Rain played spoilsport in the fourth Ashes Test between England and Australia as the entire Day 5 got washed out in Manchester. As a result, the match ended in a draw and the visitors retained the Ashes with a 2-1 lead. The Ben Stokes-led side displayed a dominating performance on the first four days of the match as Australia were five down for 214, trailing by 61 runs after England posted 592 runs in their first innings. Both the teams are yet to play the fifth and final Test of the series but that will not be making any difference to the result as the visitors will be retaining the trophy.
After the disappointing loss, England skipper Ben Stokes attended the post-match press conference and was asked whether going 0-2 down early in the series was a bigger disappointment for his team than the drawn fourth Test.
Keeping a blank face, Stokes replied, “No, not really.” He then went on to give a smile to the reporter.
In another interview, Stokes had given a pretty similar one-worded response.
Straight to the point from Ben Stokes… pic.twitter.com/dW8rFlJcJU
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) July 23, 2023
Despite this draw, Australia will still have to avoid defeat at The Oval if they are to secure their first Ashes series win in England since 2001.
“The group should be pretty proud. Our preference is to come over here and win the Ashes but it’s nice to retain it, albeit not in the best of circumstances,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said.
Stokes was understandably downbeat, saying: “It is a tough one to take, playing the cricket we did over the first three days, but it is all part of the journey. We knew what we needed to do and that played into our hands.
“It was another do-or-die game for us and I don’t think we could have done much more — bowling them out and then scoring 590. We have got one game left and we want to go out with a win and draw the series, like in 2019,” he added.
Australia finished on 214-5 in their second innings, 61 runs behind England’s first-innings 592, after rain meant only 30 overs’ play was possible on Saturday’s fourth day.
England managed to take just one wicket in that time when part-time off-spinner Joe Root had Marnus Labuschagne caught behind, but not before the Australian had held up the hosts’ victory charge with 111.
(With AFP Inputs)
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