Bad light and rain stopped play on the fourth day of the Ashes third Test between England and Australia at Old Trafford and those are the two factors which can spoil a potentially exciting day’s cricket on the final day. We’ll have live scores and commentary from 8.00pm AEST.
The forecast for the final day isn’t great and although there have been other weather predictions that haven’t come right, there will be a few prayers going around in the Australian dressing room.
Down 2-0, this game presented a great opportunity to Michael Clarke and his men to pull one back but only five English wickets on the third day and weather issues on the fourth seems to have put the spanner.
Still, Clarke has a lead of 331 and now it almost seems certain they will declare their innings closed overnight to give themselves as many overs as they possibly can to bowl England out.
If by some miracle the weather remains good, a total of 98 overs can be compressed on the fifth day’s play and the battle between the Australian bowlers and the English batsmen will be an interesting one.
Three players from the English top-order have got themselves a century with Alastair Cook, Jonathon Trott and Jonny Bairstow still to register one. It will be a good day Monday, to register one.
More importantly, it will be imperative for one of the top six to bat through the day, much like what Ricky Ponting had done on the same ground in 2005.
The pitch, as is on display throughout the Test match, has taken turn and Nathan Lyon will need to be a vital cog in the Australian bowling wheels.
While it looks likely that England will play to save the game, there might be that temptation to try and take the game into the third session without losing too many and then reassess.
Three wickets down and something in the region of 130 to get for England in the final third of play could just be an ideal situation for the hosts to get into and they can then press for a win as well.
However, knowing that a draw will be enough for them to retain the Ashes and as was on display in the first four days of the Test, safety-first tactics will be Cook’s first route.
All of that will obviously depend on the sun coming out in full earnest and the rains keeping away.
Follow the live score and blog of the fifth day’s play of the third Test from 8.00pm AEST. You can join me for this live blog and post your comments below.