Adam Shergold for MailOnline

  • Adam Shergold

    Host commentator

Confirmation that play will resume in about half-an-hours time at The Oval. The covers are slowly being peeled off and the ground staff will mop up any standing water on the outfield. 

And further to that last post, the covers are being taken off at The Oval and it has stopped raining so looks like some action again soon.

I’m afraid to report that it’s still raining steadily at The Oval. The stands are pretty much deserted as the spectators seek the shelter of the concourses. 

We do expect this rain to blow out but it could be another hour or so before we have any prospect of more play.

Early lunch has been called at The Oval and here’s a round-up of everything that has happened so far.

Ben Winstanley at The Oval: With Australia needing just two wickets for victory in this final Test the rain has come to England’s rescue – for now at least as an early lunch is called.

Peter Siddle has had a fantastic game and bowled well again this morning. He struck after half an hour this morning to dismiss nightwatchman Mark Wood for 6 – the lbw shout looked good but was turned down, and again in this game the TV umpire overturned it after a review.

There were suggestions that Michael Clarke (who of course does not sit on the Australian selection panel) wanted young Pat Cummins to get the nod ahead of Siddle for this dead rubber but the 30-year-old been excellent in this match, and that was his fourth wicket.

Jos Buttler, on 42, then ended one of his better innings this series by tamely chipping Mitch Marsh to Mitchell Starc in the covers.

It wasn’t a clever shot and while his keeping has improved hugely, by his own admission he’s underwhelmed with the bat in the last few weeks. After seeing off 106 balls, to get out in this way was a disappointment.

Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad have managed to hang around since then, though Ali was lucky to get away with his wicket intact when he tried to slog sweep Nathan Lyon just before the rain came. He’s not out on 17 with Broad on 10.

It’ll have to rain for the best part of two days for England to get out of this one, though.

So, who knows how long this delay will last. I’ll certainly keep you posted. It’s coming down pretty heavily and the covers are in position at The Oval. 

The situation in the game is as follows – England are on 258-8 with Mark Wood and Jos Buttler the two men out this morning. They trail by 74 and Australia, of course, need two wickets to claim victory.

Paul Newman: You have to wonder what on earth Moeen Ali was doing there. He played a couple of expansive shots when the rain was coming down but got away with them. I know this positive cricket lark is great but show a bit of savvy. Stuart Broad was huddled over his bat looking at the skies to give the umpires every encouragement to take them off which they eventually did. Looks like we are going to have a couple of hours of rain. This will just hold up Australia rather than save England sadly.

The ground staff are poised in the corner. The umpires looking at the sky. More and more brollies going up around the ground. 

Can Nathan Lyon make all that an irrelevance? Ali with a wild swoosh, not the kind of shot you want to be playing in these circumstances. Gets away with it. No shame in defending here with rain imminent. 

The crowd starting to whistle and trying to alert the umpires to the fact it’s raining. And we are going off. Rain. Stops. Play. 

Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad share a glance and a smile. Michael Clarke looks a bit gutted.

 

As predicted, here comes Mitchell Johnson. A man with the capability to get all this done and dusted very quickly if he gets it right.

Fireworks as might expect right away – bounce above Ali’s head and he’s left the bat there wafting around. Gets something on it, could have gone anywhere. Luckily for Moeen it went over Nevill’s head for FOUR.

More short stuff as the rain starts to get a little heavier. Gets called a wide as it soars over Ali’s head.

Mitchell Johnson limbering up again but for now we have Nathan Lyon. Broad watches the spin and turn like a hawk and sees out the over.  

The rain is just holding off for the time being. Ali pinches a single off Starc to backward square leg to bring up the 250 for England. 

Broad adds another couple to mid-on but he plays and misses the next ball that swung nicely. An escape. 

A few more umbrellas sprouting in the crowd. A few spectators reaching for their jacket or hoodie. Matter of time now.

Here is Nathan Lyon for the first time this morning. Has been excellent in this match. Broad trying to go after him and gets a single.

The last ball is a beauty, beats everyone. Ali, Nevill, Clarke. That spun a very long way.

Time for the drinks break

 

Here comes Mitchell Starc for a burst and he too wastes little time finding the correct line and beating Ali’s bat not once but twice.

A few umbrellas have gone up in the stands. A few drops of rain starting to fall by the looks of it. 

