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England vs Australia, 4th Test at Manchester, The Ashes, Jul 19 2023 - Match Result

4th Test, Manchester, July 19 - 23, 2023, The Ashes
317 & 214/5

Match drawn

Player Of The Match
Match centre 
Scores: Ranjith P | Comms: Andrew Miller
Scorecard summary
Australia 317/10(90.2 overs)
5/62 (22.2)
England 592/10(107.4 overs)
189 (182)
5/126 (27)
2/64 (15.4)
Australia 214/5(71 overs)
3/27 (11)
31* (107)
1/31 (12)

5.48pm And so that is a wrap. A very soggy wrap, lying in the gutter after being dropped outside the kebab shop. It was a downbeat pair of captains who addressed the media just now, Stokes for obvious reasons but Cummins too, in spite of part one of his job being done. Congratulations to Australia for their retention of the Ashes, after two fine wins in the first two Tests, but next week's Oval Test will be anything but a dead rubber. And quite right too. It's been a sensational series. It deserves a finish to match the drama we've witnessed over the past five weeks. From Miller, Alan and Ranjith, thanks for stopping by. See you next week!

Raman: "So one of the Golden Periods of English cricket goes into perhaps a decade without The Ashes being won. Another Golden Period of Australian cricket goes into the same decade without surrendering ashes (Circa 2015-2025) Winning WTC at least once ! "

Pat Cummins: "Our preference is to come over and win, but nice to retain, something to be proud of. Result is the same as [2019] but feeling is different. Doesn't change how we look at the Oval next week. In the last year or two, [I've dreamed of lifting the urn]. It'll be special, but more special if we get a win.

On England's batting: "The guys out there batted really well, we tried a few plans, they didn't come off. We hope to be better next week.

On five Tests and workload: "I feel pretty good, I had a bit of a break leading in, and I haven't bowled as many overs as in 2019. Not at my best this week, but be alright for the next one.

Marnus: "He was fantastic, good to show his class out there. We'll all turned up to achieve the series win, retaining is nice but fully focussed on the win."

Ben Stokes: "Tough one to take, playing the cricket we played then to get on the wrong side of the weather. All part of the journey. We knew the task at hand which played into our hands. Do or die, bowling them out then scoring 570 at six an over, couldn't have done too much more. Lot of pride to play for.

"[Woakes and Wood] have been unbelievable. Popey's injury made us think about the structure of our team. I've been very vocal about Zak. What he does at the top of the order, he changes games. He takes the bowling on. If he stays at the crease he'll change the game. Shows what can happen when you back players on a day-to-day basis. Broad, 600 wickets, himself and Jimmy, unbelievable examples of international sportsmen. Broady loves the battle, esp against Australia."

On Edgbaston, any regrets: "No"

"We'd love to finish the Test summer with another win, we've been wonderfully supported."

The Player of the Match, unsurprisingly, is Zak Crawley. "Pretty flat up there, we were in a good position, played a lot of good cricket, go onto the next one. We gave ourselves a chance to win it on day three, and maybe yesterday, but the rain cost us.

"Had to be my favourite innings, rode my luck but played nicely. I felt in good touch, felt a score was coming. I haven't been stuck down one end [with men back], I've taken a few more singles. I take a lot of confidence, every bowler is high quality, no let-up so a lot to take into my next game. Ben [Duckett's] a phenomenal player, I love batting with him, very different, long may it continue. Every game is massively important for us, nice to get it back to 2-2."

5.33pm Time for some presentations.

5.24pm Match Drawn - Australia retain the Ashes! That's it. The umpires have had their chat, they've popped up to the dressing-rooms and passed on the news. Here ends a sad denouement to a thrillingly poised match and series, not that the Aussies will mind too much! Josh Hazlewood said he'd be perfectly happy with two days of rain, and the upshot is they will return with the urn for the fourth consecutive series. Will they return with a series win to boot? Over to The Oval to find out.

This, incidentally, is the first draw of the Bazball era. Extreme acts of God are the only thing that can prevent this England team from banishing the stalemate from their lexicon, for better or - as in the case of that costly loss at Edgbaston - for worse.

DrD: "With the ashes lost, will it now end this Bazball thing? How many more series lost before we get back to proper test cricket?" Lol ... they haven't yet lost a series under Bazball! Not even this one just yet...

