With rain disrupting the entire Day 4′s play at The Oval, the final Ashes Test is meandering towards a draw unless a quirk of fate sees England repeat some of their worst performances against Australia in Test cricket. We’ll have live scores and updates from 8.00pm AEST.
Australia will be ruing the weather. They had a decent chance of pulling one back at Old Trafford and inclement weather ruined it for them.
Then they had an opportunity to run the English side close in this fifth Test too but the whole of fourth day ended without a ball bowled.
What this means is that only 13 wickets have fallen over the first four days and even if Australia declare their second innings after just one ball, they will be left with the onerous task of picking up 16 English wickets on the final day.
Even if we consider for a moment it’s a possibility worth examining, it must be added the pitch hasn’t had anything to offer. There’s been some turn for Nathan Lyon but swing has pretty much disappeared and even with the sweating under the covers, it wouldn’t have made it unplayable.
What Australia could realistically try is to embarrass the English batsmen in the lead-up to the next series Ashes that will be begin almost as soon as this one gets over.
Bowling them out quickly will be excellent for starters. To be able to enforce the follow-on will be even better. And if they could get the English dressing room nervous with a few second innings wickets, they would have done their job.
Look at it from England’s point of view. The way they batted on the third day – before the rains spoiled the fun – they look in no mood to compromise the chance of winning the series 3-0 by risking a defeat at the expense of going in for a 4-0 win.
And that may not change even now. Ian Bell and the rest of the batsmen will look to bat as deep into the day as possible while if it comes down to their second innings, out-of-form stalwarts Alastair Cook and Jonathon Trott will hope to get a not-out against their names.
It will be interesting to see whether throw the bait at England. Say, a target of 175-200 in 60 overs to go after. And more interestingly if England then attempt it.
Of course any of the above will only be possible if the rain stays away and does not take the life out of a Test match already on its death-bed.
Follow the live score and blog of the fifth day’s play of the final Ashes 2013 Test from 8.00pm AEST. You can join me for this live blog and post your comments below.