24 August 2013

The Ashes 5th Test, day 4, The Oval

The Ashes 5th Test, day 4, The Oval

Australia: 9/492 dec. from 128.5 overs
Shane Watson 176, Steven Smith 138*
James Anderson 4-95

4/247 from 116 overs
Joe Root 68, Kevin Pietersen 50, Ian Bell 29*, Chris Woakes 20*
Mitchell Starc 2-50, Nathan Lyon 1-41, Ryan Harris 1-41

The rain came down and washed the day away. No deliveries were bowled and that will be the Test match as even if there is play tomorrow it will be a deflating display of defensive batting and tiresome bowling, with a few possible moments of excitement to play out for a drawn result.

This means we will leave England's shores having lost 3-0 and it's frustrating to know we were so close on three occasions to have changed this scoreline. However, the English team have been together a lot longer now and experienced winning Test matches. They know how to win those small passage of play which - ultimately - brings about the main result in the bigger scheme of things.

As a result the selectors will hopefully realise that the players who showed strong performances or indications of their true skill need to be retained for the home Ashes series - they must not chop and change. The players who didn't step up will need to play out of their socks come the Sheffield Shield. They will need to fight for the right to put their Baggy Green caps back on, while I am certain other players will be as keen to bag lots of wickets or pocket plenty of runs to get their opportunity.

No need to panic, it's not all doom and gloom. There were many positives here and in some regards we were even statistically better than England. Yet they had a couple of players who knew how to step up during those small passages of play and trail their way to the winning edge. This comes with time and come the home Ashes series I am confident we will be regaining the urn.

Verdict: No play for the day means it will be a drawn result. Even my optimism cannot make me think otherwise. The limited overs series approaches.

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