Shankar: "While we are apportioning blame around, lets not forget the ECB. Test matches all crunched into 6 weeks because no one can disturb the priceless schedule of the Hundred. The ECB has clearly prioritized the Hundred over tests. Take your medicine now, honchos in the ECB. " To be fair, they couldn't have predicted two grim days of rain at the end of July. It's not as though this Test has been scheduled in early April. But yes. I could not be less up for the start of the Hundred after this excitement. And [checks calendar...] oh look, I'm off on holiday on August 1!

5.13pm: Still no word on an abandonment, still no prospect of a resumption. The futility is reaching epochal levels.

The umpires are due to chat to the groundstaff shortly, so I think the plug is about to be pulled.

Dunc: "The problem with this country is everyone's always talking about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it".

Hari : "I can't see why all Test cricket matches cannot invoke a reserve day like the WTC final. Seems like it would be a very reasonable solution in this case. " I guess the cramped scheduling is a headache already. I mean, five Tests in barely six weeks, and the Oval reserve day would have spilled over into the start of the H*%$red, and we couldn't have that, could we...?

Ozbald : "Did the umpires nick off to the pub without telling anyone? Watching the telecast and having a right old giggle about 'no official word yet'." If this was Trent Bridge, which backs onto one of the sport's great Inns, that would make a lot of sense. Old Trafford's industrial wasteland boozers aren't quite so alluring...

4.48pm: Last rites? I'm just getting warmed up ...

Vishwas: "I'm confused a little! Wasn't yesterday supposed to be a washout but some play was expected today?" Such are the reasons why we Brits love nothing better than to talk about the weather. I mean, are the possibilities fascinating?!

Talking of which ...

4.38pm: Ooh look, India's openers have put on 98 in 12 overs over in Trinidad... But Rohit Sharma has just got out, and now it's raining there, too! Time to hand back to Miller, who's poised to read the last rites

Farmer Andy: "From an Aussie perspective, the next test is a crucial opportunity to regain some of the dignity we lost in the last couple of days, even if the rain has bailed us out today. Still plenty to play for for both teams in the next Test"

Dunc: "Lol. If only Stokes could command the weather, and reverse the rules of mathematics. "

Moin: "What exactly are the umpires waiting for? The ground staff would need at least 2 hours to dry the playing area and max we can go till is 7:30 which would be impossible in this light..." Yes, we do seem, in the words of Damon Albarn, to be holding on for tomorrow

4.27pm: Still shedding down. Tick tock

"Do the captains need to agree to an early abandonment or can the umpires just call it. Right now I wish they would. It's the hope that gets you." They can put a fork in this whenever they're ready, Peter. Suspect it might not be far away

"I don't see the final test as a dead rubber at all," says Bob Loblaw. "Australia retain the Ashes (they need shelf space somewhere) but they have not yet won the Ashes. The rainout here will give the Aussie attack a chance to rest and regroup. England still have to play for the series draw. Final test will be a cracker." Let's hope so, Bob. Love your law blog, by the way

3.55pm: Don't ask. If anything, the rain's got heavier and the outfield more sodden. The urn is going to be handed back to Australia after a ceremonial boat ride across the playing surface. Only a matter of time...

"A crying shame such a close series will end with a dead rubber. Still it upsets Piers Morgan so every cloud has a silver lining." And there are a lot of clouds over Manchester right now, Craig

"In hindsight do you think England should have declared earlier to have a go at bowling them out quicker and just accept the risk of a chase at the end?" In hindsight, Mark, I think they should have scheduled this Test for the Ageas Bowl

3.25pm: The playing surface at Old Trafford is beginning to resemble a lake, and still the rain falls. Thoroughly bleak, though other cricket is available

"Well, I think we're done here. I'm off to bed, first night of the series I haven't been up until the end of play! See you at the Oval!" Not if I see you first, Luke...

"Had the Bashes," guffaws Uncle Nib. "Now the Splashes!"

3.05pm: While the weather gods continue to exact their revenge for the bucket hat, why don't you rain down your questions on Matt and Vish?

