|Kevin Pietersen, on Sunday
London: England, inspired by Kevin Pietersen’s brilliant 62, fell just short of a dramatic victory as the fifth and final Ashes Test ended in a draw on an enthralling Day V, at The Oval, on Sunday.
The hosts, chasing 227, were 21 runs short of their target when bad light forced the players off the field with four overs still remaining, depriving a packed house of a thrilling finish and leaving England to settle for a 3-0 win in the series.
Captain Michael Clarke had declared Australia’s second innings at 111 for six and set England a
challenging target in a bid to force a consolation victory. But it was the hosts who almost pulled the game off before the light factor came to the visitors’ rescue.
England started their run chase on a positive note and Alastair Cook hit two fours in the first over bowled by Ryan Harris.
Joe Root, on 11, edged Harris to wicket-keeper Brad Haddin before Cook and Jonathan Trott shared a fluent second-wicket partnership of 64 to lay a solid platform.
Cook was trapped leg before by James Faulkner for 34 and Pietersen strode to the middle in a perfect situation to display his attacking capacities.
Pietersen struck his first boundary off his fourth ball and immediately brought about urgency into the run chase, creaming Peter Siddle through the covers for four and flicking him to fine leg for another.
Pietersen and Trott posted their 50 partnership off just 48 balls and the former reached his own half-century from just 36 deliveries, hitting nine fours.
With the crowd sensing a famous victory, Trott also passed his half-century before Pietersen fell with the score on 163, well taken by David Warner, off the bowling of Harris.
Trott was trapped leg before by Faulkner for 59. But Ian Bell and Chris Woakes kept the momentum going, as England needed 36 from the last six overs.
Bell was run out for 17 by Starc’s direct hit and, with four overs remaining and England on 206 for five, the umpires ordered the players off the field much to the disappointment of the crowd.
The result was confirmed shortly afterwards and the awards ceremony took place in rapidly fading light.
It was an unexpected finale to the match after Saturday was washed out by rain.
England started the final day at 247 for four, needing another 46 runs to avoid the follow-on. Woakes, on 25, soon edged a good-length ball from Harris straight to Clarke at second slip, but MLondon: England, inspired by Kevin Pietersen’s brilliant 62, fell just short of a dramatic victory as the fifth and final Ashes Test ended in a draw on an enthralling Day V, at The Oval, on Sunday.