Ali bides his time then dispatches a wide Starc yorker away through gully for FOUR.

Paul Newman: Poor Peter Nevill is having quite a work-out this morning. The ball is really wobbling after it leaves the bat and the Australian bowlers have been quite wayward too. Meanwhile, the rain should be with us any second…

Peter Nevill has been very good on the whole in this Test but a little misjudgement there. The ball just dipped and wobbled as it came up to his gloves, deflected off them and down to the boundary. Not really his fault.

He then has to dive full-length to get something on Siddle’s outrageously wide ball. Just about gets a fingertip to it and the damage limited to two byes.

Michael Clarke all smiles as he enjoys these final few moments as captain of Australia.

Moeen Ali determined to make him wait a little bit longer for his curtain call – nice drive off the middle of the bat runs away for FOUR and he barely has to move such is the certainty that’s going to the rope.

Peter Siddle getting plenty out of this new ball and he gives Stuart Broad something to think about right away. The England man has to withdraw his bat in the nick of time to avoid edging a peach of a delivery that flew up off a good length. 

But Siddle’s maiden over ruined at the last as Broad angles his bat and plays it boldly through the covers for FOUR.

Stuart Broad joins Moeen Ali in the middle and unless that predicted rain comes soon, the end looks nigh for England.

Both batsmen get off the mark, Broad nudging it away into the covers for a single and Ali playing the ball square. 

That’s a careless shot to play I’m afraid, Jos Buttler. Emboldened by a couple of cover drives that have come off for him this morning, he again looks for runs in that direction. This time though he can’t keep his shot down and Starc takes the catch at mid-off. 

Buttler knows he’s let himself down there but a confidence-boosting 42 on the board at least.

Paul Newman: That was brainless from Jos Buttler. The radar is saying that rain is 10 minutes away. Could we not just have a little bit of application? Just get through and see how long it rains for? I know it’s a long shot for England to get anywhere near saving this Test but at least try to make it hard for them. Never give Australia anything on a plate.


Michael Clarke puts hands on head. Very close to another wicket. Good ball from Siddle which Ali tries to leave at the last moment and edges. Just short of second slip. 

And more gasps when Siddle beats Ali’s bat with another beauty of a ball. Just misses the inside edge as it flies through and brushes his trouser leg. Maiden over.

One Mitch for another as Marsh replaces Johnson. Moeen Ali is the next man in and England’s last line of defence you imagine. 

Marsh straight onto a good line and Buttler sensibly leaves it alone on length. Then a similar ball and Buttler helps it back down the ground for two more runs. Johnson does the fielding.

Paul Newman: What a good pick Peter Siddle has been for Australia in this Test. Who knows what might have happened had they picked him instead of Josh Hazlewood earlier, particularly at Trent Bridge. Of course the woeful Shane Warne, as bad a commentator as he was brilliant a bowler, said it was a disgrace Siddle was playing here and claimed that neither Michael Clarke nor Darren Lehmann wanted him in the side. In which case they were all wrong. 

More intent from nightwatchman Wood. Not what he intended but his ‘cover drive’ flicks away off the outside edge and over the slip cordon and goes away for FOUR. No stopping that one. 

Wood then struck on the pads, loud appeal from Siddle and the slips but not given. Australia REVIEW it. Hotspot confirms that the ball hit the pad first. And the Hawkeye tracker shows it was going on to hit leg stump.

Wood has gone.

Mark Wood departs after Peter Siddle takes his wicket on review

Celebration time for Australia as they claim the first of the four wickets they need

It’s 11.15am on a Sunday morning in August… time for the Oval floodlights to come on!

Wild from Johnson, wide and Peter Nevill makes an agile, goalkeeper’s dive to claim it. Runs now for Buttler, straight drive down the ground to gain FOUR and he moves on to 40.

This is his best score of the series by some distance – previous highest was 27. 

And the final ball of the over simply hits Buttler somewhere on the shoulder or upper back, bounces over Nevill, bounces over everyone for that matter, and flies off for another FOUR LEG BYES.

Mitch with a few choice words aimed in Buttler’s direction. A pleasant ‘good morning’ I’m sure.


Peter Siddle, who was simply brilliant in his accuracy and economy yesterday, is the other half of Australia’s new ball attack. 11 of his 17 overs yesterday were maidens. 

