years ago...EVERY team would do the same in England's position. David Gower on Sky called it "cynical", when he was England captain v Pakistan in 1984, England bowled NINE overs in an hour to stop Pakistan winning.

  • hhillbumper on August 4, 2013, 19:50 GMT

    England have played a strange test and hopefully they will up their game from here.Is this the same team that won at Lords? The other thing is that good teams win or draw when they are not playing well and this is also a sign of a good team.

  • Flemo_Gilly on August 4, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    Australia's lead over England is now 331 so I would expect there would be long odds of us coming back out to bat on the final day, the ashes is alive but just. There's no word yet on whether the umpires will make any attempt to extend play on the final day to make up for the fact almost the entire last session on day four was lost. With cloud cover for the entire day it wasn't easy batting but Warner, Khawaja and Clarke did well to pile on the runs. And as usual the umpires do everything to bring the game down, why did we come off if the batsman were happy to stay on the field, Clarke was right to be angry.

  • on August 4, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    Shameful for cricket because Aussies had good chance.

  • on August 4, 2013, 19:39 GMT

    1) You say "unilateral" as if this was an odd thing. Unilateral decisions by the standing umpires are the ONLY way play is suspended for bad light. Their no longer is any other way of doing it. It's been this way for some years now, your surpise betrays a possible lack of basic test cricket law. 2) The umpires disn't take take sides off for "dangerous conditions" either.

    Forecast for Old Trafford area tomorrow is rain followed by thunder storms followed by showers. I reckon Oz will have between 3 and 4 hours tomorrow (4 is probably being optimistic) That puts England completely out of the game and means Oz will need to take a wickets every 20-30 minutes to stand a chance. They do stand a chance and it will be a good few hours of TV.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on August 4, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    As a neutral fan of the game it appears to me that its the Australian fans who have taken over the whingeing for which they once lampooned the poms. Its a known fact that every test ever played at the Old Trafford has been affected by rain. In any case, there's no guarantee that Australia would have bowled out England even if they had got the full 115-125 overs to bowl at them. For all the rants about luck, I think a side which depends heavily on a single batsman is just not doing enough to get the rub of the green going its way.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 4, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    Clarke is usually pretty aggressive and it was a surprise to me that he batted for so long. He must know that Cook's side would never push for a win when they can retain the Ashes by drawing. Does need runs in the bank because Harris is crocked?

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 4, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    If that is all the rain that falls here it will have created an intersting equation for day 5, one which is better to my mind than if they had not had rain today. Either England could survive the day OR someone could pretend to be Mark Butcher for the day and we could cruise to 330. I would be horrified if we lost it is true and in any case I expect the rain to knock it all on the head.

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    @Richard Bloomfieldon (August 4, 2013, 17:08 GMT) Mariusz Kowalskion (August 4, 2013, 17:23 GMT)/ - I think Clarke was in a tricky position as he would surely think (despite some daft comms saying they can still win) that if Eng were put in they'd come off for bad light and maybe thought that as his team were batting and therefore the ones taking the risks that he's at least have some sort of say but it seems not

  • on August 4, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    I may or may not agree with the umpires. However, ICC's match referees have used the kitchen sink on captains / players from sides other than Australia who have publicly argued with an on field umpire's decision. There was no doubt that Clark was arguing with the umpires - will the match referee remember that Clark has publicly shown dissent against an on-field umpire's decision & protect the dignity of cricket ? We will wait & see.

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    ctd from (August 4, 2013, 18:56 GMT) if I was in Clarke's shoes I'd be livid about not even being given the chance to continue. Surely it is he and Harris who are taking the risks or at least the bigger risks playing in that light. As an England fan , part of me hopes that Australia win this test. While I don't want us to lose , I want us to earn the draw. Also I wonder what the light metre reading was for the final day of the Eng/NZ test when Cook/Flower's blushes were saved after their horrible decision making nearly cost Eng a win. It didn't look any better than it was today on TV.

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    @Jono Makim on (August 4, 2013, 8:50 GMT) (yesterday) It was not so much scoring that amount of runs in a day which came into my equating but the fact that we'd lost so man wickets compared to Aus at that stage in the game. Aus may or may not have had the better of the batting conditions but at close of play Saturday Eng were still adrift of the follow on after losing a similar amount of wickets to what Aus did when they declared

  • Sunil_Batra on August 4, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    Its a fact that test cricket has always been played hard, none more so than the ashes.Either side will use whatever tactics to win or avoid defeat so you can't blame England for slowing things down in the field .I would like to see us win this test on the balance of play, but, if it doesn't happen, I won't blame drs or the rules. I will say this that the umpires should not have ended play 30 minutes earlier as light on the ground was fine. I was happy with the run rate of our batsman today and thought that Warner, Khawaja and Clarke made good contributions to the total. Smith and Watson also perished trying to get quick runs. Expecting more great cricket from both teams tmr.

  • the_blue_android on August 4, 2013, 19:24 GMT

    A clash for a mid-table supremacy. Still England needs umpires and their blunders to help to win the first two games and now England needs help from weather AND umpires to win the third game! Nice!

