England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 4th day

Play abandoned on grim day

Andrew McGlashan

August 24, 2013

Comments: 15 | Text size: A | A

England 247 for 4 (Bell 29*, Woakes 15*) trail Australia 492 for 9 dec by 245 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The groundstaff do their best to take the water off the covers, England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 4th day, August, 24, 2013
The groundstaff fought a losing battle on the fourth day © PA Photos
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The weather forecast for London was not wrong as the fourth day of the final Investec Ashes Test was abandoned without a ball bowled.

There was never any real prospect of play as rain of varying strength shrouded the ground throughout the day and the umpires made their decision at 4pm. The spectators will get full refunds for the wiped out day - it did not take long for Twitter to be abuzz with suggestions they should have received refunds for the third day as well.

The forecast for Sunday is more promising, although it is hard to escape the feeling that it will be a rather low-key affair when Alastair Cook has handed the urn at some point in the afternoon. Stuart Broad issued a rally call when he tweeted: "Who is coming to The Oval 2moro to share the special moment of lifting The Ashes with us?! Lets make it a party!!!"

England will resume on 247 for 4, still 46 short of saving the follow-on. From their point of view there are personal milestones to aim for and, in Chris Woakes' case, Test match experience to gain. If Australia did manage to skittle the remaining batsmen inside the follow-on - which is not a completely implausible scenario given the pitch has been covered for a day - they could yet have an outside chance of applying some pressure.

The one element of intrigue remaining is that if England narrowly save the follow-on whether Clarke, ever the adventurous captain, would leave a run chase on the final afternoon.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by H_Z_O on (August 26, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

@JG2704 on (August 25, 2013, 21:39 GMT) oh don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it was a bad decision by Clarke, although I probably would have declared at 250 even though it didn't make any difference in the end. But it does show that Clarke, while definitely inventive and tactically astute, and more attacking than Cook, isn't quite the maverick captain he's made out to be. I'd actually say Brendon McCullum is the best captain I've seen recently, in terms of adventurous tactics.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 25, 2013, 21:42 GMT)

@KeeperWithABat on (August 25, 2013, 0:15 GMT) It's been a mostly dry summer. Unfortunately for Oz it seems like it rains when they are in the ascendancy. Maybe Cook has the weather in his pocket

Posted by JG2704 on (August 25, 2013, 21:39 GMT)

@H_Z_O on (August 25, 2013, 0:56 GMT) Fair points , but maybe 230 might have been a bit too kamikaze and I think Eng would only have faced another 10-15 overs had Clarke declared 250 ahead. I genuinely think Clarke was in the damned if you do,damned if you don't

As for Warne , he seems to be talking out of his down under. He suggested Clarke should/would bat again rather than make England follow on - had Eng not avoided the follow on - which would have been lunacy in their position

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 25, 2013, 13:55 GMT)

@sachin_vvsfan 1977. England won 3-0 in a five match series.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (August 25, 2013, 10:45 GMT)

Looks like I did not miss much action as I was travelling yesterday whole day.

Question to stats guru/ cricket pundits

When was the last time Aus lost Ashes with out a single win ? That must be pretty long time ago. I don't remember any such instance since 1996/97

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 25, 2013, 5:08 GMT)

It's certainly a tough break for Australia for weather to have affected the two Tests in which they were in a strong position. Realistically though, they were about even money to win at Old Trafford, despite some claiming that the win was a certainty, while this game was most likely going to end in a draw too, with an outside chance of an England win if Australia tried to push the scoring rate and succumbed to the slowness of the wicket. One has to wonder how significant it was that Australia batted much better on the occasions that they won the toss. The return series should be interesting. England have been the better here but not by a huge margin. If both teams play about the same standard then that gap should all but close simply due to Australia being at home. Both teams will be looking for an improvement in their batting in particular. England's batsmen have the records to prove they can do better while Australia still have a lot to prove.

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 25, 2013, 0:56 GMT)

@JG2704 yes, but note that Nolan didn't say that an earlier declaration would have won Australia the Test matches. His comment suggested two points:

1) Clarke's not quite the "adventurous" captain he's made out to be.

2) Earlier declaration *could* have put England under pressure.

On the first point, while I agree that Clarke couldn't have known how much it would rain at Old Trafford, Warne in particular suggested on commentary that Clarke was such a bold captain he'd be happy setting England 250, maybe even 230, since they *had* to win. The thing is, while you're right that without weather the required run rate might have made the target very achievable, run rate isn't a factor if you bowl a side out. "Adventurous" captains back their bowlers to take the 10 wickets before the runs are scored. "Adventurous" captains are willing to look reckless because it's "win at all costs" for them.

On the second point, pressure does funny things to people. We saw that at Chester Le Street.

Posted by KeeperWithABat on (August 25, 2013, 0:15 GMT)

Remind me again why we play cricket in England when there is rain like this in Summer?

Anyone who thinks Cook is a better captain than Clarke are only going on their records. Although Clarke has lost more matches, he is a much better captain who is willing to take risks to win a game. Cook is far too defensive and often plays for a draw to win a series. The only reason Cook has a better record is because he has more to work with, while Clark has a young team that is simply not as good.

Posted by   on (August 24, 2013, 22:13 GMT)

What a pity, but not a great surprise, as I copped a bit of it at Wembley today!

Posted by   on (August 24, 2013, 21:46 GMT)

@ Nolan Wilde .... I concur!!! Meanwhile I would have had more men around the bat saying "Please hit me!!!" A captain who doesn't fear losing .... I think not!!!

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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