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  • England v Australia, 5th Test, 4th day

Play abandoned on grim day

Andrew McGlashan
August 24, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
England 247 for 4 (Bell 29*, Woakes 15*) trail Australia 492 for 9 dec by 245 runs
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The groundstaff fought a losing battle on the fourth day © PA Photos
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The weather forecast for London was not wrong as the fourth day of the final Ashes Test was abandoned without a ball bowled.

There was never any real prospect of play as rain of varying strength shrouded the ground throughout the day and the umpires made their decision at 4pm. The spectators will get full refunds for the wiped out day - it did not take long for Twitter to be abuzz with suggestions they should have received refunds for the third day as well.

The forecast for Sunday is more promising, although it is hard to escape the feeling that it will be a rather low-key affair when Alastair Cook has handed the urn at some point in the afternoon. Stuart Broad issued a rally call when he tweeted: "Who is coming to The Oval 2moro to share the special moment of lifting The Ashes with us?! Lets make it a party!!!"

England will resume on 247 for 4, still 46 short of saving the follow-on. From their point of view there are personal milestones to aim for and, in Chris Woakes' case, Test match experience to gain. If Australia did manage to skittle the remaining batsmen inside the follow-on - which is not a completely implausible scenario given the pitch has been covered for a day - they could yet have an outside chance of applying some pressure.

The one element of intrigue remaining is that if England narrowly save the follow-on whether Clarke, ever the adventurous captain, would leave a run chase on the final afternoon.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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