Ashes 2013: Ashes joy but bad light denies England historic 4-0 victory over Australia

England denied historic 4-0 Ashes victory as umpires take teams off for bad light with just 21 runs needed

England completed a 3-0 victory in the Ashes on Sunday. It was their third successive series triumph against Australia, their fourth in the last five and until hell freezes over it will never be other than a cause for supreme joy in the land.

The outpouring of jubilation last night was as gushing and heartfelt as those which accompanied their great triumphs in 2005, 2009 and 2010-11. If that had seemed unlikely for most of the fifth Investec Test, it was made absolutely essential by the gloriously spirited manner in which they went about trying to acquire a thrilling and unprecedented fourth win in a home series.

But the mood was tempered by a feeling of frustration and annoyance among a crowd who had been regally entertained throughout the final day. There were four overs left of the series, England needed 21 more runs to win with five wickets in hand – a position which made possible by Michael Clarke’s necessarily generous declaration and England’s rediscovered sense of adventure – when the umpires decreed that the light was too unfit to continue.

Australia, who had indulged in time-wasting tactics to avert an unwelcome conclusion, barely disguised their rush for the dressing room. They were already the first team from their country for 36 years to fail to win a match in an Ashes series, they had narrowly avoided being the first of all to lose four to England in England.

Set 227 to win in 44 overs, England might well have made it. Thus the match ended in a draw but what a climax it had been, in utter contrast to what had gone before.  All the torpor of Friday, when England proceeded at a funereal rate, and the gloom of a washed out Saturday, which was entertaining by comparison, were banished in a scintillating denouement.

The platform for an unprecedented triumph was perfectly erected for Kevin Pietersen at the start and he built on it rapidly and hungrily. It was the scenario for which such players yearn and he seized the moment.

When Pietersen came to the crease, England need 141 runs from 24 overs. Immediately, he plonked his foot front well down the wicket and boomed a series of fours. He never stopped booming. His 62 came from 55 balls, with the field spread far and wide and had he managed to stay around for another over it might have been England’s day.

Pietersen was accompanied in a partnership of 141 by Jonathan Trott, who compensated for a quiet series by composing a bristling 59, his best score in the five matches. If it needed Pietersen to make the win possible, Trott recognised precisely what he had to do in giving his partner the strike and batting in a decisive yet measured fashion.

Ian Bell stroked 17 at a run a ball, still not wholly throwing aesthetics out of the window, Chris Woakes was not overawed. But, after Bell was run out trying and then deciding against a sharp single, day was turning to night. The match and the series were done.

Only Test cricket is capable of doing this, of permitting such a dramatic transformation when the only destination seemed to be another trip to dullsville. On this occasion, it derived almost entirely from the tourists’ desire to win.

Clarke, Australia’s captain, threw the match wide open after tea after a day which had already been at complete odds with the way it had previously been played. There was an urgency, a desire to entertain that appeared to have been mislaid.

It ended in the highest of drama. The overs were ticking by, the night was drawing in, Australia, hardly surprisingly were indulging in time-wasting gactics. England arrived at the last six overs of the series needing exactly a run a ball. In truth, despite the floodlights, it was barely fit for play in a club evening league.  Both batsmen and bowlers could hardly pick up the ball.

The fifth day brought 447 runs and 17 wickets, breathless stuff on any day of any Test, hardly creditable in the context of this match. The game simply never stopped moving. Perhaps sore at the criticism meted out to them for their strategy on the third day, perhaps aware that it was time for a bit of fun, England batted with gusto after a slightly delayed start.

Matt Prior found his best form of the summer, batting the way that suits him best, Graeme Swann enjoyed himself enormously. England added 116 in 28 overs, their best scoring rate of the series. James Faulkner, the Australian debutant who had railed against their tactics in a press conference the previous night, took four cheap wickets.

Australia then had to decide how they wanted to play it. Once more they juggled their batting order and came out slugging through Shane Watson. Faulkner, at three joined in and Clarke made 28 from 28 balls. Their pursuit of glory and quick runs meant that wickets were lost. At tea, Clarke called it a day at 111 for 6 from 23 overs.

