Australia retained the Ashes after the fourth Test against England at Old Trafford ended in a rain-affected draw, with bad weather meaning no play was possible on Sunday’s final day.
The result ensured Australia, as the holders, kept the Ashes at 2-1 up with one match left in the series – regardless of the result of next week’s fifth Test at the Oval in London.
England needed to take five more wickets in Manchester on the final day of a thrilling fourth test to level the series at 2-2 and ensure the final test at the Oval in London next week was a decider, but the wet weather broke home hearts.
The result meant England cannot win the series and therefore Australia, as holders, would retain the Ashes.
Having won the last test at Headingley, England did everything within their power to storm back and restore parity in the series in Manchester.
After posting a colossal 592 in their first innings – their highest Ashes innings total on home soil since 1985 – in reply to Australia’s 317 all out, they were frustrated as the tourists battled well on a rain-hit day four to reach 214-5 in their second innings.
Australia still needed 61 to make England bat again, or stay at the crease through to stumps on day five to earn the draw that would ensure they remained holders of the Urn.
The Manchester weather, however, came to their aid, as not a single ball was possible in torrential rain, ensuring that England’s eight-year wait for a series victory that would wrest the Ashes back from Australia would continue.
There is still plenty to play for next week at the Oval, especially for Australia, who can secure their first series win on English soil since 2001.