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    @KARNAWAT33 on (August 4, 2013, 18:34 GMT) "A team which is by far, THE BEST batting unit in test cricket in the world"

    I'll chime in here before Greatest_Game corrects you. Not only are we not "by far" the best batting unit, I'd argue we're not even the best. South Africa, for me, are.

    You say Cook, Trott, Bell, KP and Prior. I'd say Smith, Amla, Kallis, Du Plessis and De Villiers:

    Smith: Average 48.62, 26 hundreds, 4 doubles. Cook: Average 48.62, 25 hundreds, 2 doubles.

    Amla: Average 52.11, 19 hundreds, highest of 311* Trott: Average 48.72, 9 hundreds, highest of 226.

    Kallis: Average 56.10, 44 hundreds, 14 scores of 150+. KP: Average 48.30, 23 hundreds, 10 scores of 150+.

    Du Plessis: Average 69.75, 2 hundreds in 10 innings. Bell: Average 46.58, 19 hundreds in 90 innings.

    Prior: Average 43.24, 7 hundreds, highest of 131*. De Villiers: Average 50.95, 3 hundreds, highest of 169.

    All have a better record than their equivalent. Those De Villiers stats are with the gloves only.

  • jmcilhinney on August 4, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    Whether it's right or wrong, umpires have stopped play under similar conditions many times in the past. To suggest that they should not do so on this occasion because of the situation is ludicrous. I'm not thrilled about play being stopped either but the umpires should absolutely not take the match of series situation into account when making that decision. This is one of those situations where the same rules have existed for some time and noone has said anything and now it suddenly has an impact and suddenly everyone is up in arms. If you believe strongly that the current rules are not appropriate then do something about it but don't complain to the umpires when all they're doing is following the rules that you've accepted up to now. We all know that Australia would happily leave the field if the shoe was on the other foot. I'm not saying that that's wrong, but nor is it wrong for England to do so.

  • on August 4, 2013, 19:13 GMT

    Fascinating piece of critical analysis by Mike Atherton on TV - umpires' decision on light is based on danger to batsmen and fielders. One input is the ability of the square leg umpire to pick up the ball. As Atherton pointed out - how much worse is a 62 year old's eyesight compared with a cricketer in his prime. 30 year old eyes probably have minimal difficulty - certainly a well established batsman, but even fielders usually (with the Lahore?/Karachi? example excepted) can manage to play without danger. OK the subsequent rain made the decision moot - an dcerainly if Clarke had declared, England wouldn't have had to bat. It really seems as if the umpires, however, are out of touch. With the majority of the elite panel being English / Australian, I know there isn't the depth elsewhere, but the umpiring standard has been poor this series

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    @Richard Bloomfieldon (August 4, 2013, 17:08 GMT) Mariusz Kowalskion (August 4, 2013, 17:23 GMT)/ - I think Clarke was in a tricky position as he would surely think (despite some daft comms saying they can still win) that if Eng were put in they'd come off for bad light and maybe thought that as his team were batting and therefore the ones taking the risks that he's at least have some sort of say but it seems not

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    ctd if I was in Clarke's shoes I'd be livid about not even being given the chance to continue. Surely it is he and Harris who are taking the risks or at least the bigger risks playing in that light. As an England fan , part of me hopes that Australia win this test. While I don't want us to lose , I want us to earn the draw. Also I wonder what the light metre reading was for the final day of the Eng/NZ test when Cook/Flower's blushes were saved after their horrible decision making nearly cost Eng a win. It didn't look any better than it was today on TV.

  • DeckChairand6pack on August 4, 2013, 19:11 GMT

    Average captaincy from Clarke today. He should have opened with Siddle, instead persisted with Harris. And they've batted about 40 minutes too long being much too conservative. A 290 run lead would have been risky, but would have also increased the possibility of an Australian win. All Clarke has done by batting longer is increase the chance of a draw. @ Great_game I remember that wonderful knock from Hash and you're right, very poor sportsmanship from Clarke that day. They got their just desserts in the end.

  • Mary_786 on August 4, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    We batted fairly quickly too, almost at five an over and the likes of Watson, Khawja and Warner did well in scoring and gave their wickets away in search of quick runs, but I still think we could have declared earlier. Sometimes it does become difficult to declare with a lead of as less as 280. Two factors in Pup's decision's favour are the fact that it's never easy to second-guess the weather and secondly more runs on the board also allows the captain to set more attacking fields without worrying about runs. Thirdly, it can bring about a defensive mindset in the opposition batting, knowing they can never chase down that much. Umpires once again let us down in coming off 30 minutes earlier then needed.

  • on August 4, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    warner maddinson silk Clarke smith Watson haddin siddle harris cummins zampa.

  • maddy20 on August 4, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    Can't believe that there are English fans who believe their team can win. When was the last time England scored close to 4 an over especially on the last day of a test match? Only two possible results from here. Aus win or a drawn game. Period!

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    England have been messed up by the rules enough that it's about time we used them to our advantage.

  • dabhand on August 4, 2013, 18:58 GMT

    @strikeforce 2003 - no it isn't up to the batsmen - the laws of the game are that it is solely the decision of the umpires and BTW these umpires are from the southern hemisphere.

    @rahul patel - boring old tune - get another one

    To all the whingers about slow over rates - I agree it shouldn't happen but until the ICC and umpires get strong about it, it will, so as someone else said - get over it.