"I believe England haven't beaten Australia at Old Trafford since 1981? 3 draws and 4 Australian wins. Maybe why there's no Ashes test in 2027." Yes, Mark, it's going to be a 50-year wait by the time they get back up here in 2031... although I'm not sure Manchester's underperformance should have been held against Headingley, too

"Alan, have you already received demand for flight/hotel refund from the Paris chappie you encouraged heading to Manchester today?" I'm sure he's having a lovely time, Dileep. A fine day to explore the local shipping canals...

2.48pm: Still bucketing down, from the last TV pictures we've seen. "Puddles forming on the outfield," reports Gnasher. We might be approaching terminal velocity. Water way to retain the Ashes...

"Is there a point where play can hypothetically be called off or will they give it up until the very end of the day?" They will probably stick it out as long as possible, Edward. But there's nothing to stop the umpires from deciding this is all futile and we should all go home

Andrew Leckonby: "As a general rule it's a bad policy to take your best cricket to Sydney or Manchester." This is a pretty good philosophy for life

2.20pm: Hello again. Welcome to the ThunderSteady Mizzle Dome. The weather seems to have set in at Old Trafford, and the clock is ticking down. "Can barely see the buildings outside the ground now through the steady rain," says Gnasher. It's nice weather for ducks/Aussies

"Welcome Monty! Do you bring any good news? Like England have already called for their bus to hotel or the umpires prepare to call off the play? Something on those lines." Nothing so definitive, Sohail. We've probably got another 2-3 hours of making up the tune as we go...

"This weather system is enormous - it's even raining in Sydney now..." Yeah, but it's always raining there, Rob. Although an abandonment in Manchester would, I think, mean it draws level with the SCG for most completely washed-out days of Test cricket in history (with 25)

2.12pm Right, now that you've all been sucked back into my vortex of doom, here's Alan to drip-feed the afternoon's (lack of) developments.

1.48pm Now then... what's this I see in the seaweed? Is it a glimmer of a chance of a possibility of hope? Almost certainly not. But in the interests of keeping you all glued to this page and hence ensuring my career extends for another quarter when the number-crunchers crunch all our page views, I present to you my latest findings...

Oh, and talking of driving traffic (figures), don't forget to pop over to ESPNF1, where the Hungarian Grand Prix is about to get underway. I really am the font of all munificence today.

Andrew: "Lovely night in down under in Brisbane. Have the Manchester rain radar on one screen, and the excellent 1980's Bodyline mini-series (starring Hugo Weaving) on the other. It is all just helping reinforce the eternal Ashes reminder that England are the evil empire and Australia the beacons of cricket purity and light." Entirely reasonable conclusion, frankly. FWIW, that series is intricately linked to rainy days in my mind's eye. Used to watch it in the library at school whenever our matches were rained off back in the 1980s. Was always very amused by Gary Sweet as a name. Not sure why!

Asim: "I live down the road from the ground and let's be honest their will be no play today at all isn't possible even if the rain stops the heavy rain fall from last night flooded the roads and I highly doubt the pitch would get cleaned up in time " Asim has lost all hope. Hard to blame him.

1.32pm It's still raining. And England are playing keepy-uppy still. Here endeth the update.

Bevan: "As an Aussie, this match is giving me Toto vibes:"I bless the rains up in Manchester!"" Oh go on then. A one, a two, a one two three four ....

Kevin Knight: "Still five hours to get play in. What's the chances??" Umm...

1.24pm Still waiting, still raining. Still all a bit improbable.

Dan: "I'm with Adam on this one. I too was surprised by the very un-Bazball decision to bat as long as they did and not get stuck into the Aussie 2nd innings. Ironic isn't it? We've gone from questioning their premature declaration in the first test to their potential overdue declaration in the fourth"

Raghu: "Reckless cricket at Edgbaston led to this position for ENG.Otherwise, they would have been the ones with 2-1 up."

Mark: "I really do not get these fans who are criticising the "late" declaration. It's basic arithmetic, people! England were scoring fast, not dawdling. They were trying to set up a shot at an innings win. Had they pulled out 100 ahead, Australia would have been well ahead now. Lose overs for change of innings. When you are ahead, every run counts double because it takes time out of the game and needs time to chase. For heavens sake, do some basic arithmetic!"

