Player of the Match
Player of the Match

That's your lot for the third Test then. Three down, two to go (until November that is!) All the best reaction and analysis coming up here on ESPNcricinfo so stick around as the day goes on and our correspondents file their stuff from Old Trafford. But a bit of a soggy end to proceedings here, here's hoping for the good weather to return in the North East at the end of the week. 10.15am BST we'll be online on Friday for full coverage of the fourth Test, see you then. But from Monty, Gnasher myself and our colleagues in India too, it's goodbye for now...

Presentation coming up, live from the Old Trafford pavilion dining room. Investec medallions are being presented to all and sundry with light applause echoing around the room.

Here's Alsstair Cook: "It's a slightly strange feeling today but for the lads to retain the Ashes after 14 days is great, We were behind the eight ball here, got a bit of luck with the weather but we fought well. Here it was a good toss to win but fair play Australia they put us under a lot of pressure. But we responded well with the bat. The weather hasn't been ideal today. This hasn't got the atmosphere of Melbourne or The Oval but it's a great feeling in the dressing room.

"It was a really good Test wicket, there was a bit in there today. KP batted really well, it was a perfectly timed innings as well. It's slightly stressful with back to back matches but its certainly a challenge. Your always under pressure as a captain."

Michael Clarke is Man of the Match and says: "I tried not the open the curtains this morning. I certainly don't won't to take anything away from England, they deserve to be 2-0 up in this series but in the UK there's always a chance of some rain. It's important we concentrate on the next two Test and leave two-all. We've seen some great signs from the guys here. It's nice to make runs but it's irrelevant, I'd rather get a duck and win the Test. You can feel great and get no runs. Here I had a bit of luck along the way but it's important I make runs in the next two Tests. It's never really mattered to me where I bat. I'll bat wherever I'm needed for the team.

"I think the selectors have done a great job in this series, five Tests are a lot for fast bowlers. Today's rain might help Ryan Harris. When he's on the park he's such an amazing bowler. We'll try and get him back on the park for Friday. The atmosphere won't affect David, if anything the stick will help him. He's a strong character."

England have problems with their batting. Ian Bell has been the only consistent runscorer. Jonathan Trott looked very out of touch here and they will be hoping that's only a one off; he played fluently at Trent Bridge and Lord's. Alastair Cook hasn't been able to on to a big score and his new partnership with Joe Root is yet to really settle. They will be relieved Kevin Pietersen found some runs here. It would help them all-around if they cut out the strangles down the leg side, several of them in the series and what's the saying, one is unlucky, more than once is careless. Questions remain over Jonny Bairstow's capability to play a long innings and Matt Prior's form too. They can be run through this England line up. One complete failure - as Australia have shown - costs Test matches.

The next Test is just four days away and everyone will travel up to Durham for the fourth Test starting on Friday. Australia can take momentum up north, they have a great chance from here to fire a few shots across the bows of their doubters, who, admittedly had plenty of evidence for their case after the first two matches but here Australia proved their stomach for the fight. But what will their side be? Will Ryan Harris be fit? Or will Jackson Bird come in. Is there a way to solidify their batting which is still quite brittle at the top? It was, after all, Clarke the dependable that made most of their runs here.

So there we have it, Ashes done and dusted. Australia fought back with a vengeance here at Old Trafford but they were drinking in the last chance saloon and failure to force the win has ended this series as a contest. There were much better here though, controlling the entire match from ball one. They made a huge total, Michael Clarke led from the front with a brilliant hundred and their bowlers, with runs to play with, put England's slightly misfiring batting line up under great pressure. Australia have plenty to take into the final two matches and still harbour ambitions to draw this series. England have questions to answer.

4,40pm So much for the 5pm inspection, play has been abandoned, the match is drawn and England retain the Ashes! The players appear on the balcony to take the applause from the spectators left in the ground as the good news for the hosts appears on the big screen. England have secured the series after just three matches for only the second time in history, the previous occasion being 1928-29.

OptaJim ‏@OptaJim ... "13.5 - R. Harris (13.5% of balls bowled) has induced the highest percentage of play and misses in this #Ashes series. Channel."

Andy Zaltzman ‏@ZaltzCricket ... "Australia have retained the Ashes with a draw on 11 occasions. six times in England - four of those at Old Trafford. #engvaus"

4.35pm It's bucketing down lads, this is going to be all over pretty soon I reckon. The umpires are out with brollies up having a look. There are a lot of puddles on the outfield and the covers. Inspection at 5pm we're being told, that could be the moment.