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    Not sure if it's the umpires or if it's the umpires following new rules but this sort of thing infuriates me (and it seems many others). It seems that common sense and spectator consideration are low down on the agenda. Did I dream that someone from Sky said the umpires instructions were to keep the sides on the field wherever possible.

    So what's wrong with doing this (if there is borderline light)

    1-Ask the fielding captain to bowl slower/spin bowlers or the light will be offered to the batsmen 2- If this is rejected , take a LM reading and then offer the batsmen the light 3 - If the batsmen come off , they don't go back on til the light improves and if they stay on then the light isn't offered again until the light worsens Then keep the light metre reading and if (when the fielding side bats) go through the exact same process if/when the light reaches the same level

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    Whilst i'm not sure if I agree with the decision to come off for the light, it's really hard to tell just how bad the light is when watching on TV. I completely agree with making the desicion one for the umpires alone, as it takes tactics out of the equation, and personally I feel a fielder in the deep going for a high catch is in no less danger (possibly more) than a batsman in protective gear when the light is poor.

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    @thebrotherswaugh on (August 4, 2013, 18:03 GMT) yeah, huge first session (if, of course, Clarke declares overnight, which you'd have to think he will). If England can get through it unscathed, or just one down, they'll be happy, a couple of early ones, though, and England will feel the pressure, regardless of the conditions and a draw being enough.

    I disagree with you about Lyon a bit, I thought he bowled pretty well, but England's assault on him when Bell and Pietersen were there meant he didn't really get those long spells spinners usually thrive on. It'll be interesting to see if England try to do that again now, because knocking him out of the attack would make life harder for Clarke. Ideally, he'll want Lyon wheeling away all day at one end and rotate quicks from the other.

    The forecast, I believe, is for the rain to affect the first two sessions. England need to turn up to the ground ready to bat all day, Australia need to bowl like they have time, don't go too hard too early.

  • Pyketts on August 4, 2013, 18:50 GMT

    @ Puffin keep up this is the 3rd test, they are retaining the Ashes as they have outclassed a poor Aus side in the previous 2 tests and will do so in the next 2.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 4, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    In this test, with both teams evenly matched on a flat deck, the Ashes are so close England can almost touch them. Watching Watson and Clarke bat together is ever so funny, they clearly hate each other. England could win this tomorrow, hopefully the weather won't get in the way.

  • Greatest_Game on August 4, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    @ milepost wrote "All this shoelace tying and playing for a draw is a bit naff." I agree, mate. If playing for the draw is the last option, what is sporting is to FAF - to PLAY relentlessly strong cricket. Calling the physios & shoelace tying & drawn-out field setting is very naff.

    At Perth last year, in over 38 of SA's 2nd inngs, Clarke changed his field settings endlessly, just to prevent another over from being bowled that day & ensure Amla was stranded on 99, unable to complete a century in a single session. In the last over of DAY 2, Clarke's "naffing around" was no win/draw strategy: Aus had 3 MORE DAYS to lose by 309 runs. He was simply depriving Amla of a rare record. I doubt anyone would claim any sporting intent in his actions. No commentator did!

    Clarke's measure of good faith as a sportsman ran out some time ago. "As ye sow, so shall ye reap," it is said. With his record, fuming about a 'bad light' decision is laughable. Your seeds, your bitter harvest, Captain Clarke!

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    2-0 down in the series it's Australia that need to force things - not England. Three draws suit England admirably.

  • KARNAWAT33 on August 4, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    I am very disappointed at the way Cook's men approached the situation. Being a cricket lover, who believes Tests are the best form of the game, it wasn't pleasing to see the way England approached the game. I mean seriously, how scared can you be? A team which is by far, THE BEST batting unit in test cricket in the world consisting of batsmen like Cook, Trott, KP, Bell, some young talent, Matt Prior and a long tail is not ready to up the ante and go for a win, or aren't confident of surviving 100 overs, that's how sure they are of their capability? With all due respect to England, I think deep inside Australia are more confident of their abilities and play with more flare, determination and hunger to WIN. I now really feel the ASHES will be retained by the team, which used the DRS more professionally and who put Time Wasting Tactics to the best possible use. Maybe, this is an example why the crowds don't enjoy Tests, because some teams, despite being GREAT, display they're SCARED.

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    Okay so we have 10 year old kids playing out there for the countries. At least that is what the ICC regulations seem to suggest which give umpires the right to decide as to whether conditions are dangerous to play! If batsmen who have to face the bowling (whether spinners or fast bowlers), want to continue in the middle, why should the umpires be stopping play on the grounds that light is too dim and is making batting a life-threatening proposition?!

    If I remember correctly, in 2002, at one of the English grounds, Indian batsmen were given the option (the option, I repeat) to return to the pavilion for poor light. Ganguly did not take the option, and hammered home the advantage which led India to win the test match.

    Those were better regulations. ICC needs to rethink on a few things!

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    I think that aussies are having poor time. they have good players...a nice captain...and coach too. but might be they are not showing par amount of braveness so that fortune could favors them. sad if this match will end in a draw.

  • vsuria on August 4, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    Hope Australia win, England are an injustice to the game.