Danny: "Happy as I am to see today washed away, as I cycle through the selection of cricket and weather sites, it's hard to criticise Stokes, without the benefit of hindsight. In the end, it may well be only one missing hour that brings him undone, on top of the heroic batting yesterday that is." It's a fair point. We got 30 overs yesterday, and 71 in total in the innings, which is longer than either of Australia's innings at Headingley. And yes, England were denied the chance to bowl their quicks, but Root in particular looked their most dangerous option. Labuschagne and Marsh did the needful, and did it well.

1pm Well, we've reached that long-forgotten theoretical start time. The players are out there playing keepy-uppy but no-one else is. We continue to wait and wonder.

Adam C: "If it is a draw, England only have themselves to blame. They knew the weather was coming but kept on batting and batting on Day 3. They should've declared at the start of the day and bowled at Australia all day - if we got infront, there would be time to chase whatever small target we put up. There are simply no excuses." Of all the mistakes England have made, that's an odd one to double down. One does not simply walk into Mordor and beat Australia in three days…

Pressan : "English fans, I would suggest you guys steer conversations away from things like 'would australia fans be happy with only retention' etc. Reminder, Joe root arguably your greatest batsman ever, has not won a single test in Australia. Your goat bowlers, broad 1 and Anderson 3 wins in their entire careers. " Indeed, as I might have mentioned, it's been slim pickings Down Under!

12.27pm: Steady rain now, but Bairstow is continuing with his keeping drills as the umbrellas go back up and main covers come back out. Oh no he's not. "Bairstow has conceded and is heading off," Gnasher adds. Bleaky McBleakface.

On the subject of that mooted 1pm start time, Matt Roller clarifies: "I think that was 'if no further rain'. And there is a lot of further rain now."

Robin: "Andrew, let's take this break in play as opportunity to get this off my chest. This thing about winning outright and retention It's like putting a gloss on 2019. 'Ooh. So what if you hold the Ashes, you didn't win in our country.'Let's assume Australia merely retain them this time, win them at home, and retain again by drawing in 2027, would the English fans be happy due to some vacuous stat that Australia haven't won in England in 26 years or whatever?" Well, it's definitely something to cling to. After all, England's last win in Australia was 2010-11, a whole decade on from Australia's last win in England. And given the miserable campaigns both before and since that tour, any bragging rights are better than none…

12.18pm: Hello. At this bleak/joyful* juncture of your weekend's sporting arrangements, let's remember the wise words of Andy Dufresne while we stare pointlessly at the sky and pretend that there's any chance of play…

"Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

I hope the skies this afternoon are as blue as they have been in my head. I hope…

And talking of triumphs of optimism over crushingly efficient leviathans, Lewis Hamilton is on pole in Hungary this afternoon. Will he still be there at the first corner? Find out imminently, lights out at 2pm.

Brendan: "Do you think on his long journey to Zihuatanejo, Red took an oddly scheduled and completely unnecessary 40 minute break for lunch?" Of course. And no chance he'd have set off before 11am either…

11.58am: Right, as the players scramble for their gear in the dressing rooms and the sap rises for everyone watching on from afar, it's back over to Andrew Miller to dripfeed you the news from Manchester for a bit

11.52am: There will be a pitch inspection at 12.15pm, with lunch now brought forward to 12.20pm. How much of a window might we get? Miller has just hung his seaweed out of the window again, and it's not super promising

Max: "Everyone assuming that if there was time an English win would be a foregone conclusion, but that partnership yesterday has changed it a bit. If there were 5 full sessions left, not inconceivable that Marsh hits a run a ball 50 in the next session and Australia are thinking about setting a target." True, although Marnus all but ruled that out last night (in what was quite an amusing exchange)

11.46am: "Covers coming off!" squeals Vish Ehantharajah. It couldn't be happening, could it? Depending on where you get your weather, the radar remains very mucky - but, as Lloyd Christmas would put it: "So you're telling me there's a chance? YEAH!"