What would England do? They went for the line, not in any overt way at first, not stupidly. But Alastair Cook ensured the board ticked over and Joe Root’s waft at the estimable Ryan Harris was proof of what they intended. Clarke pursued victory of his own for long enough. He had stationed, slips, short-legs, leg-gullies and the other close fielding paraphernalia needed if his side were to have a chance of bowling out. That is what he wanted.

The advent of Pietersen forced him to retreat. It was compelling stuff for a while and a win which England really seemed not to deserve loomed into view. They arrived at the last 15 overs needing 85.

But things changed, perhaps irrevocably, when Pietersen slightly underclubbed one.  Bell came  and reminded everyone why he was man of the series. The job was done. It was not achieved in epic circumstances but it was another moment of history for England.

Stephen Brenkley's England reports

Alastair Cook

Third disappointing Ashes series out of four but his studious, undemonstrative leadership tells its own story. 7

Joe Root

Welcome to tough Test cricket, young man. One compelling innings at Lord’s, lots to admire but plenty to do to nail opening role. 6

Jonathan Trott

Gave it a bash yesterday, but acute field settings and short bowling restricted his usual scoring opportunities. 5

Kevin Pietersen

Not himself on slow pitches - until the very last – but his clear desire to contribute may well be aided by quicker surfaces in Australia. 7

Ian Bell

Wonderful to watch in each of his three hundreds, all scored in adversity. Much more to come from him now. 9

Johnny Bairstow

Dropped for final match and never convinced in a pivotal position. Important few months ahead. 4

Matt Prior

One poor series, alleviated by brisk innings yesterday, does not diminish his status as world’s best keeper-batsman. Will appreciate faster pitches in Australia. 5

Tim Bresnan

Enhanced his reputation as a reliable, no frills all-rounder. Needs to prove fitness to be on tour. 7

Stuart Broad

One incisive spell at Durham made his series. Forget the peripheral stuff, he can win matches. 8

Graeme Swann

Telling contribution at Lord’s, effective work elsewhere, continues to haunt left-handers. A smart player. 8

Jimmy Anderson

Hit the ground running at Trent Bridge, weary because of workload, must be looked after to ensure durability. 7

Steve Finn

Played only one match, if he has sorted run-up problems, his best years still lie ahead of him as tall, genuine speed merchant. 4

Chris Woakes

Solid cricketer, learning all the time, in certain conditions could be useful. 6

Simon Kerrigan

Froze on the day. An odd pick and it is to be hoped he has another chance down the track. 4

Series Averages


Name Runs Ave

Ian Bell 562 (10 inns) 62.44

Chris Woakes 42 (2) 42.00

Kevin Pietersen 388 (10) 38.80

Joe Root 339 (10) 37.66

Jonathan Trott 293 (10) 29.30

Jonny Bairstow 203 (7) 29.00

Alastair Cook 277 (10) 27.70

Tim Bresnan 103 (5) 25.75

Stuart Broad 179 (7) 25.57

Graeme Swann 126 (7) 25.20

Matt Prior 133 (8) 19.00

James Anderson 36 (7) 7.20

Steven Finn 2 (2) 2.00

Simon Kerrigan 1 (1) -


Name Wickets Ave

Joe Root 3 (4 inns) 11.33

Stuart Broad 22 (10) 27.45

Jonathan Trott 1 (3) 28.00

Graeme Swann 26 (10) 29.03

James Anderson 22 (10) 29.59

Tim Bresnan 10 (6) 29.60

Steven Finn 2 (2) 58.50

Chris Woakes 1 (1)

Oval scoreboard

England v Australia

The Kia Oval (Fifth day of five):  England drew with Australia

Australia won toss

AUSTRALIA  First Innings  492-9 dec. (Watson 176, Smith 138no, Anderson 4-95)

ENGLAND  First Innings  Overnight 247-4 (Root 68, Pietersen 50)

I R Bell c Haddin b Faulkner 45

143 balls 5 fours

C R Woakes c Clarke b Harris 25

70 balls 5 fours

†M J Prior c Starc b Faulkner 47

57 balls 8 fours

S C J Broad b Starc 9

16 balls 1 four

G P Swann b Faulkner 34

24 balls 1 six 5 fours

J M Anderson c Haddin b Faulkner 4

10 balls 1 four

S C Kerrigan not out 1

12 balls

Extras (b11 lb10 w5 nb3) 29

Total (144.4 overs) 377

Fall: 1-68, 2-118, 3-176, 4-217, 5-269, 6-299, 7-315, 8-363, 9-368.