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    I didn't like English tactics of slowing down the game. Its just unfair. Its not something new though. I've seen most sides including Australia do it in the past. But I'm really confused with Australia's tactics too. I thought they would be a lot more aggressive with the bat and also more aggressive with the declaration. If Australia wanted England to chase 350 from 3.5 sessions that's not brave at all, quite conservative actually. Leaving England with 280-300 would have been brave and yet England might not have gone for that. England know they are not destroyers, and they don't pretend to be. They won't chase this total. If Australia can bowl them out tomorrow then they deserve the win, but if its a draw they can't complain either. They didn't attack enough. England don't deserve the win and they won't win. But they might get away with a draw because Australia failed to take the initiative.

  • mikkkk on August 4, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    @LesB4 There are flood lights but we dont yet have floodlit Test cricket

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    eng is no better than an ordinary team which proved today. i repeat my prediction before the start of the series that south african player will be a difference in the series which proved correct as of now

  • Mohd_Akram_z on August 4, 2013, 18:21 GMT

    Clarke needed to declare at a lead of about 280-300 to have a chance of keeping the series alive. Ashes would most likely be retained by England now.

  • hycIass on August 4, 2013, 18:21 GMT

    I think we have enough lead to declare, Warner, Khawaja and Clarke did enough with the bat to set us up but looking at the weather radar we have our work cut out today, shame that the weather is deciding the fate of the match.

  • PACERONE on August 4, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    With all the bias complains from each sides supporters, I say lets go back to timeless tests.Then either team can practise their delaying tactics.The umpires can ignore the slow over rates the continuous leaving of the playing field by players etc.Maybe go back to uncovered pitches.The players wear enough protection and some think that they are superior to past players.Change the one bouncer per over and let's play cricket.Cook was given the option to leave the field,,Clarke was not.Cook should not of been asked anything.With all the talk about integrity in the game,it just seems to get worse.Good to see England players walking before the umpires decision.Most likely not the Australian way. Too bad a good game has so much controversy.Lets hope for good weather tomorrow.

  • AndyMick on August 4, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    Amazing, that's what all these comments are, amazing. The rules around the world are th same (except for India as they REFUSE TO USE DRS). The umpires decide whether its safe to play, all captains time waste if it suits their team and country, learn to live with it!!!!!! I do seem to recall a test tach in the West Indies in the early 90's where WI were going to lose AGAINST Engand, and WI managed to get the over rate down to 8 overs per hour, they got the draw!!!!!!! As I said earlier, learn to live with it guys.

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:13 GMT

    Clark messed this up when he declared at 527/7 rather than playing on to set England a real challenge to avoid the follow on!

  • shillingsworth on August 4, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    The article describes England as 'petulant' whilst Australia's captain merely 'remonstrated at length'. I don't see the difference - both teams were equally in the wrong and their reactions were equally 'petulant'.

    As for the time wasting, I didn't see Australia rushing through their overs in England's 2nd innings at Lord's. What were England supposed to do? Give Australia the chance to bat them out of the game and still leave enough time be bowled out themselves? Any team in England's position would have done the same.

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    I propose a Sixth day in test cricket, if the Test is heading for a draw!

  • thebrotherswaugh on August 4, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    @Karl Jenaway - They are just doing what every other team in test cricket would be doing in their shoes. Name one captain who wouldn't be doing everything in his power to slow down the game and take advantage of conditions when all you need is a draw to retain the trophy. NONE is the correct answer. As for it being a draw, that certainly looks the most likely outcome. However, if OZ can skittle a few early wickets, that builds pressure, and combined with a day 5 pitch, anything can happen, even to a team of high-class batsmen (on the whole). Then again, if KP and Prior turned it on, anything could happen and ENG could make the highest ever run chase for this venue at test level (but still very unlikely). This is why I love test cricket so much. I am also very pleased by the level of fight displayed by the OZ team in this test, batsmen & bowlers, who have bounced back from utter humiliation to do us proud (regardless of the final outcome)!

  • on August 4, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    poor cricket by england they were surely wasting time(joe root giving autographs in middle of play)nd so this match will be a draw no need to blame anyone except england

  • Puffin on August 4, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    It's unfortunate to see England retaining the Ashes due to bad light and rain rather than great cricket. Also the reason why they didn't stay at No 1 very long is again clear. Too much reliance on Anderson, the change seam bowlers aren't so good.

  • on August 4, 2013, 17:55 GMT

    Got to admit, i find it quite funny that some of the Aussies have very selective memories when it comes to umpire mistakes. Yes, there have been lots of mistakes made this series, but the idea that they've all gone is Englands favour is rediculous, though I would say the Aussies may have had the worst of it over the 3 matches, but only VERY slighty.

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    Really think Clarke batted on too long, especially after that short rain shower just before the tea break. They had a lead of 296 at that time. While that was gettable by England, it would have required us playing some shots to do so, and that brings wickets. If England do just block then it won't matter how many runs you have, but the tempter can be a great way to put pressure on. England barely scraped to 368 as it was, on a third/fourth day pitch, what would they have done on day 5?

    People talk about the fast run rate Australia went at, but when England were slow with their over rate, you can't just look at your own run rate. You can't even look at the remaining number of overs because you can't control the other side's over rate. All you can look at is time. Even without rain forecast you'd normally want a solid 4 sessions to bowl a side out, especially on a flat-ish wicket.