11.45am: Definite getting-your-hopes-up-(only-to-be-crushed) vibes at Old Trafford, where Martin Saggers has just been chatting to Matt Merchant, the head groundsman, out in the middle. It's not raining, the skies are a touch clearer, and every chance the clean-up operation will begin soon

11.40am: "Rain has almost stopped," teases Gnasher. Discussion on the ESPNcricinfo Slack channel currently centres on which cricket is currently being (or forecast to be) delayed by weather, and which isn't. As you can see, they're delayed in Dublin but playing Champo in Cheltenham (and no issues in Edinburgh either, for the T20 World Cup Europe qualifiers). Port of Spain might not be so lucky later

11.25am: "Steady rain at the moment," says Gnasher. As you were

Jezza, meanwhile, has got himself all riled up: "Are you printing those whiny letters from Shawry and Toby just to show that not only Poms can whinge. As a red-blooded Aussie I'm ashamed to hear such talk. We want to bat on, we want to grind out a real score and we're going to win at the Oval to take the trophy in true Aussie style."

And on a similar subject, here's Pete: "I hear what Toby is saying, and there's no doubt England have had some good fortune this series. But answer this: if this match is washed out, and England win the final game of the series, how good will Australian fans (and the team) feel about retaining the urn?"

"Raining in Wellington too and about 5 degrees," reports Jeremy. "It is Winter here though." Good time to sit back and reflect on the drama at the Basin in February...

"Optimistic England fan here - watch this space, England need FIFTEEN overs to win today," yelps Jake, optimistically

11.15am: Welcome to Ashes limbo. Conditions are... damp. Until we get word otherwise, you're best off assuming it is still raining

"I love how England are acting like they are the only side to ever miss out on a test match win due to weather. You've had the best luck all series, better conditions, won ALL FOUR tosses plus you are automatically one game fresher because we're coming off the WTC final. So no a hollow victory this will not be. It sucks sure but hey, that's cricket." I think the main disappointment is not getting the decide the series clearly deserves, Toby. But, yes, as Marnus said last night, Australia's only concern is to secure the urn - and, if it does rain all day here, they'll be hoping to banish any talk of fortune by winning outright next week

"Don't know if it will help but it is raining here in Bengaluru too." No hope at all, Akul. But appreciate the solidarity

Alfred: "Wearing my Michael Vaughan (at this ground eighteen years ago) hat, I'd say it's the moral victory that the Australians are hoping for a washed-out draw." The difference on this occasion, of course, is that a draw will seal the fate of the Ashes (until the Bazball Bus arrvies down under for 2025-26's tonkathon...)

11am: The rain has eased a little, according to Gnasher, but the umbrellas remain up and thah'll no be an inspection from the umpires just yet. Presumably, up in the England dressing room, Brendon McCullum is repeating his mantra to the players: "We're too lucky for it to rain all day." Stuart Broad wrote about the coach's optimism in his newspaper column, saying it would be "unjust" if the weather robbed England of a chance to win - you can read his thoughts in more detail over on the Live Report. But for now, it looks like Australia are living up to their "lucky country" sobriquet

"Unexpectedly quite bright and sunny here in Brizzle," says Samuel, perkily. "Decamp to the southwest and get it done I say."

And Thewullsta has this: "Utterly unbelievable that just 17 miles and less than 30 minutes down the road as the crow flies in leafy Cheshire, the actual sun-thing is out and we've not had rain since 9. Harrumph. Would willingly swap weather! "

GMC: "As a huge England fan I have managed to convince myself that I am more comfortable with the Aussies sneaking a draw (with the help of the weather) after the mighty impressive partnership yesterday. Without it they may well have lost the game already so at least they have 'earned' the draw a bit more…? Nah, rubbish. Get into 'em Stoksey!!!!"

Shawry: "England have an amazing record for not losing Ashes series at home, and the weather has play a significant role in that. Only fair for one to go the other way." Not sure the stats would back you up there, Shawry - although "Is it cowardly to pray for rain?" was coined here in 2005

10.40am: Look away now, England fans: it has started raining again. Further covers have been brought on, and that 11am inspection looks to be in jeopardy. "Proper rain," says Matt, "of the wet variety (as Mark Church would say)." Hopefully we're not doing this again next weekend, when we're down on Churchy's manor - although the current forecast for The Oval isn't great, either

"@Alan WHY didn't they start the game an hour earlier if it wasn't raining at 10AM? It shows sports are clearly being controlled by broadcasters!" There's room to grumble about English intransigence on Test starts times, ShahSafeer... but not on this occasion. It's wetter than an otter's pocket at EOT, and they would never have been able to start at 10am

