Start of play is DELAYED on crucial day five of fourth Test between England and Australia due to rain, with Ben Stokes’s side in a race against time to stop Aussies retaining the Ashes
- The final day of the fourth Test between England and Australia is finely poised
- England must win at Old Trafford to stop the Aussies retaining the Ashes
- They are in a battle against the weather after heavy rain and a poor forecast
The start of play continues to be delayed on the fifth day of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford due to rain in a huge blow to England’s hopes of regaining the Ashes.
An inspection at 12:15PM had given them the biggest boost so far, with play all set to begin at 1PM.
However, shortly after the heavens opened and the start time was put back yet again.
At 2-1 down in the series, Ben Stokes’s side have to win both this game and the final Test at the Oval next week or Australia will retain the urn.
The Aussies were 214-5 overnight, still 61 runs behind after another rain-affected day on Saturday.
The start of play on the fifth day of the fourth Ashes Test has been delayed due to rain
Heavy overnight rain meant it wasn’t possible to begin play at the scheduled 11AM start time
Just 30 overs of play were possible on Day Four as they moved from 113-4 by scoring 101 runs for the loss of just one wicket – which fell to Joe Root – to frustrate England.
The hosts are in a race against time on Sunday with heavy overnight and morning rain, along with further planned throughout the day meaning we are unlikely to see much play.
An inspection was planned at 11AM provided there were no further downpours with a wet outfield after heavy overnight rain at Old Trafford the major problem.
However, shortly before the scheduled inspection it began to rain again, thereby delaying play even further.
If Australia escape with a draw, it would be a cruel blow for Stokes and Co after a superb performance in Manchester.
After bowling Australia out for 317, England racked up 592 all out thanks to a sensational 189 for Zak Crawley, along with fifties for Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes.
In Australia’s second innings, they have so far provided stern resistance but are still 61 runs behind England with just five wickets left.
Saturday’s play didn’t begin until 2:45PM and England were frustrated by Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Marsh.
Labuschagne – who has struggled so far in the series – reached a superb hundred, while Marsh was more circumspect than usual and made it to 31 not out by the end of play.
An inspection was planned for 11AM, but then it began to rain again which further delayed play
Ben Stokes’s side are in a race against time to win to stop Australia retaining the Ashes
England were also hampered by poor light which meant the umpires told Stokes at one point he would have to take his seamers off and could only bowl spinners.
However, Root eventually made a crucial breakthrough as he dismissed Labuschagne with one that bounced, with Bairstow taking a good catch on the second attempt.
If Australia escape with a draw, given they hold the Ashes, they would retain the urn.
Nevertheless, Pat Cummins will be desperate to win the series outright at the Oval next week given Australia haven’t won in England since 2001.