England took on Australia in the fifth Test of the Ashes at The Oval in London.
After building a 3-0 lead in the first four Tests, England have retained the Ashes—and won the series outright.
But an Ashes Test is rarely a dead rubber, and with the two sides clashing again in a fresh series Down Under just three months from now, there is plenty to play for.
The game looked to be petering out into a draw when a bold declaration from Australia's Michael Clarke led to a thrilling run chase in the final session of the series.
Here are the team news, toss details and the session-by-session details from the match.
A live scorecard can be found here on Cricinfo
England 377 & 205-5
Australia 492-9 dec & 111-6 dec - Match drawn
England responded to being set a target of 227 in 44 overs to win the final Test and secure a 4-0 series victory by dashing towards it, only for bad light to intervene with four overs to go and victory in sight.
Australia, so positive all day, began to spoil and slow down as the match slipped away—and the fading light beat England with the end in sight.
England win the series 3-0, and the celebrations after the emphatic series win will not be greatly sullied by missing out on a fourth victory.
Alastair Cook set the tone by hitting a couple of boundaries in the first over of the innings, and Joe Root was busy until he chased a wide one to Brad Haddin, becoming the wicketkeeper's 29th victim, a record number for a Test series.
Cricket (@SkyCricket) August 25, 2013
Cook and Trott set into a solid rhythm, scoring at around 4.5 runs per over to keep in touch with the required run rate.
Cook did fall, shuffling across the line and being struck plumb in front by James Faulkner to depart on 34.
But it brought Kevin Pietersen to the crease, and the noise ratcheted up another level at The Oval in anticipation of the chase continuing.
At the halfway mark, England required 131 from 132 balls.
Pietersen is no stranger to being a hero on the last day of an Ashes series at The Oval—the stage was set for him. And he did not disappoint in a 50 partnership in which he raced to 45 from 29 balls.
Michael Clarke, shell-shocked, slowed things down and threw the ball to the previously unused Shane Watson.
Pietersen has hit seven fours in the last five overs which have brought 39 runs. England's to not win from here— Simon Wilde (@swildecricket) August 25, 2013
Pietersen fell for a majestic 55-ball 62, and Trott followed for 49, trapped by Faulkner to leave Ian Bell and Chris Woakes together, chasing 57 runs in 51 balls.
They got going, getting the target down to a run a ball.
With five overs to go Watson was bowling down the leg side in an effort to prevent scoring. The light too started to fade in the London evening.
After a painfully slow over, with Bell run out from the final ball, England were 206-5 with four overs to go.
It was dark, but the light meters came out, and the game was called off with a result in sight. It was a farcical way to end a fascinating day, and a bizarre end to a strange series.
Australia 492-9 dec & 111-6 dec
England's lumbering innings ground to a halt on 377—as it happened their largest score of the series so far—and Australia's bid to score quickly was less than successful on an intriguing afternoon at The Oval.
Australia now lead by 226, and declared at tea, meaning England would have to score at just over five an over in the 44 overs left in the day to force an unlikely victory.
227 in 44 overs. Don't expect England to have much of a go at this, to be honest— John Etheridge (@JohnSunCricket) August 25, 2013
England cobbled together 27 runs with their last three wickets, Matt Prior holing out with his first half-century of the series in sight, Graeme Swann doing much the same, and James Anderson's vigil predictably brief.
All eyes were on Australia to see how they would approach their second innings—the choice to send out David Warner and Shane Watson as openers was a clue.
And yet, scoring was difficult. After five overs, they had only managed just seven runs.
That picked up as Watson began to find some form, but England took wickets at regular intervals as they worked through a jumbled-up Australian batting order.
Anderson started the rot with a superb caught-and-bowled to dismiss Warner for 12, then Watson found Kevin Pietersen in the deep as he swung at Graeme Swann.
Thereafter it was Stuart Broad, who picked up four wickets in 17 deliveries as Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Steve Smith and Ryan Harris came and went.
Michael Clarke and Mitchell Starc negotiated their way to tea, put in a declaration, and gave England an opportunity—albeit a risky one—to win the series in a blaze of glory after a negative Test.
