LONDON, England (AFP) — England and Australia drew the fifth Test as the Ashes series ended in a dramatic draw on the final day at The Oval yesterday.
England, set a target of 227 to win after Australia captain Michael Clarke's bold declaration, needed 21 more to win off 24 balls with five wickets left when the umpires decided the light, even with the floodlights on, was too dark to continue and ended the match at 7:35 pm local time (1835GMT).
The draw meant England, who'd already retained the Ashes, finished the five-match contest as 3-0 winners having triumphed in three successive Test series against Australia for the first time since the 1950s.
Jonathan Trott (59) and Kevin Pietersen (62), who both scored their maiden Test hundreds in Ashes matches at The Oval in 2009 and 2005 respectively, kept England in sight of an improbable win, in a match where they had largely been outplayed, after Clarke closed Australia's second innings at 111 for six.
This result saw Australia fail to win a single Test in an Ashes series for the first time since their 3-0 loss in England in 1977, and meant they'd failed to win a Test for the ninth match in a row following a 4-0 loss in India earlier this year.
"It was slightly strange but I'm proud of the way the lads played and in the cold light of day we've won the Ashes 3-0," said England captain Alastair Cook at the presentation ceremony.
Cook responded to Clarke's challenge by taking two fours in the first over of the chase off Ryan Harris.
But Harris removed Joe Root for 11 when he flat-footedly edged an intended cut to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
It was a record-breaking catch for Haddin, with his 29th victim of this Ashes seeing him surpass the previous world record for most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in a Test series of 28, set by Australia great Rodney Marsh against England in 1982/83.
England, whose run-rate on Friday had barely risen above two an over, scored 22 runs in two overs, 10 off spinner Nathan Lyon and 12 off debutant seamer James Faulkner, with Trott piercing the legside field for a couple of excellent boundaries.
But a second-wicket stand of 64 ended when Cook was lbw for 34 to left-armer Faulkner, who'd taken four for 51 in England's first innings 377.
Pietersen came in and clipped Faulkner through mid-wicket for four before driving him wide of mid-off for another boundary.
Suddenly England were eyeing a sensational win, with Pietersen pulling left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc for four.
But Pietersen's brilliant 55-ball knock featuring 10 fours ended when he was well caught at long on by David Warner off Ryan Harris.
Trott followed soon afterwards when he was lbw to Faulkner.
England 1st Innings
A Cook c Haddin b Harris 25
J Root c Watson b Lyon 68
J Trott lbw b Starc 40
K Pietersen c Watson b Starc 50
I Bell c Haddin b Faulkner 45
C Woakes c Clarke b Harris 25
M Prior c Starc b Faulkner 47
S Broad b Starc 9
G Swann b Faulkner 34
J Anderson c Haddin b Faulkner 4
S Kerrigan not out 1
Extras (b11, lb10, w5, nb3) 29
Total (all out, 144.4 overs, 615 mins) 377
Fall of wickets: 1-68 (Cook), 2-118 (Root), 3-176 (Trott), 4-217 (Pietersen), 5-269 (Woakes), 6-299
(Bell), 7-315 (Broad), 8-363 (Prior), 9-368 (Anderson), 10-377 (Swann)
Bowling: Starc 33-5-92-3 (2nb, 2w); Harris 28-10-64-2 (1nb); Faulkner 19.4-3-51-4; Siddle 28-7- 74-0 (3w); Lyon 28-8-59-1; Smith 8-3-16-0
Australia 2nd Innings]
D Warner c and b Anderson 12
S Watson c Pietersen b Swann 26
J Faulkner c Prior b Broad 22
B Haddin c Prior b Broad 0
M Clarke not out 28
S Smith c Swann b Broad 7
R Harris b Broad 1
M Starc not out 13
Total (6 wkts dec, 23 overs, 105
Fall of wickets: 1-34 (Warner),
2-44 (Watson), 3-50 (Haddin), 4-67
(Faulkner), 5-83 (Smith), 6-85
Did not bat: C Rogers, P Siddle, N
Bowling: Anderson 6-1-27-1;
Broad 10-2-43-4; Swann 7-0-39-1;
England 2nd Innings
A Cook lbw b Faulkner 34
J Root c Haddin b Harris 11
J Trott lbw b Faulkner 59
K Pietersen c Warner b Harris 62
I Bell run out (Starc) 17
C Woakes not out 17
M Prior not out 0
Extras (lb4, nb2) 6
Total (5 wkts, 40 overs, 184 mins) 206
Fall of wickets: 1-22 (Root), 2- 86 (Cook), 3-163 (Pietersen), 4-170
(Trott), 5-206 (Bell)
Did not bat: S Broad, G Swann, J
Anderson, S Kerrigan
Bowling: Harris 5-0-21-2 (1nb);
Starc 7-0-48-0 (1nb); Siddle 3-0-
16-0; Lyon 10-0-44-0; Clarke 2-0-4-0; Faulkner 8-1-47-2; Watson 5-0-22-0;
Result: Match drawn
Series: England win five-match
Man-of-the-Series: Ian Bell
Tos s: Australia
Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Kumar
TV Umpire: Tony Hill (NZL)
Match Referee: Roshan