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Rain plays spoilsport on Final day, England retain the Ashes

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Rain played spoilsport on Day 5 of the Third Ashes Test Match, as only 20.3 overs were bowled on the Final Day and forced the test match to be declared as a draw. With the result, England retain the Ashes, having already won the First Two test matches at Trent Bridge and Lord's.

The forecast for the day predicted heavy rains, and Australia's chances of going for a victory were shattered early when the 10 am start time for the Day's Play began to slip. After an hour of delay due to rain, the covers finally came off at 11 am. Australia decided to declare on their over-night total of 172-7, thus setting England a target of 332 to win in the Fourth Innings.

England's chase of 332 got off to a bad start, as they lost skipper Alastair Cook to Ryan Harris for a 9-ball duck in the 3rd over, when he missed a straight delivery and was rapped on the pads. Cook decided to review the decision, but Hawk-Eye was conclusive in this case, and umpire Tony Hill's on-field call stayed. Starc and Harris bowled a fiery spell, with great pace and aggression in Australia's attempt to go for the kill and pick up wickets. After three consecutive maidens in overs 10,11 and 12, Trott fell to the pressure built by the tight bowling, as he nicked one off Ryan Harris down the leg-side, to be dismissed for 11, England were 15-2 at this stage.

Michael Clarke began ringing the changes, and brought on off-spinner Nathon Lyon in the 14th over, and then Peter Siddle for the first time in the innings in the very next.  The move to bring on Siddle nearly worked as he managed to square up Joe Root, only for Clarke to drop a rare catch at second slip. Siddle however struck gold in his very next over, as he had Kevin Pietersen driving at a wide delivery, and caught by wicket-keeper Brad Haddin. Pietersen decided to use England's last remaining review in the innings, but the on-field umpire's call stayed though Hot Spot did not show any sign of an edge. Pietersen walked off furiously after the final decision and was dismissed for a 16-ball 8. Siddle and Lyon continued to bowl tight and aggressively, as England went into lunch after 20 overs at 35-3 at 13:05 local time.

The players came back on to play at 13:55 local time, as dark clouds loomed all over the ground. Peter Siddle bowled three deliveries, including one that shot off a good length and wrapped Ian Bell on the knuckles, before the rain started coming down again, and Australia were forced to head back to the pavilion. Much to Australia and Michael Clarke's misery, the rain did not relent, and after three inspections, play was officially called off at 16:40 local time. The match was thus a draw and England had retained the Ashes.

Clarke was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his knock of 187 in the first innings, though he was openly disappointed with the end result owing largely due to the poor weather conditions on the final two days.

The Fourth Test takes place at Chester-le-Street in and starts on 9 August.

Mini Scorecard

Australia 527-7 decl. (146 overs, 3.60 runs/over)

M Clarke 187 (314) G Swann 5-159 (43)

S Smtih 89 (196) S Broad 1-108 (33)

England 368 all out (139.3 overs, 2.63 runs/over)

K Pietersen 113 (206)  P Siddle 4-63 (29.3)

A Cook 62 (177) M Starc 3-76 (27)

Australia 172-7 decl. (36 overs, 4.77 runs/over)

D Warner 41 (57) T Bresnan 2-25 (6)

M Clarke 30* (32) J Anderson 2-37 (8)

England 37-3 (20.3 overs, 1.80 runs/over)

J Root 13* (57) R Harris 2-13 (7)

J Trott 11 (27) P Siddle 1-8 (3.3)

Result : Match Drawn