Whether they even try to take it remains to be seen.
England 350-7 (137 overs) - Bell 45, Prior 35*, Swann 24*
Australia 492-9 dec.
England avoided the follow-on and with it surely sealed a draw that will mean that the Ashes will end with a 3-0 victory to the hosts.
And that's the end of the Test. Now Shake hands now please now.— Dave Tickner (@tickerscricket) August 25, 2013
Australia went out looking for wickets, looking for any unlikely way of forcing a result after rain wiped out day four.
A half-hour delay at the start of the morning as the ground staff dried the outfield did them few favours, but they did pick up the wickets of Chris Woakes (25), Ian Bell (45) and Stuart Broad (9).
Woakes had flashed hard at the ball on a couple of times and got away with it—at the third time of asking he pushed a Ryan Harris delivery to the slip cordon.
Bell was expertly caught by Brad Haddin—his 27th catch of an understatedly excellent series—down the leg side in what will most likely be the end of a remarkable series for the batsman.
Bell's 545 is the seventh highest total runs scored by an English batsman in a home Ashes series. Take a silky bow. http://t.co/qdAi5VoyG8— Pavilion Opinions (@pavilionopinion) August 25, 2013
And Mitchell Starc castled Stuart Broad before Graeme Swann arrived and played some shots.
Swann had compiled 24 from just 11 scintillating balls as lunch came. It felt like an end-of-term innings.
England 247-4 (116 overs) - Pietersen 50, Bell 29*, Woakes 15*
Australia 492-9 dec
No play was possible on day four of the fifth Test at The Oval, with rain falling overnight and then continuously through the day.
With ground staff estimating that two hours would be needed from the point the rain ceased to make the ground fit for play, the umpires came out to assess conditions at 4:00p.m. and did not take long to call the action off.
Weather permitting, the match will resume on Sunday—the final day of the Ashes this summer—but it is hard to see how any result other than the draw will be possible.
England 247-4 (116 overs) - Pietersen 50, Bell 29*, Woakes 15*
Australia 492-9 dec
England got through an extended day for the loss of just four wickets, but added just 215 runs in an attritional, grinding third day.
Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen all passed 20 at a snail's pace, and despite half-centuries from Root and Pietersen, neither went on to a big, dominating score, or even managed to up their run rate.
The hosts ended the day 46 runs short of the follow-on, and Ian Bell (29 not out) and Chris Woakes (13 not out) will look to take them past that mark on day four.
For some it was a spectacle of limited interest, a throwback to the worst of the old days of Test match cricket, but for others it was a reminder of cricket's tougher challenges on slow pitches.
Well played England. Its ironic that fans who are otherwise so obsessed with winning can't appreciate a professional effort like England's— cricketingview (@cricketingview) August 23, 2013
In the evening session Pietersen managed to get to 50, albeit via an inside-edge which briefly threatened his stumps.
Thereafter he fell, edging Mitchell Starc to the slips. It brought Woakes out to the middle for his debut innings—and the cheer that went up for his first shot in Test cricket, a sweetly-struck boundary through square, was as loud as anything heard all day.
Australia probed valiantly, but lacked any great magic or incision on a pitch which offered little. England could not attack on a wicket which seemed to strip even an in-form batsman like Bell of the ability to time the ball effectively.
The score at stumps wasn't exactly exciting, but it was about right.
England 181-3 (82 overs) - Root 68, Pietersen 28*
Australia 492-9 dec.
England's meandering first innings continued at a crawl throughout the afternoon, with the hosts scoring at scarcely over two runs per over.
Joe Root fell just as a century appeared to be coming into view, top-edging Nathan Lyon to the man on the 45 for a well-crafted innings of 68.
Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen grinded their way to the second new ball—only for Mitchell Starc to strike with the very first delivery with the new cherry.
Umpire Aleem Dar took a while to think about the decision, but correctly gave it out. Trott reviewed, with very little chance of the decision being overturned.
There was swing with the new ball and a bit of chirp on the pitch as Michael Clarke and Kevin Pietersen exchanged words. It was the first signs of life in an otherwise soporific session of play.
