Oval: Less than 40 overs of play was possible on Day 4 of the final Ashes Test as rain played spoilsport at The Oval.
The lashing rain in London forced the umpires to call stumps early on Day 4, with Australia 249 runs away from taking the Ashes 3-1 and England needing 10 wickets to level the series.
After bowling England out inside the first two overs of the day, Australia’s openers Usman Khawaja and David Warner laid a solid foundation for the big chase with an unbeaten 135-run stand before rain halted play.
Despite the match being on a knife-edge going into the penultimate day, it was a mood of celebration as The Oval honoured Stuart Broad, who announced his retirement at the end of Day 3.
Broad received a guard of honour from Australia as he walked out to bat for one final time. The 37-year-old, who has showcased his own special brand of charm with the bat in his storied 17-year-long career, gave the crowd a lasting memory when he smashed Mitchell Starc for a big six over square leg.
Those were the only runs England added to their overnight score as Todd Murphy trapped James Anderson in front of the stumps in the next over as Australia were set a big target of 384.
With the pitch still favourable for batting, Warner and Khawaja made full use of the conditions as they kept the scoreboard ticking early on. The introduction of Moeen Ali did pose a little challenge to the Aussie openers but they managed to go unscathed into lunch with the partnership unbroken.
It didn’t take the opening pair long after the break to bring up the 100-run stand as well as their individual fifties. The players took off drinks break in the second session when the rain stopped play and didn’t relent for the rest of the day.