Manchester: The fourth Ashes Test between England and Australia ended in a draw due to relentless rain that washed out play on the final two days at Old Trafford in Manchester. Despite England’s dominant performance throughout the match, Australia’s lead in the series proved decisive, allowing them to retain the coveted urn.
England skipper Ben Stokes expressed his disappointment after the match, stating that the result was difficult to accept, especially considering their dominant display against the visitors for the majority of the Test. Stokes emphasised the team’s determination to finish the series on a high note with a victory in the final Test at The Oval.
“It is a tough one to take, you know (the match ending in a draw). The kind of cricket we played on the first three days and to be on the wrong side of the weather, it is a tough one. But it is a part of the journey. I think coming into this game, it was a do-or-die game for us. Bowling them out for 320 and scoring 590, we could not do much. We will have a lot of pride to play the next game,” said Stokes in the post-match presentation.
“The injury to Pope made us think about the structure of the team. I am very pleased with everyone’s effort. I have been vocal about Crawley (Zak Crawley), what Zak does is he changes the game, the way he plays and the way he takes the bowlers on. That was an incredible innings, we knew an innings like that was not far away. Broad and Jimmy have been unbelievable examples. Broad loves the battle and he loves playing against Australia, he has a good record against them,” added Stokes.
Australia’s retention of the Ashes became official as the rain prevented any play on the fifth day. With a 2-1 lead in the series, Australia had done enough to ensure they would keep the urn even if the series ended in a 2-2 draw.
During the Test, Australia ended their second innings at 214/5, with Cameron Green (3*) and Mitchell Marsh (31*) remaining unbeaten. Marnus Labuschagne’s brilliant century away from home was a highlight of Australia’s batting, as he scored 111 runs in 173 balls, with 10 fours and two sixes.
England had earlier amassed an impressive total of 592 runs in their first innings in response to Australia’s 317. Zak Crawley led the charge with a spectacular maiden Ashes century, scoring 189 runs in 182 balls, including 21 fours and three sixes. The host’s top seven batters unleashed some heavy hitting, with impactful contributions from Moeen Ali (54), Joe Root (84), Harry Brook (61), Ben Stokes (51), and Jonny Bairstow (99*).
Josh Hazlewood’s five-wicket haul provided some respite for the Australian bowlers, while Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green took two wickets each, and Pat Cummins secured one wicket.
In the first innings, England’s bowling trio of Chris Woakes (5/62), Stuart Broad (2/68), and James Anderson (1/51) showcased their skill and ability to restrict Australia to 317.