    Not saying Australia can't win from here (England certainly can't) but Clarke's made the draw more likely.

  • LesB4 on August 4, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    Last time I walked past OT they had lights for cricket? Did they not pay the bills?

  • on August 4, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    Why are the Aussies so upset they should have declared earlier.

  • on August 4, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    Bad performance of Aussie forced Michael Clark to jump out of his usual and normal behavior. Current test match already has earned dissatisfaction of Aussie over umpires but I think this would hardly serve the purpose for Michael Clark.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 4, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    @Krishna Kumar. S, If Clarke does bowl what about his back, if he pulls that again hes unlikely to play in next weeks test which will be a big blow for Aus as hes there best player.

  • mikkkk on August 4, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    I don't think England were ever in any real danger of losing this, even without the weather. I thought Clarke was supposed to be a dynamic captain. He needed to set England a gettable target but he just looked like Strauss the way he batted on.

  • on August 4, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    its bad time running for Aussies.....the test ends with draw heading England a lead of 2-0.

  • liz1558 on August 4, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    Umpires are not to blame for Australia's plight. AB, Glenn McGrath, Chappelli have all rounded on this squad as being the worst to play for Australia. They've had a good Test because their one outstanding batsman played well. With heavy rain forecast until at least 2pm tomorrow and showers for the rest of the day, this is game over.

  • on August 4, 2013, 17:30 GMT

    what time wasting tactics used by English bowlers. only team in it for the win is Australia. England are playing spoil sport for neutral fans. If English side collapsed on day 5 then it will be good for the game and justice will be served.

  • Jonathan_E on August 4, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    Fact is, if it's a cloudlessly sunny day tomorrow, England could still potentially WIN this test. It would not be completely likely, but also not totally outside the realms of possibility.

    If Clarke does not declare overnight, then it's a draw, plain and simple, no arguments.

  • GeoffreysMother on August 4, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    Half a session lost in 14 days of cricket in England. Can't but think there is a bit of desperate whinging going on here.

  • on August 4, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    @pushkar Dixit... care to explain what you mean ?

  • mikkkk on August 4, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    Lots of the usual inane waffle from aussies but what it all boils down to is England win the Ashes with two games to spare.

  • on August 4, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Clarke should have declared much earlier. Everyone knew rain was forecast for last two days and England only needed a draw so why bat for so long? When the 5th wicket fell it should have been enough and who knows what would have happened? England may have been a couple down in fading light. I'll even go further and say that Oz batted too long and too conservatively in first innings when the pitch was a road. Should have declared earlier then after going for a slog. Light and weather are just a red herring. Clarke is to blame for his selfish desire to get a double ton in the first innings and for his conservative target setting in the second, probably to boost his average there too. Note also how the Aussies are now quiet about DRS as England have been ripped off a few wickets.

  • martin000 on August 4, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    @Cpt Meanster, Well said mate... Lolz!! This england team is the boring team to play in world cricket now... Even the opponent players used to yawn seeing them play!!

  • on August 4, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    I do not for a moment believe the English supporters should dance yet. Rain may play the match into Lyon's hands and if Clarke decides to tweak those fingers of his as he had pulled a couple of miraculous five fers in the past. provided rain stays away and an Aussie declaration happens even as teeth are being brushed.This match has been made a game of thanks to Clarke and it would be poetic and divine justice were it to end happily ever after thanks to his all round efforts

  • on August 4, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    @Rohit.... I think you ought to get up to date with the laws - it's the umpires who have the say on bad light not the batsmen and thats been the case for a few years now. So yes it was a "unilateral" (Brettigg's comment) decision made by NEUTRAL umpires taking into consideration the problems met by both the batting AND the fielding side.

  • on August 4, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Must agree with Richard

  • on August 4, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    @ Cpt.Meanster: As an atheist, I won't be thanking the rain gods. However, if this does end up as a draw, I'll gladly thank Clarke for not having the guts to declare earlier and go for the win knowing that weather was going to be a factor.

  • Denno911 on August 4, 2013, 17:04 GMT

    I see people posting in response to the claims of "poor over rates" by the English team.. Sorry to say they are not claims the proof is in the "YorkshirePudding" fact is they had 38 overs to bowl in the final session and they managed to bowl 22 overs in 2 hours of play leading up to the "Bad light" and on top of all that Swan was at one end for all of that time. Well played Cook - you retain the ashes due to a well waited bad light call -

  • Dharm_Guru on August 4, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    A stroke of luck for England. Rain comes to their rescue. There's no way they could have chased down that total in 4th innings, especially when they are famous for giving-in under pressure. Even this match ends in a draw, it is a moral victory for Australia.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 4, 2013, 16:58 GMT

    England's prospects improving by the session. I would be extremely surprised if England make even a token effort to chase 332, especially with the prospect of losing further time from the game. All that is required to take the Ashes is to bat 90 overs. But they will have to do it without Monty.