Mike Brewer: "This is a blow, it looks like England just wont have enough time to knock off these runs and keep the five-nil alive"

4.15pm It's now the evening session by the way, so we're losing overs and we're probably down to something like 40 left in the day perhaps? No sign yet of any improvement in the weather.

Damien Martyn ‏@dmartyn30 ... "I'm sorry folks I feel it's all over here .. Rain set in dark clouds light not great ! #Ashes #shame"

3.40pm It's now tea. This was scheduled for 4.10pm because of the delays but has been brought forward to allow the evening session to begin at 4pm. We now stop losing overs for 20 minutes which is some solace to Australia. No break in the weather though.

3.25pm Think this tells you all you need to know..."Cricket Australia ‏@CricketAus ... Not much to report from Old Trafford. The rain continues to fall. #Ashes #ReturnTheUrn" I think that hastag has got about three hours left of use!

Gareth: "Everyone's a captain in hindsight. What if Clarke declared and the rain stayed away? England would have won the Test and Clarke would have been a laughing stock. He captained well with the facts he had." I don't think anyone would rile Clarke if Australia lost with a generous declaration. They have to win the keep the series alive, it doesn't really matter if they lose.

3pm Rain still falling and no immediate prospects of play. Ben: "For me, all this simply underlines a key question - why didn't Clarke declare earlier? If he had declared at Tea yesterday, Australia would have been 290 ahead, they wouldn't have lost time to the light (because he would have been able to bowl two spinners - as the Umps requested) and England would have had a carrot to chase. Instead, he batted on (even when Starc fell!), gave England no incentive whatsoever to go for the win."

Phil Coates: "What does Cooky say to Clarke when the match is called off and we have retained the Ashes? Bad luck? You batted an hour too long?" How about, pity you didn't turn up in the first two games?

Siddarthan: "The Chennai Test was my first at the stadium. Ganguly was actually happy the fifth day was washed out. He didn't want to chase 232 with Warnie bowling into the rough."

Rishabh: "What goes around does come back around. Remember the Chennai Test in 2004?" Raining again, covers back on. Showers forecast for the rest of the afternoon too...

2.35pm The covers are being dragged back and there's going to be an inspection at 2.45pm, providing we have no more rain of course!

The glass-half-full Aussie...Adrian: "I reckon the rain could play into Aussie hands and make the conditions worse for batting when they finally go back on." It's a theory...

2.25pm Umpires are coming out to have a look, not exactly sure it's stopped raining completely. They're having a chat to the groundsman.

Nick: "To Craig, who likes England being 30 for 3: just a reminder that we were 20-odd and 30-odd for 3 at Lord's and still won by over 300. And for all DRS detractors: you can't say it hasn't evened out now! What goes around comes around... fair play to Oz, though; they've shown some bottle and battle this time round..."

2.15pm We used up the half-hour grace period at the start of the day so now we're losing overs. It was down to 93 in the day when they came back after lunch and that's now being whittled down with every three-and-a-half minutes we lose.

Craig: "I love being an England fan, never boring. I love it almost as much as England love being 30-odd for 3." They've been there a few times in recent months, the top order batting has been very shaky indeed.

2.05pm Clarke having a word with Bell but he deserves some treatment here. And now it's raining pretty hard so they're going off. And from where the weather is coming from it's very dark. All the sheets are coming on...

20.3
2
Siddle to Bell, 2 runs, oh dear, this leaps off a length, it takes the shoulder of the bat, no it was off the glove and flies over third slip, very lucky for Bell, gets it off the thumb, what a delivery, leaped up from just outside off stump and Bell is hurt here, out comes the trainer, he'll need some magic spray
20.2
0
Siddle to Bell, no run, touch shorter, Bell goes back and dabs into the covers from a fourth-stump line
20.1
0
Siddle to Bell, no run, lovely start, full pitched and moving away from the bat, Bell beaten just outside off, that is almost perfect

1.55pm Good news (for Australia) the rain has relented and the players are coming back out for a 2pm restart. It's very gloomy and there is rain around the ground, with a good splodge coming up the country. But for now, we're back out and Australia need to use all the time they've got. Peter Siddle from the Statham End...

