Fifth Test ends in exciting draw, England keep Ashes

London, Aug 26 (IANS) England had to settled for a 3-0 victory in the Ashes series against Australia after the fifth and final Test ended in a thrilling draw at The Oval here.

Australian skipper Michael Clarke tried to infuse some excitement in the Test after fourth day's play Saturday was washed out by setting England a target of 227 to win in a challenging declaration here Sunday.

England came close to winning when they needed 21 more to off 24 balls with five wickets intact, but umpires Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena decided the light, even with the floodlights on, was too dark to continue and ended the match at 19:35 local time (00:05 IST).

England made sure of keeping the Ashes for the third successive time for the first time since the 1950s.

Jonathan Trott (59) and Kevin Pietersen (62) took up Clarke's challenge after he declared Australia's second innings at 111 for six and just when they looked like cruising to victory both got out in quick succession. Though, England were very much on course, eventually bad light dashed their hopes.

Thus Australia failed to win a single Test in an Ashes series for the first time since their 3-0 loss in England in 1977. Also, they have not won a match in nine Tests, having lost all four Tests in India earlier in the year.

England resumed on 247 for four and needing 46 more to avoid the follow-on with Bell on 29.

Bell's hopes of following 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 trailed behind Australia's first innings 492 for nine declared by 115 runs.

Australia, going for quick runs, sent Shane Watson, man-of-the-match for his Test-best 176 in the first innings, with David Warner to open. None of the batsmen could get going except Clarke who remained 28 not out before he declared.

Fast bowler Stuart Broad took four wickets for 43 runs.

Brief scores:

Australia 492 for 9 decl and111 for 6 decl. (Michael Clarke 28 not out, Stuart Broad 4/45) Australia 377 (Joe Root 68, Jonathan Trott 40, Kevin Pietersen50, Ian Bell 45, Matt Prior 47, Graeme Swann 34, Mitchell Starc 3/92, Ryan Harris 2/64, James Faulkner 4 /51) and 206 for 5 (Alastair Cook 34, Trott 59, Pietersen 62, Harris 2/21, Faulkner 2/47).

Man of the Match: Shane Watson

England's Man of the Series: Ian Bell

Australia's Man of the Match: Ryan Harris

Man of the Series: Ian Bell

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