KP v Clarke. Battle of the metrosexuals.— Nick Hoult (@NHoultCricket) August 23, 2013
England 97-1 (44 overs) - Root 52*, Trott 9*
Australia 492-9 dec.
Joe Root's half-century was the highlight of a steady session for England to start day three of the final Test at The Oval.
England lost Alastair Cook (25) to Ryan Harris via an edge through to the keeper, but that aside were largely unruffled on a day in which conditions were ideal for batting.
PLAY! Sun out, the weather set fair, looks like a good day to be batting. England resume at 32-0 on day three, Australia having set 492-9.— B/R Cricket (@br_cricket) August 23, 2013
The biggest difference between the hosts and the tourists, who piled on the runs in their first innings, was the run rate—once again England crawled along, with neither Root nor Cook in any rush to score.
With the pitch expected to crumble and become spin-friendly later in the match, England's slow play appears to be making a draw the likeliest of the three results.
The run rate continues a trend which has been developing in 2013 for the Ashes winners.
Average Test Run Rate in last year WI: 3.45 Ind: 3.35 Ban: 3.33 Aus: 3.32 SA: 3.29 SL: 3.23 NZ: 3.00 Zim: 2.84 Eng: 2.80 Pak: 2.72 #Ashes— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) August 23, 2013
Root's own landmark—his second score above 50 in this series—took 145 balls to bring up, but now set, he has every chance of compiling a third Test century on a day when the weather is set fair, and the wicket is not misbehaving.
There were moments of magic, however—one cover drive from Root was as elegant and measured a stroke as any seen on either of the two previous days.
England 32-0 (17.3 overs) - Cook 17*, Root 13*
Australia 492-9 dec. (128.5 overs) - Watson 176, Smith 137*
England negotiated their way to stumps without loss after Australia declared their innings midway through the final session of day two at The Oval.
It was rarely elegant, although Joe Root did hit a couple of crisp boundaries in his unbeaten 13, but it was steady, and the hosts will still have plenty of batting to do on day three.
Captain Alastair Cook also survived to the close, called just before the 1930 cut-off when the umpires felt the light had faded.
Australia had pushed on as England's over rate fell away to embarrassingly sluggish levels.
Steve Smith, fresh from posting his maiden Test century, compiled runs with confidence, while James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc and Ryan Harris all played expansively at the other end.
There were wickets, including a maiden one for Chris Woakes, who had Faulkner caught on the boundary for 23.
Starc followed, swinging across the line to Graeme Swann and losing a stump in the process.
And Harris, who scored 33 in an innings which included two sixes, became James Anderson's fourth victim of the innings after he made his ground to take an impressive return catch.
Anderson was denied a chance at a five-wicket haul, however—he was interrupted almost in the middle of his run-up as Michael Clarke's declaration came.
Australia 397-6 (117 overs) - Smith 112*
Steve Smith became a Test centurion, notching his maiden ton once the rain eased off and play finally got underway on day two of the fifth Test.
It was an excellent knock from Smith, who raised the landmark with a fearless six over mid-on.
Fun way for Smith bring up his maiden Test century.— John Etheridge (@JohnSunCricket) August 22, 2013
England had bowled relatively well, forcing Smith on to the defensive for a long time, and removing Peter Siddle and Brad Haddin.
Siddle, the nightwatchman from the previous evening, could do nothing to prevent a pearler of a delivery from James Anderson straightening and clipping his off stump.
Haddin made a punchy 30 before chopping on to his stumps to become just the fifth player to be dismissed by Trott in Test cricket.
England pick 5 bowlers and naturally Trott makes the breakthrough bowling Haddin. 385-6— Nick Hoult (@NHoultCricket) August 22, 2013
The problem for Alastair Cook, however, was his dependence on his three senior bowlers—Anderson, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad.
Chris Woakes bowled six innocuous overs before disappearing out of the attack, while spinner Simon Kerrigan, who endured a first day to forget, was not called upon in the session.
Session lost to rain
Just as play was about to start on day two, the rain arrived at The Oval and the session was wiped out.
An early lunch was taken at 1230, but the rain grew heavier during the interval, meaning that by the break there was still no sign of a resumption to the Test.