Here's Alex: "Australian here. This isn't how I'd like to retain the Ashes, although yesterday's efforts were epic. The Oval will still matter, at least for bragging rights. If it ends up 2-2, it's fair to say that's really 3-2 to England." Yes, it's certainly not over, with Australia still hoping for a first series win here since 2001 (and England gunning to stop them)

"So, it really is grim up north?" Incontrovertibly so, MickeyS. Although, as mentioned, us southerners might have to take our medicine if these scenes are reenacted in Kennington

10.30am: Looking fairly dry at Old Trafford right now, with Sky beginning their broadcast down by the side of the pitch. The fourth umpire, Martin Saggers, has been patrolling the outfield and the groundstaff are running a rope around right now. Whisper it, but if the forecast rain doesn't arrive in the next hour or so, they might be a chance to get on...

Before we get too excited, though, let's dial it down and recap. Yesterday, we got more action than many expected, and Australia dug in to chisel 101 off the deficit for the loss of one wicket. Their main man was Marnus, back in the groove for the first time this series - Matt Roller wrote about Labuschagne's timely return to form for Australia, which included an unusual request around a replacement ball. And while England's hope hang in the balance, Marcus Trescothick was hopeful of pushing for the win today, rather than spending more time watching the Open

10am: We do have progress, of sorts: there will be a pitch inspection at 11am (provided it doesn't start raining, of course). There was heavy overnight train and the outfield has taken the brunt of it. Our correspondents at the ground can't agree exactly how dank it is currently, but seems like there's some mizzle in the air at the very least. Anyway, go and make yourself a brew, then sit tight for more news

They're happy down under, at least... Drew: "Wonderful news. Keep raining. Australia finally have something going their way. Rain to secure the Ashes!"

9.45am: "It's raining," reports Gnasher from Old Trafford, in what could be the theme for the day. The groundstaff had been out there trying to get things ready, with ECB men's managing director Rob Key lending a hand/watching on... But that may now be moot. Just in case, though, we have been provided with updated session times (in the surprising event that things get going as per the schedule):

Morning session: 11:00 - 13:15

Lunch: 13:15 - 13:55

Afternoon session: 13:55 - 16:10

Tea: 16:10 - 16:30

Evening session: 16:30 - 18:30

Final hour begins after 83 overs

98 overs to be bowled

8.55am Good morning weather-watchers. Welcome back to The Ashes: Final Reckoning. Is there a chance of play today, and a chance for England to take five wickets to square the series and set up an Oval decider? Ahem… I'm not counting any chickens, putting it that way!

end of over 71Maiden
AUS: 214/5CRR: 3.01 
Cameron Green3 (15b)
Mitchell Marsh31 (107b 4x4)
Moeen Ali 13-2-44-0
Joe Root 6-1-32-1

6.30pm So, this Test - and this series - moves inexorably to its endgame. Is there any hope of a break in the weather tomorrow? Can England continue to chip away before Australia break into a lead. Will we go to The Oval with the Ashes locked at 2-2, or with Australia's first objective complete, for the fourth consecutive series. We'll be back bright and early with a dangling of the seaweed. From Miller, Alan and Ranjith, good night!

Anirudha : "Let's just appreciate Australian batters for grinding it out. Losing just 5 wickets in 70 overs deserves, they did a fine job. " They did. It was a seriously tough scenario, after such a long delay, and they aced it.

Hajji49: "Credit where credit is due. England got their 30 over window and could only prise out 1 wicket. Marnus and Marsh did splendid work out there today. Maybe England prayed so hard for a break in the weather that they forgot to pray for wickets to go along with it too. "

6.26pm The umpires have just poked their heads into the dressing-rooms after an inspection. I suspect they've given a heads-up about the impending close. And so it proves. That is the close of play.

6.20pm We're nearly there for today. No real prospect of a resumption. Keep sending in those #PoliteEnquiries

Sohail: "Had England won the last Ashes, they won't be ruing the weather so much here." That prospect was a longer shot than getting any play tomorrow, to be honest. We've got a bit of a wait to discover if the Bazball mentality can have better luck Down Under... the fact that it can't do worse is half the battle won!

6.10pm I think it's only a matter of time before we pull the plug here. The mop-up will take 45 minutes, you'd imagine, which would take us past the 7pm cut-off for being back on the field.

Rajesh: "I disagree with everyone. Eng should have done better in the first two tests. You don't wait till it's too late and brag about rain and light." Probably true, but hard to deny they've fought back hard.

