As England suffers by the rain, Australia retains the Ashes

Ben Stokes observes as England's chances of tying the series vanish

After escaping a fourth Test in which England controlled with a draw that was spoiled by rain, Australia has successfully defended the Ashes. At The Oval the following week, they will have the chance to record the first series victory in England since 2001. They will leave Manchester on Monday morning with a 2-1 advantage.

Australia trailed by 61 runs in their second innings with five wickets left on the fifth day of the match at Emirates Old Trafford after only 30 overs of action were available on Saturday between showers. However, Sunday’s play was called off due to heavy rain, and the draw was finally announced at 5.24 p.m. without a ball being bowled.

The start of the fifth day at Emirates Old Trafford was delayed by overnight heavy rain, and scheduled inspections were subsequently postponed due to continuous showers that swept across the field. During a brief lunch break, the start time of 1pm was declared; however, the rain returned shortly after, and continued for the remainder of the afternoon.

The England players moved a football around on the field as if to indicate that they were ready to play, but they eventually went back to the changing rooms after becoming soaked. Puddles started to form on the outfield and there was a significant amount of standing water on the covers as the rain only got stronger.

The Party Stand was completely abandoned when the umpires made the decision to end play for the day since the vast bulk of the sold-out audience had left. Pat Cummins greeted Joel Wilson and Nitin Menon and then told his teammates they could celebrate by keeping the urn.

Only one wicket, taken by part-time off-spinner Joe Root who had Marnus Labuschagne caught behind, was taken by England during that period after the Australian had stalled the hosts’ victorious push with 111.

Old Trafford is infamous for weather delays; throughout Test cricket, the venue has now had 25 full days of play rained off, in addition to an additional two whole Tests being abandoned.

Thanks in large part to opener Zak Crawley’s magnificent 189 and an unbeaten 99 from Jonny Bairstow, England quickly reached 592 all out after holding world Test champions Australia to 317 in their first innings.

On Friday, fast bowler Mark Wood claimed three wickets while decimating Australia’s top order. However, Australia managed to fend off England on Saturday thanks to a 103-run stand between Labuschagne and Mitchell Marsh (31 unbeaten).

Due to Sunday’s outcome, England’s attempt to become just the second Ashes team to come back and win a series from 2-0 behind was unsuccessful.

The 1936–1937 Australia side came back from that deficit to win 3-2 thanks to batting legend Don Bradman’s inspiration.

The weather forecast will likely force England to “push the game on even more” than usual, according to Ben Stokes, who said there wasn’t much more they could have done in the lead-up to the Test. In their one innings, they scored at a rate of 5.49 runs per over and fielded for 161.2 overs while taking 15 wickets.

However, the Test match was only given 269 overs due to rain and sluggish over rates from both teams, which was not enough time for either team to win. After 12 victories and four losses in the 17 games England has played since Stokes was named captain last year, this was their first draw.

Australia’s victory guarantees that despite being outmatched for the last two Test matches, they cannot lose the series. They had a 2-1 lead when they left Manchester four years ago, but they lost at The Oval, squandering the chance to win the match outright. They will be eager to make up for that loss next week.

Australia 317 (Labuschagne 51, Marsh 51, Woakes 5-62) and 214 for 5 (Labuschagne 111) drew with England 592 (Crawley 189, Bairstow 99*, Root 84, Brook 61, Moeen 54, Stokes 51, Hazlewood 5-126)