And very nearly a run out! Buttler guided the ball away off his thigh pad, Wood was half-way down the track and Chris Rogers gathers and shies at the non-striker’s stumps. A direct hit and the diving Wood would have gone. But England get away with it.

The umpire waves the shiny new cherry about and passes it over to Mitchell Johnson. Can he make it sing? Three slips, short leg. 

Wood gets himself off the mark, nudging Johnson’s 87mph first delivery past the man at short leg, who made a lunge towards it, and away for a single. 

The slips and wicketkeeper with arms raised but the appeal cut short when they realised the contact with Buttler’s pads was far too high. 

England’s wicketkeeper then gets himself out of the line of fire with a single away square.

Opera singer Laura Wright sings Jerusalem as the players walk out

Mark Wood spending plenty of time in the nets this morning. He did well in the first innings, offering a tiny bit of resistance at the death but how will he cope with the new ball?

Moeen Ali padded up in the dressing room and the next man in. Bizarre to think that he’s so far down the order yet set to be England’s opener in the winter series.

Mitchell Johnson getting loose in the outfield. He’ll be the one to take the new ball. Jos Buttler fends off the old one and there’s no addition to the overnight score.

Right then, here we go and another lovely reception for Michael Clarke. Standing ovation from the entire ground as he walks out and plenty of hugs from his team-mates. 

Close behind follow Mark Wood and Jos Buttler beneath very gloomy skies above The Oval. The new ball is due in one overs’ time and Peter Siddle will get us underway

And plenty of brilliant pictures from our man Kevin Quigley throughout the day as well

A very good morning to our cricket correspondent Paul Newman, who will be updating us throughout the day as always…

Paul Newman: Good morning from the Oval where this tumultuous series should end today with a crushing Australia win but with England lifting the Ashes urn. Or will it?

It’s gloomy here and the forecast is for rain from lunch and rain all day tomorrow. Might England get away with it? It would be quite funny, wouldn’t it?

You have to say the odds of England somehow escaping with a draw are thin, not least because Alastair Cook was out late last night to Steve Smith of all people and there are only four wickets to fall today.

But there may be the odd Australian twitch or two before the day is done.

Sam Peters: Ashes heroes Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson will not feature when England name their one-day international squad to take on Australia this week as the selectors bid to manage their workloads in a jam-packed international calendar.

The veteran pair have played more than 300 ODIs between them but have not featured since the World Cup earlier this year and will be given an extended break at the conclusion of the current Test series.

Joe Root and Ben Stokes are also expected to be rested.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Stuart Broad is set to be given a rest during the ODI series with Australia

Lawrence Booth: Jos Buttler admitted England have struggled to get themselves up for the fifth Test against Australia because the Ashes were already in the bag.

Buttler was still there on 33 at the end of the third day, but with England six down in the follow-on, still 129 runs short of making Australia bat again, only the weather can save them now.

Asked whether he and his team-mates had failed to focus after clinching the urn at Trent Bridge a fortnight ago, England’s wicket-keeper said: ‘Maybe a little bit. It’s had a different feel to the game.’

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Jos Buttler in action during the evening session on Saturday

Paul Newman: It took one last piece of funky captaincy from Michael Clarke and the advent of the innocuous leg-spin of Steve Smith to end Alastair Cook’s resistance late on Saturday and keep Australia firmly on course to spoil England’s Ashes-winning party.

Only the England captain had been able to display anything like the necessary application at the Kia Oval as Australia closed in on an emphatic consolation victory in this most up and down of Ashes series.

Yet Cook could not quite live to fight another day and with his tame dismissal, all too typical of England’s batting in this match, surely went England’s hopes of avoiding finishing this tumultuous Ashes on the lowest of notes.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT

Adam Voges, far left, celebrates catching Alastair Cook for 85 off the bowling of Steve Smith late on Saturday

Good Morning and a very warm welcome to the fourth day of the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

Australia are closing in on victory and require just four more wickets to polish England off and ensure this series will go down in the history books as a 3-2 loss.

England, for their part, need another 129 runs to even make Australia bat again but there is a chance that the British summertime will come to their rescue.

Rain is forecast from about lunchtime onwards and that is set to cause disruption. How much remains to be seen but with another poor forecast for tomorrow, England could somehow come away with a draw.

Australia’s Mitchell Marsh (C) celebrates with team-mates after taking the wicket of England’s Ian Bell on Sunday

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