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England retain Ashes after damp squib draw at Old Trafford

Updated: Monday, 05 Aug 2013 17:10 | Comments

The weather was the winner at Old Trafford as Australia were denied the chance to bowl England out on the final day of the third test
The weather was the winner at Old Trafford as Australia were denied the chance to bowl England out on the final day of the third test

England have retained the Ashes after rain ensured the third Investec Test against Australia ended in a draw at Emirates Old Trafford.

Alastair Cook became an Ashes-winning captain for the first time in anti-climactic circumstances after the Manchester weather spared his side a final-day battle to avoid a defeat that would have kept the series alive.

Australia had been fed a glimmer of hope when play started at 11.30am - against all forecasted predictions - and they reduced a nervy England to 37 for three in 20.3 overs.

But the expected rain eventually settled in before umpires Marais Erasmus and Tony Hill officially abandoned the match at 4.39pm to secure England, 2-0 ahead in the five-Test series, a third successive Ashes success for the first time since 1981.

England had to survive a brief scare, though, after their top order was dismissed in the 90 minutes of play before lunch.

Cook was trapped lbw without scoring before Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen followed him back to the pavilion after offering catches to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

The weather then started to close in, and after just three balls of the afternoon session, the rain forced the players off for good at 2pm.

For Australia the draw, which ended a run of six Test defeats, meant their earliest concession of the Ashes in a series since 1929.

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