The fifth and final Ashes 2013 Test ended in an anti-climatic draw on Day Five at the Oval. England were at 206 for five chasing a 227-run target with four overs left when the umpires stopped play for bad light. Within moments the conformation had come and the match had ended in a draw. England won the series 3-0 over arch-rivals Australia.
Australia had declared their second innings at 111 for six at tea setting England a target to chase in 44 overs. It was an extended session owing to the delayed start on Day Five and to make up for lost time due to the wash out on Day Four.
Alastair Cook got the run chase off with two fours from the very first over bowled by Ryan Harris. Joe Root also got two fours early on as the mood was set. But soon Root (11) edged one to Brad Haddin off Harris. With that catch, Haddin got to 29 dismissals and broke Rodney Marsh’s world record for most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in a Test series.
Jonathan Trott got off the mark with a four through mid-wicket. Harris then bowled one short to Trott, who hooked and got a four towards fine-leg evading the short fine-leg fielder. Cook then cut Nathan Lyon for a four before Trott pulled a Peter Siddle short ball for four. The atmosphere at The Oval by that time was getting better as the fans were beginning to rejoice the end of the Ashes.
The scoring was increasing and both Cook and Trott were finding the boundary with more ease. James Faulkner then trapped Cook (34) leg-before with a straight delivery. Kevin Pietersen looked in very good form and started scoring boundaries at will. He hit two fours off Faulkner before targeting Mitchell Starc to get another four. Pietersen then hit Lyon for a four in the extra-cover region. He then hit the off-spinner for another four towards point.
Starc then proved very expensive as Pietersen struck three fours in one over. Pietersen also reached his 33rd Test half-century. By this time Clarke had spread the field out to protect the boundaries. Trott also joined Pietersen and got to his half-century. This was his 18th. As Pietersen looked like he was taking England to victory, Clarke brought Harris on. Pietersen (62) lofted one in the air and David Warner took the catch at long-on.
Trott (59) got another four before getting too far across the stumps and got out leg-before to Faulkner. It started getting darker at The Oval and Clarke kept complaining to the umpires about the dropping light. Ian Bell (17) was then run-out by Starc with exactly four overs left. Chris Woakes was unbeaten on 17 and Matt Prior had just ran out to the middle. But the umpires checked the light metre and decided to stop play. And with that the match ended in a draw.
The day began with England at 247 for four, but raced to 350 for seven at lunch. They were later bowled out for 377. Australia came out to bat positively and added runs quickly. But in that process they also lost quick wickets. Clarke declared the innings with Australia leading by 226 runs. England also came out positively, but in the end it wasn’t to be.
This is the first time since the 1977 series that Australia failed to win a single match in the Ashes. Australia are also winless in their last nine matches, losing seven. England on the other hand have now gone unbeaten in 13 Test matches.
Australia 492 for 9 decl. (Shane Watson 176, Steven Smith 138*, Ryan Harris 33; James Anderson 4 for 95) and 111 for 6 decl. (Shane Watson 26, Michael Clarke 28*; Stuart Broad 4 for 43) drew with England 377 (Joe Root 68, Kevin Pietersen 50, Ian Bell 45, Matt Prior 47; James Faulkner 4 for 51, Mitchell Starc 3 for 92) and 206 for 5 (Jonathan Trott 59, Kevin Pietersen 62; Ryan Harris 2 for 21, James Faulkner 2 for 47).
(Shrikant Shankarpreviously worked with Mobile ESPN, where he did audio commentary for many matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20. He has also written many articles involving other sports for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)