August 25, 2013 – A bland finish to the Ashes

August 25, 2013 – A bland finish to the Ashes

England, with five wickets in hand, needed 21 runs from four overs to win the Test match.

Chris Woakes and Matt Prior of England walk off for bad light. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

England clinched their 3rd consecutive Ashes series when they took a 3-0 lead in the 5-match Test series at home going into the final game at The Oval. The Michael Clarke led Australian team held the upper hand finally in the rain-affected game. The Aussies made 307/4 on the opening day thanks to a 176-run knock from Shane Watson but the morning session on the following day was washed out. The visiting side declared their innings on 492/9 as Steve Smith scored an unbeaten 138.

The lower-order pushed towards declaration scoring 95 runs in 11.5 overs in the final session. England decided to grind in response as they made 247/4 in 116 overs before stumps on the 3rd day. The game raced towards a draw after the 4th day was washed out. However, England made quick runs in the morning session on the final day to avoid the follow-on. They made 140 runs on the 5th day in 28.4 overs before being bowled out for 377.

Australia wanted to finish with at least a win in the series and made a bold declaration. They set 227-run target for the home team in the 44 possible overs in the final session of the game. The Australians declared their innings on 111/6 in 23 overs at the Tea break. The English side was truly in the chase scoring at about four runs an over but needed a boost to get to the target with a chance of bad light late spoiling their party later in the day.

A thrilling finish:

Kevin Pietersen during his 36-ball fifty in the 2nd innings. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Kevin Pietersen walked in when England were 86/2 in the 20th over and kept finding the gaps straight away. He raced to a 36-ball fifty which is the fastest by an Englishman in the Ashes till date and only behind the 35-ball efforts from Australia’s Graham Yallop and David Warner in 1981 and 2015 respectively. Pietersen departed for a 55-ball 62 after sharing 77-run partnership for the 3rd wicket with Jonathan Trott in 14.2 overs. Trott also fell in the following over scoring 59 as the hosts were still 57 runs away from a win with 51 deliveries left in the game.

Ian Bell and Chris Woakes added 36 runs in 27 balls before Bell got run out. England, with five wickets in hand, needed 21 runs from four overs when the drama unfolded at The Oval. With yet another defeat looming in, the Aussie captain Clarke started to consult the umpires about the condition of light from the start of 39th over. He and the Australian team took time to bowl the two overs before Clarke was involved in a heated discussion with the officials after the 40th over.

Umpire Aleem Dar even asked Clarke to stay away as they checked their light-meters. “I remember him [Dar] touching me and I asked him politely not to touch me as if I touched him I would be banned for three games,” said Clarke after the game.

They finally decided to take the players off after a brief period of play under the lights. The game ended in a draw with England 21 runs away from their first ever 4-0 win in the Ashes. Umpires didn’t get a good reaction from the crowd as they were booed during the medal ceremony.

Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook of England celebrate the Ashes win. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Not the way to celebrate:

England were good enough to defeat Australians in three straight Test series and three in a row at home as well. However, the players involved in the historic win crossed limits during their celebrations. A few players who kept celebrating late in the night at The Oval ended up urinating on the pitch. The England Cricket Board (ECB) had to apologize to the Surrey Cricket Club for the players’ disgusting antics in the name of celebration.

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