Australia retain Ashes after final day washout forces draw

SUMMARY: Australia 317 all out from 90.2 overs (Mitchell Marsh 51, Marnus Labuschagne 51, Travis Head 48; Chris Woakes 5-62) and 214-5 from 71 overs (Marnus Labuschagne 111; Mark Wood 3-27) vs England 592 all out from 107.4 overs (Zak Crawley 189, Jonny Bairstow 99*, Joe Root 84, Harry Brook 61, Moeen Ali 54, Ben Stokes 51; Josh Hazlewood 5-126)

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England’s hopes of an Ashes comeback were heartbreakingly ended by rain that left the fourth Test as a draw and ensured Australia retain the urn.

On a hugely frustrating and disappointing fifth day at Old Trafford, persistent bad weather prevented a single ball from being bowled.

There was a brief gap that allowed a start to be scheduled for 13:00 BST, only for the rain to return.

It meant England did not get a chance to push for the final five wickets they needed to force a win. Australia remained on 214-5 in their second innings, 61 runs behind the home side.

At 2-1 up with only one match to play, holders Australia will at least hang on to the Ashes they have possessed since 2017-18 and will now look to complete a first series win in the UK in 22 years.

For an England team playing such a thrilling style of cricket under captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, the wait for a first Ashes win since 2015 goes on.

After losing the first two Tests they were attempting to become the first England team to come from 2-0 down to win an Ashes series, but it was too big an ask.

This result also extends an England winless run in Ashes Tests at Old Trafford that dates back to 1981, with the next Ashes Test here not scheduled until 2031.

The final Test of the series at The Oval begins on Thursday. (BBC Sport)

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