Bowling: M A Starc 33-5-92-3 (2nb, 2wd) (3-0-9-0; 2-1-1-0; 8-1-21-0; 5-1-11-0; 5-2-6-1; 3-0-12-1; 5-0-19-0; 2-0-13-1), R J Harris 28-10-64-2 (1nb) (3-3-0-0; 4-0-14-0; 6-3-5-1; 4-1-7-0; 3-1-7-0; 3-1-8-0; 5-1-23-1), J P Faulkner 19.4-3-51-4 (3-0-8-0; 4-2-9-0; 3-1-5-0; 2-0-7-0; 4-0-11-1; 3.4-0-11-3), P M Siddle 28-7-74-0 (1wd) (10-4-18-0; 2-0-8-0; 4-1-10-0; 2-1-1-0; 3-0-9-0; 3-0-12-0; 4-1-16-0), N M Lyon 28-8-59-1 (3-0-8-0; 14-4-23-1; 4-0-9-0; 5-4-1-0; 2-0-18-0), S P D Smith 8-3-16-0 (5-1-15-0; 3-2-1-0)

AUSTRALIA  Second Innings

D A Warner c & b Anderson 12

28 balls 2 fours

S R Watson c Pietersen b Swann 26

32 balls 1 six 2 fours

J P Faulkner c Prior b Broad 18

22 balls 1 six

†B J Haddin c Prior b Broad 0

1 balls

*M J Clarke not out 28

28 balls 3 fours

S P D Smith c Swann b Broad 7

12 balls

R J Harris b Broad 1

2 balls

M A Starc not out 13

13 balls 2 fours

Extras (b4 lb2) 6

Total (for 6 dec, 23 overs) 111

Fall: 1-34, 2-44, 3-50, 4-67, 5-83, 6-85.

Did Not Bat: C J L Rogers, P M Siddle, N M Lyon.

Bowling: J M Anderson 6-1-27-1 (one spell), S C J Broad10-2-43-4 (4-2-11-0; 6-0-32-4), G P Swann 7-0-39-1 (one spell)

ENGLAND  Second Innings

*A N Cook lbw b Faulkner 34

53 balls 4 fours

J E Root c Haddin b Harris 11

17 balls 2 fours

I J L Trott lbw b Faulkner 59

87 balls 6 fours

K P Pietersen c Warner b Harris 61

55 balls 10 fours

I R Bell run out 17

17 balls 1 four

C R Woakes not out 17

13 balls 1 four

Extras (lb5 nb2) 7

Total (for 5, 40 overs) 206

Fall: 1-22, 2-86, 3-163, 4-170, 5-206.

Did Not Bat: †M J Prior, S C J Broad, G P Swann, S C Kerrigan, J M Anderson.

Bowling: R J Harris 5-0-21-2 (1nb) (4-0-18-1; 1-0-3-1), M A Starc 7-0-48-0 (1nb) (3-0-13-0; 3-0-23-0; 1-0-12-0), P M Siddle 3-0-16-0 (one spell), N M Lyon 10-0-44-0 (one spell), M J Clarke 2-0-4-0 (one spell), J P Faulkner 8-1-47-2 (3-1-20-1; 5-0-27-1), S R Watson 5-0-22-0 (3-0-15-0; 2-0-7-0)

Progress: Fourth Day: No play. Fifth Day:  England First Innings: 250 in 117 overs, 300 in 130 overs, 350 in 137 overs, Lunch: 350-7 in 137 overs (MJ Prior 35, GP Swann 24). Australia Second Innings: 50 in 12.1 overs, 100 in 21.6 overs, Tea: 111-6d in 23 overs (MJ Clarke 28, MA Starc 13). England Second Innings: 50 in 11.2 overs, 100 in 23 overs, 150 in 31.1 overs,200 in 39.4 overs.

K P Pietersen: 50 off 36 balls (9 fours), I J L Trott: 50 off 79 balls (5 fours),

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and HDPK Dharmasena (Sri Lanka)

TV Umpire: AL Hill (New Zealand)

Match Referee: RS Mahanama (Sri Lanka)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform