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Heavy rain causes draw

With every drop of rain that fell, Michael Clarke’s victory push was further dampened.

With every drop of rain that fell, Michael Clarke’s victory push was further dampened.

England retained the Ashes after heavy rain on the final day at Old Trafford resulted in the third Test of the series being drawn today.

Australia needed to win to stand any chance of taking back the urn and made a promising start, only for the weather to ultimately prevent them from mounting a victory challenge.

A shortened morning session had seen the tourists strike three times to lift their hopes but after lunch the heavens opened and the players were not able to get back on.

The result leaves England 2-0 up with two Tests remaining and Alastair Cook’s side will now set their sights on winning a third straight Ashes series outright.

Overnight rain meant play could not commence until 11:30 a.m. and when it did Australia had predictably declared on 172 for 7 to leave the hosts a victory target of 332.

With more rain expected to fall later in the day, Michael Clarke’s side knew that early wickets were a necessity and their bowlers responded with a fine display to reduce England to 37-3 before play was abandoned.

Ryan Harris claimed his first scalp before a run had even been put on the board, England skipper Cook being trapped plumb lbw for a duck, with an ill-advised review being unable to save him.

Australia’s bowlers kept the pressure on as Joe Root took 26 balls to get off the mark, while Jonathan Trott made 11 before nicking Harris down the leg side to be caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

That brought first-innings centurion Kevein Pietersen to the crease and the right-hander made just eight before being the latest player to fall victim to a DRS controversy.

Pietersen was given out caught behind off the bowling of Peter Siddle, but opted to review the call. Although nothing showed up on ‘Hot Spot’, the presence of a faint noise as the ball passed the bat was enough for third umpire Kumar Dharmasena to uphold the on-field decision by Tony Hill.

Root went into lunch unbeaten on 13 off 57 balls, although he was lucky to survive after edging to second slip only for Clarke to drop a straightforward catch. Ian Bell was with him on two not out at the end of the session.

The start of the afternoon session was delayed by 20 minutes following another shower, and only three balls were possible before the rain started again, this time for good. (Sky)

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