  • on August 4, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    that's sounds like a perfect argument, why English (home side) gets supported all the time.. it has to be fair enough to every team

  • on August 4, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    Can't help but feel Clarke has messed up here, I said yesterday it was going to come down to wether he was brave enough to declare earlier than he would have liked inorder to have enough time to bowl England out. To my mind he's bottled it, he should have declared around 250-260 ahead, yes it would have given England a chance in the match, but surely since a draw is as good as a loss from their point of view the Aussies should have gone for it. As it is, I may be proved wrong tomorrow if England bat very poorly, time will tell.

  • on August 4, 2013, 16:50 GMT

    @ vijaym644........we don't have floodlit tests yet. If the the floodlights are taking over from the ambient light then it's umpires call. Consider why a white ball is used in day/night matches - a red ball under floodlights would be very unfair to the fielding side so yes - they do fear the fielders being hit. It's both sides nowadays that are considered.

  • Fluffykins on August 4, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    By batting on Clarke has played into England's hands,bet they cant believe they are they are still in the field as its only taking time out the game. Clarke needs to remember that England only need to draw this match to retain the Ashes,they can worry about wining them in games 4 or 5. Going off for light is always going to favour one side more than the other it's not controversy,it is what it is.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 4, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    The English team and their supporters can now gladly thank the rain gods for saving them in this test match. Australia can still bowl England out tomorrow BUT I cannot see that happening on this docile pitch. England have all the luck in this series and Australia will be cursing theirs. So do a rain dance English supporters, cause you just got out of this one by a whisker.

  • on August 4, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    All this talk about killing test cricket - what is going to kill tests in the end is ground authorities who are totally determined to get revenue on all five days and prepare roads to make sure the game lasts that long.

  • GeoffreysMother on August 4, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    Arn't umpires supposed to make unilateral decisions about the light? Isn't that part of the rules now? Are these supposed to change on the rare occasions Australia have the outside chance of a victory? Is there any country or captain, including Clarke, who would not do what Cook has?

  • Rohit... on August 4, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    And here I thought the request to stop play can be made by the batting side only...

  • johnstanley on August 4, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    ICC need to look at the rules. The deliberate time wasting by England players was ridiculous and Umpires ignored that. The unilateral decision by the Umpires re bad light when the former England players & commentators felt play could continue needs to be looked at in terms of revising the rules. Fans paid a lot of money to watch the game and the flood lights were on. Let the game be decided on the field with fairness!!

  • Hatter_Mad on August 4, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    The weather forecast was much worse than what has transpired and Clarke would have known that a lot of time would inevitably be lost to rain. If you're going to be so timid with your play then you're never going to win one Test, never mind a series.

  • on August 4, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    I believe people blaming clarke have a poor understanding on cricket.Blaming clarke is ridiculpus.Clarke has always gone for outright wins but it is the English who fear losing a test match as shown by their slow over rate and time wasting tactics.Clarke feels getting a lead of around 340-350 would keep the aussies on the safe side and its quite fair given that england would still bat for 4 sessions which is enough for bowling them out.

  • YorkshirePudding on August 4, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    I see people complaining about slow over rates, when it far from the truth, England had 32 overs left to bowl in the final session.

    In regards to the light Its was turned over to the umpires, to prevent gamesmanship being used by the captains. Umpires require a minimum level of light even with floodlights on, and obviously they were not getting that, so Clarke can fume as much as he wants, but im sure had the boot been on the other foot he wouldnt have complained.

  • Wallruss on August 4, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    I don't understand why Australia were so conservative in their batting this afternoon - they should be 350+ and have declared by now.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 4, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    So far in this match England,with the honourable exception of a few players, have not impressed me at all. They have played well below their capability. This has been matched by some of the umpiring especially 3rd umpire, and some of the commentary-Warne and Lloyd have been unlistenable to. In the end I have to ask whether England want to win this game or whether they are trying to make the Ashes more of a contest. Obviously KP, Swann and Bell and Cook with the bat have acquitted themselves but the seamers and the other batsmen have been lacking. I can only hope this is rectified in the rest of the match-like by winning it.

  • on August 4, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    I feel sorry for Steve Smith, getting run out by his captain like that. He was looking really good and aggressive, and was on course for a second fifty of the match. Can some Australian supporters please explain to me Shane Watson's shot? At least he didn't get out lbw. England bowled okay in this innings but Australia will not be fussed about the seven wickets down - they scored at a good rate anyway. The only issue for them is whether they've left themselves enough time to bowl us out. 5th day in a rain-affected match, you never know what could happen.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on August 4, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    There's no longer an option given to batsman, its just the umpires decision. I have a feeling that Clarke missed a trick here because England were the bowling side at the time, if he'd anticipated the light and declared earlier and then bowled spin he may well have got in the 30 overs tonight? (obviously England aren't required to use spin, not 100% sure what the regulations are now if Australia would have been able to use spin til the end of play if they had declared and used smith/lyon etc.)

  • on August 4, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    So Aussies finally on the recieving end of tactics which they so unabeshedly used during their dominance of world cricket over the previous decade

  • liz1558 on August 4, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    Clarke has only got himself to blame. The forecast was for bad weather on days 4/5. He could've declared at 450 in first innings, or at least when the lead got to 300 in the second innings. That's what happens when your team is annihilated in the first two Tests. He feared losing 5-0. Australia, through conservative and unadventurous cricket have destroyed a potentially great Test.