Cricket (@ECB_cricket) August 22, 2013
Australia 307-4 (90 overs) - Watson 176, Smith 66*
Shane Watson's bludgeoning 176 came to an end, but the tourists still ended up in a strong position at the end of day one at The Oval.
Steve Smith continued until close, unbeaten on a half-century, while Peter Siddle survived as nightwatchman and even added a brisk 18 runs to his tally.
If there was any further sign required that it was Watson's day, it came via DRS. His unsuccessful reviews have become a subject of laughter in this series, but when Chris Woakes was awarded his wicket with Watson on 166, he reviewed and was proven right, with the ball heading over the stumps.
Shane Watson in correct review shocker!— Test Match Sofa (@TestMatchSofa) August 21, 2013
Stuart Broad did eventually claim his scalp, though, a short ball helped to Kevin Pietersen in the deep.
Hope Warne was watching: a few minutes before that catch, Cook moved Pietersen squarer. KP couldn't have taken it in his original position— Simon Wilde (@swildecricket) August 21, 2013
It was a highlight for England in a day of few, however, and the hosts will have plenty to do on day two and beyond if they are to force a 4-0 series victory, with only the second new ball really providing any great assistance for the bowlers.
Australia 183-3 (58 overs) - Watson 121*, Smith 15*
Shane Watson scored his first Test century since 2010 with an innings that demonstrated bravery and class, but his team-mates fared less well in the afternoon session.
Chris Rogers, who had hung around without troubling the scorers, tickled an edge from Graeme Swann to first slip early in the session, before Michael Clarke played a confused and fidgety innings which ended when he was bowled by James Anderson for seven.
Steve Smith survived until the tea break with the occasional flash of aggression and a series of defensive prods, but it was Watson who was again the story of the session.
He got up from a brutal bouncer from Stuart Broad which hit him just under his ear as he neared his century.
Cricket (@br_cricket) August 21, 2013
And he had a slice of luck too when Alastair Cook dropped a catchable chance at slip soon after he had reached the landmark, Anderson again the bowler.
Cook leaned heavily on Swann, Anderson and Broad, with Chris Woakes and Simon Kerrigan only reintroduced late in the session.
Kerrigan in particular was a bundle of nerves, his two overs including a horrendous beamer which Smith smashed to the boundary.
Australia 223-1 (29 overs) - Watson 80*, Rogers 21*
England struck early with the new ball, but Shane Watson played his best innings of the series to bat Australia into a healthy position at lunch on day one at The Oval.
James Anderson got the ball to swing, and removed the misfiring David Warner for six when he feathered behind to Matt Prior.
But that brought Watson to the crease in a new role as the number three batsman, and he took full advantage, closing in on a century at more than a run a ball.
Watson, playing freely and hitting cleanly, was particularly disdainful to the spinner on debut. Simon Kerrigan disappeared for 28 runs in his two first overs of Test cricket, and was hastily withdrawn from the attack.
Chris Woakes, meanwhile, made little impression with five nondescript overs that went for 30 runs.
The experienced trio of Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann made life difficult for Australia. The early swing was unexpected, and there was a little turn for Swann to utilise immediately, with Chris Rogers labouring along at a strike rate of 20.
But it mattered little, with Watson carrying the initiative and the duo's century stand coming up before the lunch break.
Australia won the toss for the second time in the series and Michael Clarke opted to bat first.
The Oval is a typically dry pitch which offers spin later, so both captains said at the toss they would have batted first, to avoid facing spin late in the fourth innings.
In the series to date the side batting first have won three of the four Tests—Australia were handily placed to make that four from four, had rain not intervened at Old Trafford.
England, thought of as conservative in their team selections, surprised everyone by handing out two debut caps.
Chris Woakes of Warwickshire replaced the injured Tim Bresnan, while spinner Simon Kerrigan came in at the expense of Jonny Bairstow.
It means that England had a five-man bowling attack for the first time in the series.
Australia had named their Test team on the eve of the match, with James Faulkner playing his first Test, and Mitchell Starc returning to the attack at the expense of Jackson Bird and Usman Khawaja.