Thrilling end to Ashes series

Ian Bell (AP)
Ian Bell (AP)

London - England and Australia drew the fifth Test as the Ashes series ended in a dramatic draw on the final day at The Oval on Sunday.

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 19:35 local time (20:35 SA time).

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.

Full scorecard

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.

England captain Alastair 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 leg-side 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.

But man-of-the-series Ian Bell, who came to the crease having amassed 545 runs during the series at 68.12 including three centuries, lofted Faulkner over mid-off for four.

England got their target down to 36 off the last six overs, with the floodlights now on as fielders struggled to see the ball.

Bell, however, was run out for 17 by bowler Starc's direct hit as he set off for a single in the last significant act of the match before umpires Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena called a halt.

After Saturday's fourth day had been washed out without a ball bowled, England resumed on 247 for four and needing 46 more to avoid the follow-on, with Bell 29 not out.

However, Bell's hopes of becoming only the fourth batsman after Australia's Don Bradman and England's Herbert Sutcliffe and Walter Hammond to score four hundreds in an Ashes series ended when he was caught one-handed low down the leg side by Haddin for 45 as Faulkner took his first Test wicket.

England eventually finished 115 runs behind Australia's first innings 492 for nine declared.

Australia, seeking quick runs, sent Shane Watson, man-of-the-match for his Test-best 176 in the first innings, back up to open alongside Warner instead of the more staid Chris Rogers.

But no batsman made more than Clarke's 28 not out before he declared.

Fast-medium bowler Stuart Broad took four wickets for 43 runs in 10 overs.

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