Jarv: "Any news on why Marnus didn't walk after edging behind? I suspect there is a different rule for him and Stuart Broad" Maybe he was waiting for the umpire to make a decision? It's generally the best policy. Non-issue!

Bilal: "No matter on which side of stokes's decision you are, thing is, it's extremely hard to wrap up a test match in three and a half days. The fact that we are at this stage of the game where England can even think about a win is quite an achievement on its own."

Karl: "You can't make decisions as a captain on the assumption of virtually two full days of rain. Stokes will receive some criticism if the weather scuppers English hopes but unfairly so in my opinion."

Wobbler: "Shame about the weather, sad to see a match possibly decided this way. Let's hope tomorrow picks up. " It doesn't look very promising right now, to be honest. Everything that's blown through today is due to do a handbrake turn over the North Sea and plunge back on down from the North. But, we got some gaps against all expectation today... we can but wait and see.

5.55pm Closing in again. Very dank. It increasingly feels like we are done for today. And if so, Australia have taken a huge stride towards retaining the Ashes. Labuschagne and Marsh were calm and composed throughout their 103-run stand, and the deficit has dwindled to a less daunting 61.

CJ: "Stokes decision made sense, if they'd declared earlier they'd already be behind. Every run they made yesterday against a ragged and exhausted bowling attacking the sun is one they won't have to make against a fresh bowling attacking the gloom in the fourth innings." Yep, that's how I'd read it too.

5.46pm Still raining. The teams must be back on the field by 7pm for a resumption, but we're a way away from a break in the clouds. There is another day to come, of course, but if you thought today's forecast was apocalyptic...

Meanwhile, get your #PoliteEnquiries in for Matt and Vish. And don't forget the hashtag!

Shailendra : "Hey Andrew, what's the seaweed predicting as of now?" The seaweed is not getting its hopes up about a resumption. Lovely weather on Monday though!

Pressan : "Can't really wrap my head about vindication of stokes' decision. If anything to me it shows how delayed it was. I think their best shot of winning was always chasing something around 150 with limited overs in between breaks. " Four innings instead of three though. Beats me. There's probably no right answer

5.40pm Still pretty bleak out there, a ring of stewards on the outfield but nothing productive from a restart point of view.

Vikash: "Who sips tea at 5PM! Isn't it almost time for dinner " Well, me for starters. Talking of which ...

5.31pm It's got a touch lighter for now, but no movement on the covers. We revert to the waiting game. Either way, that passage of play perhaps vindicates Stokes' decision to bat on yesterday. Australia still a significant way from parity, after batting with comfort against the seamers this afternoon.

Tom: "Something for all to consider. Australia are averaging 20.48 per wkt after the 5th wkt falls this series. That would give them a lead of 40."

5.18pm The drizzle is getting heavier now, Gnasher reports. "Full covers coming on." This is much as the radar was anticipating. There is, however, a definite chance of more play. We can go to 7.30pm tonight, so there might yet be another hour, light permitting. The mopping-up operation may be a factor too, however. But watch this space.

Adrian Meredith: "I haven't cheered for rain so much in all of my cricketing life!"

Mark: "Raining in Warrington now and heading in your direction. " That's to the South-West, and yes, it is.

5.13pm: "Sheet being dragged on," reports Matt R. "A squall. While Finchy the Barmy Army trumpeter plays the Great Escape over the PA." Bowlers' run-ups being covered for now. The crowd are enjoying themselves, but the Sky team are beginning to get a bit wet as they do their pitchside tea update

EssarBanday: "Bad news: I am a 15 minutes drive from the Old Trafford. It's raining. Hope it goes away ASAP. "

5.07pm: Having said that the rain has stayed away, there's a bit of drizzle in the air again. The hover cover is in place, we'll have to wait and see if conditions are good enough to restart straight away after tea

5.03pm: Aaaaaaaaand breathe. Tea will be taken, Australia still five wickets down, but having to do this the hard way. The weather has held off and we managed to get 30 overs in during the session - 30 more than many expected today. England only managed to take one wicket, but it was a big one, Marnus Labuschagne edging behind after reaching his first Ashes hundred in England. Australia are still in the hole but they bat deep - and will only have to face spin this evening, unless the light improves. But the game is moving, and that's all we can ask for. Join Miller again in 15