  • on August 4, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    If T-20 and ODIs can be played under lights without Health and Safety throwing a fit, why is Test Match cricket different in terms of safely? It the red ball more inherently dangerous? Do the bowlers bowl faster or more dangerously? Considering the shorter forms of the game encourage faster scoring and risk taking I would have thought they were more dangerous for players (and umpires) in so adjudged poorer light. I am confused and spectators are cheated.

  • batman_gothamcity on August 4, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    Since the flood lights are on , why they cannot start the game . This is simply outrageous the batting side is Ok with it . Do the Umpire fear the feilders getting hit ??. It was Ok if Eng were Batting . Cmon show some common sense

  • on August 4, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    Well said by Dan - (quote) "...the umpires could not see in broad daylight anyway..."

  • dabhand on August 4, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    electric_loco - what are you waffling about - it's solely the umpires decision when to go off for light, nothing to do with either captains / teams / countries -- you really nee to understand the rules before you start chirping your ill informed opinion.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on August 4, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    Looks like the umpires have clinched the ashes for England. Would be nice if it at least appeared as though they understood that there are millions of people watching and riding this game and series, and they have just completely ruined this and the next 2 test matches due to dangerously bad light. So bad that Ryan Harris can easily keep out Anderson. Excellent work boys.

  • paapam on August 4, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    Terrific shot if Dickie Bird looking dapper.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 4, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    Again Eng showing no regard for spirit of cricket and people paid to watch some test cricket and also watching some brilliant Aus show. No wonder tests are dying.

  • page8383 on August 4, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    The lights are on and the Australia's batting. Then the umpires force the game to stop. This is laughable. Reminds me of the World Cup final in 2007. Umpires doing their best to wreck this series. Draw.

  • page8383 on August 4, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    This over rate is glacial. Clarke should be putting pressure on Cook and the English via the umpires.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on August 4, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    you can't fault Clarke the bat, a super super big inngs,the best in tests this year and just what you'd expect from world's best batsman. He was due and he is not going to miss out against this Eng bowling for long .Signs are ominous from Eng's p.o.v as Clarke looks good to make up for his misses in 1st 2 tests in the next couple of tests. Expect more big 1s from his blade in coming games.

  • Rajesh_india_1990 on August 4, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    wow...what a test match we are witnessing!!!!

  • on August 4, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    If Australia are looking for the win, they need to bat until they have a lead of around 350, then insert England to bat. They need to do it reasonably quickly though, ideally about 10-15 overs after tea break, otherwise this test match would end in a draw.

  • milepost on August 4, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    Nice to see Warner opening. @richardror - hardly a howler, no hot spot on two angles, no deflection, no snick noise. In real time I thought not out, just didn't sound like a nick. Move on. England didn't behave well afterwards either. Anyway, good to see the Aussies going for a win. Can't really blame England for slowing things down to secure the series but prefer the Aussie attitude toward the sport. @hatsforbats I agree - Botham's idea for subs is great. It's always been a little annoying this sub rule. ICC need to sort it, can't blame England for doing what they do, it's in the rules so it's fair play. I think the upside of a strong Australian team in international cricket is they are exciting to watch, they changed test cricket when they were a great side. All this shoelace tying and playing for a draw is a bit naff.

  • HatsforBats on August 4, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    Botham has just raised the idea of a 15min substitute free period, I think it's brilliant. England have been the masters of the clinical use of substitute fielders for years now, and in this series they've kept up to form (I'm as familiar now with Ben Foakes as I am with Joe Root!). It's a grey area, as is the physio, and once again England are leading the way. Warner calls for the physio (legitimately) and Anderson calls the trainer who leaves the fields after the Aussie trainer! Unscheduled drinks breaks need to be policed, and runs need to be awarded to batting teams for fielding sides not reaching over rates (at the discretion of the third umpire). Unfortunately, the rain is here, lets hope the weather doesn't have a say in this wonderful match. Ps. What a magnificent pitch this is!

  • Shaggy076 on August 4, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    Richardror There was no hot spot evidence umpire not allowed to use snicko. The right decision was made. I'm still not sure if he hit it or not so not sure how anyone could say it was a bad decision.

  • on August 4, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    The ability of the English team to conjure rain when facing defeat, even when in Wales, is-I must say- a very handy skill. Quite apart from rain though, as an Aussie fan I'm more concerned by the fact this pitch still looks more or less like a road. Apart from the thumb breaker to Warner and a little bit of bite for the tweakers I don't see too much for the English batsmen to worry about (other than the prospect of holding on to the ashes if they survive this fixture).

  • deathstar01 on August 4, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    Hoping a cameo from Watto. A great situation for him to come back to form. A 60 of 50 deliveries would be great for australia.

  • Ticks_Cricket on August 4, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    You are kidding...how could you drop Hughes for Watson...Hughes looks like getting out every ball he faces....don't forget that Watson is the only Aussie bat that has not made one out and out failure of an innings in this series...I understand that he needs to go on...but let's face it Hughes has had enough chances...!

  • dmat on August 4, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    I think 300-320 will be enough - Clark can't afford to go on for too long. He'd rather go down fighting than draw from here. Perhaps the Aus batsmen didn't do enough running up and down the wicket like the poms did!!!