END OF OVER:
20 | 2 Runs | ENG: 35/3

  • Joe Root13 (57b)
  • Ian Bell2 (11b)
  • Michael Clarke1-0-2-0
  • Peter Siddle3-0-6-1

1.05pm: How's the ticker? Australia have shown plenty of it and continue to push aggressively in this match, pursuing a victory for the ages - given their form going into the Test and deficit in the series; given the time lost and poor forecast; and notwithstanding England's delaying tactics and apparent desire to play for a draw. They have only needed 20 overs to whittle away three wickets (plus a dropped catch) and Clarke will be praying the weather holds off to allow time for 20-30 more. For England, it's all about Joe and Ian... Dan Brettig's lunch report will be on the site shortly, join us again in half an hour.

19.6
0
Clarke to Root, no run, full, drifting in around middle and off, straightening as Root sits back to defend - and that will be lunch. Do England have the stomach for it?
19.5
0
Clarke to Root, no run, tossed up, Root drops back and cross-bats the ball square on the off side
19.4
1
Clarke to Bell, 1 run, floated up, Bell drives and there's a shout as the ball zips past that close catcher for a single into the covers

Now a silly point comes in too

19.3
0
Clarke to Bell, no run, tossed up outside off and Bell again blocks coming forwards
19.2
0
Clarke to Bell, no run, gets forward to defend on the front foot
19.1
1
Clarke to Root, 1 run, round the wicket, drops a little short and Root tucks off his hips through square for a single

And Clarke does bring himself on, as the names "Mumbai" and "Sydney" float across on the wind... Slip and short leg in place

END OF OVER:
19 | 2 Runs | ENG: 33/3

  • Ian Bell1 (8b)
  • Joe Root12 (54b)
  • Peter Siddle3-0-6-1
  • Nathan Lyon3-0-8-0

Here's Rajesh: "In the run-up to the match in Sky Sports studio, Nasser Hussein and Atherton were saying Pietersen holds the key to this match. Pietersen gone, chances of England saving the match is akin to the wafer thin edge which made Pieterson out."

18.6
0
Siddle to Bell, no run, pitched up on off stump, Bell shows it the maker's name in defence
18.5
0
Siddle to Bell, no run, goes wide on the crease and angles the ball in, straightening and left alone outside off

Lunch will be at the scheduled time, so one more over. On the field, Michael Clarke appears to be loosening up

18.4
1
Siddle to Root, 1 run, drifts down the leg side again and Root glides a single down to fine leg
18.3
0
Siddle to Root, no run, length ball, attacking the top of off stump again, plays with soft hands into the ground towards point
18.2
1
Siddle to Bell, 1 run, full and on the stumps, worked off the pads for Bell's first run
18.1
0
Siddle to Bell, no run, angled in around off stump and Bell gets across to block

END OF OVER:
18 | 4 Runs | ENG: 31/3

  • Joe Root11 (52b)
  • Ian Bell0 (4b)
  • Nathan Lyon3-0-8-0
  • Peter Siddle2-0-4-1
17.6
0
Lyon to Root, no run, drops a touch short again and tapped into the leg side

Weather update: it's not raining

17.5
4
Lyon to Root, FOUR runs, drops short and down the leg side, Root pulls smartly into the ground past the close catchers and that will go for four
17.4
0
Lyon to Root, no run, tossed up straight, blocked back down the track
17.3
0
Lyon to Root, no run, goes back and across to block a slightly short ball outside off

"This is very much starting to remind me of Adelaide! C'mon Aussies!!!" yahoos Mick

17.2
0
Lyon to Root, no run, gets a big stride in and defends on the front foot
17.1
0
Lyon to Root, no run, Lyon bowling round the wicket with two leg side catchers, Root continues to be composed in defence

END OF OVER:
17 | 3 Runs 1 Wkt | ENG: 27/3

  • Ian Bell0 (4b)
  • Joe Root7 (46b)
  • Peter Siddle2-0-4-1
  • Nathan Lyon2-0-4-0
16.6
0
Siddle to Bell, no run, pitched up in the channel and left well alone
16.5
0
Siddle to Bell, no run, Siddle steams in and gets the ball to seam away off a good length as Bell plays down the wrong line
16.4
0
Siddle to Bell, no run, defends into the ground coming forward outside off, the ball trampoling up into the air

England 4th innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st0AN CookJE Root
2nd15IJL TrottJE Root
3rd12KP PietersenJE Root
4th10IR BellJE Root