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

Batting

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) -

Bowling

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)

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives his annual televised question-and-answer session
peopleBizarre TV claim
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'
tv
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit