England Retain the Ashes
It may have not been in the fashion that they would have wanted, but England have officially retained the Ashes following a wet day 5 in Manchester which ultimately saw the Third Test end in a draw.
England started the final day needing to bat out the scheduled 90 overs, but just after lunch, rain began falling and it never stopped. England were on the back foot slightly at 37-3 when the rain came down. Just after the tea break, match officials called off the day’s play ending the match as a draw and because England are already 2-0 up in the series, and with only 2 matches to go, England will hold onto The Ashes, at least until the return series in Australia later this year.
To say the Australian squad will be disappointed is an understatement. Headed by Michael Clarke’s brilliant showing with the bat and returning to the form which has made him perhaps the best batter in world cricket at the moment, the Aussies played a great game of cricket in this match. Even with Kevin Pietersen’s century for England, the match always seemed to be leaning the way of the visitors, which of course will make today’s draw and loss of the Ashes even more painful. The tail once again wagged, with Mitchell Starc picking up a half century. But some serious questions over Shane Watson and his place in this side still remain, however David Warner’s return to the side has been a success after Warner’s good score in the second innings. Shane Watson looks unsure at the crease, and several Sky Sports commentators have commented on how he looks lazy in the middle, and not looking to take singles and hand over the strike on regular occasion. Steve Smith is on fire with the bat, and Peter Siddle remains Australia’s best weapon with the ball.
The question is, with the Ashes retained, is there going to be any hype for the next two tests?
English fans would love to see England win the next two games and end the series 4-0, while it is now crucial for Australia to win at least one of the next couple of games to have some confidence ahead of November’s return Ashes series down under. It feels really disappointing that the retaining of the Ashes was decided on a draw, but that is cricket. The wet, soggy, rainy conditions of Manchester have struck again.