  • novocas7rian on August 4, 2013, 13:23 GMT

    @creekeetman, because snicko just shows that there has been a noise recorded by the stump microphone. It doesn't show what made the noise so it can't be considered proof of anything. When the ball passed the bat Warner's back leg was stretched with the toe dragging on the ground, who's to say that didn't cause the disturbance on snicko?

  • AussieSam on August 4, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    @creekeetman: That was a perfect example of why snicko shouldn't be used. Everything else showed that he didn't hit it, but snicko still had a noise. You could clearly hear that his shoe shuffling on the pitch made a scraping noise just as the ball passed and that could have easily been what was picked up on snicko.

  • richardror on August 4, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    Another DRS howler as Warner edges/gloves it to prior with hotspot and snicko both showing that he obviously hit it.

  • on August 4, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    warner looking in good touch. this innings is set up for him. watson not opening. Could we see watson missing the next test and hughes back.

  • dabhand on August 4, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    @AltafPatel - I must disagree with you there - many of us wanted to see real test cricket to see if England could retain the Ashes - which with the weather forecast they will probably do with only one of the matches having been a real test.

  • creekeetman on August 4, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    snicko is much more reliable than hotspot... why then isn't snicko the primary method used to determine whether or not a batsman has edged one?

  • TomPrice on August 4, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    Let's have no more of this walking nonsense.

  • on August 4, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    It's going to be a riveting second session, wonder how many runs Australia are going to blast or if England peg them back with some vital wickets. Thinking from England's point of view, has any team won a match after conceding a huge 150-run lead ? Yes, and that team is India !!!!!! Jog back 37 years, to 1976 and go to Port-of-Spain. West Indies batted first, scored 359, and India responded with 228, conceding a lead of 131. Clive Lloyd declared their second innings at 271 for 6, setting India to score 403 to win. And India went on to record their then-most-famous victory in Test cricket, with centuries from Gavaskar and Viswanath, an anchored 85 from Mohinder Amarnath, and 49 not out from Brijesh Patel ---- the then-highest successful 4th-innings chase in nearly 100 years of Test cricket. England, you can do it !!!!!!!!!!

  • on August 4, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    Now Australia need to quickly slam that lead up to 300-350 and bowl England out in a day and 1/.5 of a seasion

  • TheBigBoodha on August 4, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    Agree the batting by the English tail was inexplicable. Why were they trying to smash it everywhere? Broad was very lucky - half his runs were through slips or behind the keeper. But he just kept swinging. Not that I'm complaining as an Aussie.

  • on August 4, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    England can still win if they can bowl out Aussies for under 150. But I would like to see Aussies win this match specially for Clarkes performance.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 4, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Very worried about this Australian approach, memories of Sri Lanka in the CT come to mind, the match could be safe but this approach could throw it all away, Rogers already gone.

  • on August 4, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    Wishing for an australian comeback through this match. They have fought well and deserve to skin the english a bit

  • AltafPatel on August 4, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    Very disappointing performance by tale enders after KP tone. Everyone wanted to see Aus 5-0 but that dream seems come to an end...!

  • AltafPatel on August 4, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    Very disappointing performance by tale enders after KP tone. Everyone wanted to see Aus 5-0 but that dream seems come to an end...!

  • on August 4, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    Wishing for an australian comeback through this match. They have fought well and deserve to skin the english a bit

  • xtrafalgarx on August 4, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Very worried about this Australian approach, memories of Sri Lanka in the CT come to mind, the match could be safe but this approach could throw it all away, Rogers already gone.

  • on August 4, 2013, 12:07 GMT

    England can still win if they can bowl out Aussies for under 150. But I would like to see Aussies win this match specially for Clarkes performance.

  • TheBigBoodha on August 4, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    Agree the batting by the English tail was inexplicable. Why were they trying to smash it everywhere? Broad was very lucky - half his runs were through slips or behind the keeper. But he just kept swinging. Not that I'm complaining as an Aussie.

  • on August 4, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    Now Australia need to quickly slam that lead up to 300-350 and bowl England out in a day and 1/.5 of a seasion

  • on August 4, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    It's going to be a riveting second session, wonder how many runs Australia are going to blast or if England peg them back with some vital wickets. Thinking from England's point of view, has any team won a match after conceding a huge 150-run lead ? Yes, and that team is India !!!!!! Jog back 37 years, to 1976 and go to Port-of-Spain. West Indies batted first, scored 359, and India responded with 228, conceding a lead of 131. Clive Lloyd declared their second innings at 271 for 6, setting India to score 403 to win. And India went on to record their then-most-famous victory in Test cricket, with centuries from Gavaskar and Viswanath, an anchored 85 from Mohinder Amarnath, and 49 not out from Brijesh Patel ---- the then-highest successful 4th-innings chase in nearly 100 years of Test cricket. England, you can do it !!!!!!!!!!

  • TomPrice on August 4, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    Let's have no more of this walking nonsense.

  • creekeetman on August 4, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    snicko is much more reliable than hotspot... why then isn't snicko the primary method used to determine whether or not a batsman has edged one?

  • dabhand on August 4, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    @AltafPatel - I must disagree with you there - many of us wanted to see real test cricket to see if England could retain the Ashes - which with the weather forecast they will probably do with only one of the matches having been a real test.