Bowled Over – Fifth test falls to bad light – By Luqman Liaqat

England missed out on a chance to record a 4-0 Ashes victory over Australia for the first time as they fell agonisingly short of chasing down 227 on the final day in the fifth test at the Kia Oval.

Still requiring 21 with four overs and five wickets in hand, umpires Aleem Darr and Kumar Dharmasena decided the light was too poor to continue with play, leading to the players walking off to a chorus of boos from the capacity crowd.

After the Australian skipper Michael Clarke won the toss and chose to bat first, David Warner fell early driving at James Anderson which wicket-keeper Matt Prior held behind.

But Shane Watson had other ideas as he hit himself back in form taking the assault onto the England new boys Chris Woakes and off-spinner Simon Kerrigan. Watson scored 28 runs from Kerrigan’s first two overs to move onto 80 as Australia reached lunch at 112-1.

England fought back in the middle session as Graeme Swann removed Rogers (21) and then Anderson nipped a full delivery past Clarke’s defence for just seven.

At the other end, Watson kept his composure to reach his first 100 in 48 innings with a drive through the covers off Anderson. Only 71 runs came from the second session with two wickets going down as Australia moved to 183-3 at tea.

Watson found a good partner in Steve Smith in the final session, who hit eight hours and a six. Woakes had Watson given out for lbw on 166 but the review showed the ball completely missing the stumps.

England finally had him for a devastating 176 when hit a short ball from Stuart Broad straight to Kevin Pietersen on the square leg boundary. With Peter Siddle joining Smith on 66 the pair saw out the remaining overs as Australia closed day one on 307-4.

The second day didn’t get underway until 14:30 to the annoyance of the capacity crowd waiting to see some action at the Kia Oval.

Broad and Anderson found movement under the clouds, as Siddle (23) was bowled out by Anderson with a beauty. Smith drove Anderson through the covers to move into the nineties and a mighty six off Swann took him from 94 onto a century before he raised his arms in delight.

Brad Haddin’s partnership of 65 with Smith was over when he chopped a full delivery from the unlikely wicket-taker Jonathon Trott back onto his stumps as the Aussies reached 397-6 at tea on day two.

Woakes had his first Test wicket when debutant James Faulkner (23 from 21 balls) miscued a pull shot to Trott.

Swann bowled out Mitchell Starc for 13 before Ryan Harris then smashed him over the top for a maximum twice.
Harris fired 33 off 27 balls before being caught and bowled by Anderson and Smith was still unbeaten on 138 before Clarke called it time on the innings at 492-9.

The hosts survived the remaining 17 overs in the day before bad light stopped play on 32-0.

Cook fell early on day three for 25 when Harris had him caught behind to Haddin. Root’s half-century included 11 boundaries and Trott supported him well as the pair moved England onto 97-1 at lunch.

After lunch, Nathan Lyon removed Root for 68 as the young Yorkshireman fell to Clarke’s plan as Watson held a sharp catch at short fine leg.

Trott only scored two fours as he grounded to 40 off 134 balls before Starc trapped him lbw in front of leg stump. Pietersen’s 133-ball century was his slowest in tests and surprisingly he hit only four boundaries.
Starc finally removed Pietersen (50) when a thick edge off a full delivery flew low to Watson at slip leaving England 217-4.

Ian Bell and debutant Woakes blocked out the final few overs to keep six wickets in hand in a session where only 66 runs were scored in 34 overs as England closed on 247-4.

Due to heavy overnight rain there was no play possible on day four, persistent rain continued through the morning and afternoon and play was eventually abandoned at 16:00 BST while England still needed 46 to avoid the follow-on.
Woakes was on his way for 25 when he attempted a drive off Harris which Clarke caught at second slip.

Broad only managed nine before Starc ripped his middle stump, allowing Swann to come and entertain the full house, the pair put on 48 for the eighth wicket taking the score on 350-7.
Prior (47) made his top score of series before attempting a third four in the over only for Starc to hold onto a stunning catch. Faulkner removed Anderson to claim figures of 4-51 on debut.

Swann hit two sixes off Lyon before hitting straight to the fielder in the deep as England were bowled out for 377.
Australia needed to score quick runs for any hope of a morale-boosting victory, which led to a clatter of wickets falling down in a thrilling contest.

Warner was superbly caught and bowled by Anderson for 12 and Watson holed out to Swann for 26. Broad (4-43) claimed the next four wickets to keep the tourists in check, Clarke scored an unbeaten 28 as Australia declared on 111-6.

In chase to the 227 set by Australia in 45 overs, Root departed for 11 nicking Harris behind to Haddin who claimed his 29th catch of the summer, a new Test series record.

Trott put on 64 with skipper Cook (34) before Pietersen arrived to gives the chase serious momentum. He registered the fastest Ashes fifty by an England batsman beating Prior’s record off 37 balls as the equation fell down to 62 runs still required from 64.

However Pietersen and Trott (59) fell in quick succession, leaving it down to Bell and Woakes. The pair put on 36 in 4.3 overs but the run out of Bell by Starc turned out to be the final action.

After a day which recorded 447, bad light stopped England from scoring another 21 runs to create history.
The draw gives England victory in a third consecutive Ashes series and the two rivals will face each again in the Ashes later this year down under. This tour continues to the T20 series starting on Thursday at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

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