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

spin and bounce, past the inside edge, it deflects off the pads to slip.... England think there's bat involved, but Joel Wilson isn't convinced. Stokes reviews with the last action before tea, another massive moment. But this one is smoke and mirrors, clearly no inside edge as the ball turned into the front pad (also not lbw, as he was well outside the line of off). Green survives

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

straighter line and tapped back

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

looped wide of off stump, Green gets across and pushes it away

"A Cowan for Mitch Marsh, well played," says Bineal. Or a Dentury, as we call 'em over here

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

gives it a bit more air outside off, Green punches back past the bowler to mid-off

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

pushed through, he's again propping out to defend on off

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

floated up full, Green stretches out that big front leg and blocks

Probably the last over before tea

end of over 70Maiden
AUS: 214/5CRR: 3.05 
Mitchell Marsh31 (107b 4x4)
Cameron Green3 (9b)
Joe Root 6-1-32-1
Moeen Ali 12-1-44-0

Here's Nick, with some important correspondence: "If any non-cricket fan wants a good indication of our superstitions, my whole household is currently upset with my brother for causing Marnus' dismissal cause he didn't have his feet in the air (which is the widely-known remedy for the bad luck applied by Nelson)"

Root to Marsh, no run

fizzed down straight and blocked again

Root to Marsh, no run

slips in the arm ball, hint of swing with the seam stood up like a rudder, Marsh covers it in defence

"It'll happen quickly here, lads," chirps Bairstow behind the stumps

Root to Marsh, no run

slightly quicker on off stump, defended on the front foot

Root to Marsh, no run

slower pace, skidding towards leg stump and Marsh has to readjust, jabs behind square

Root to Marsh, no run

goes back and taps this down in front of short leg

Root to Marsh, no run

lobbed up on the stumps, prodded away

end of over 69Maiden
AUS: 214/5CRR: 3.10 
Cameron Green3 (9b)
Mitchell Marsh31 (101b 4x4)
Moeen Ali 12-1-44-0
Joe Root 5-0-32-1

"Only if Brook had gotten Abdullah Shafique's fingers.... Root would have had 2 right there!" Yes, Saadk, that was... freakish

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

pushed through, Green covers this one and defends

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

gives this some air wide of off stump and it the spins in, past the inside edge this time and hits Green in the midriff

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

on the stumps and worked leg side

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

beats the outside edge, nicely looped and drifting away, past the bat and then into the keeper's gloves

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

flighted, around off stump and spinning, Green gets the hands away from his body but covers it, tapped to mid-on again

Moeen Ali to Green, no run

floated up from over the wicket, pushed down to mid-on

Slip, leg slip and short leg for Moeen to Green

end of over 683 runs • 1 wicket
AUS: 214/5CRR: 3.14 
Mitchell Marsh31 (101b 4x4)
Cameron Green3 (3b)
Joe Root 5-0-32-1
Moeen Ali 11-0-44-0
Root to Marsh, no run

tossed up outside off, Marsh plunges forward to block

Root to Marsh, no run

squirts off the inside edge, just hits the fingertips of Brook at short leg! Went down quickly, an almost impossible catch, but if it had stuck... Almost two in the over for Root

"What an excellent test match from YJB's perspective." The eyes had it, Snehil. He knew

Best performances - batters
Spike Graph
Wagon Zone
Z Crawley
189 runs (182)
21 fours3 sixes
Productive shot
cover drive
40 runs
7 fours0 six
M Labuschagne
111 runs (173)
10 fours2 sixes
Productive shot
19 runs
1 four0 six
Best performances - bowlers
CR Woakes
JR Hazlewood
Match details
Old Trafford, Manchester
TossEngland, elected to field first
Player Of The Match
Series resultAustralia led the 5-match series 2-1
Match numberTest no. 2512
Hours of play (local time)11.00 start, Lunch 13.00-13.40, Tea 17.00-17.20, Close 19.00
Match days19,20,21,22,23 July 2023 - day (5-day match)
TV Umpire
Reserve Umpire
Match Referee
PointsAustralia -6, England 1
AskESPNcricinfo Logo
Instant answers to T20 questions
Australia Innings
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ICC World Test Championship