Play has been abandoned on Day Four of the fifth Ashes 2013 Test at The Oval due to persistent rain. Not a single ball was bowled on Saturday and an early stumps was called for by the umpires after surveying the conditions.
The umpires had earlier called for an early lunch, hoping to get as much play as possible, but it wasn’t to be. The match has already been affected by rain as the entire morning session on Day Two was washed out without a ball being bowled.
This has reduced Australia’s fading chances to win a consolation match in the five-match series. England retained the Ashes at Old Trafford and won the series at Chester-le-Street to take a 3-0 lead heading into the Oval Test.
England were at 247 for four in their first innings at stumps on Day Three with Ian Bell batting on 29 and Chris Woakes on 15. They trail Australia’s 492 for nine declared by 245 runs. England began the day at 32 for no loss. Since the morning session was lost on Day Two, a total of 98.3 overs were bowled on Day Three to compensate. But on a slowing pitch, the England batsmen scored only 215 runs in the day.
Joe Root (68) got to his third half-century in Tests, while Kevin Pietersen (50) reached his 32nd half-century. It was Pietersen’s third slowest in Tests, coming in 127 balls. Alastair Cook was dismissed for 25 by Ryan Harris earlier in the day as Brad Haddin caught behind the wickets. Haddin is now just two dismissals behind Rodney Marsh’s world record mark of 28 for a wicketkeeper in a Test series.
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon got the wicket of Root. His sweep took a top-edge and Shane Watson took the catch at short fine-leg. Jonathan Trott scored 40 off 134 balls before being dismissed by Mitchell Starc leg-before. Starc also accounted for Pietersen’s wicket. He edged a wide delivery to Watson at first slip.
Woakes got his first Test runs with a four off the very first ball he faced. That made him the first England batsman to score a four off the first ball faced since Richard Johnson against Zimbabwe in 2003 at Chester-le-Street.
Australia 492 for 9 decl. (Shane Watson 176, Steven Smith 138*, Ryan Harris 33; James Anderson 4 for 95, Graeme Swann 2 for 95) lead England 247 for four (Joe Root 68, Jonathan Trott 40, Kevin Pietersen 50; Mitchell Starc 2 for 60) by 245 runs.
(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)