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Gloom means England settle for 3-0

Matthew Sherry at the Kia Oval and Chris Devine

Watch highlights of a gripping final session at the Kia Oval, which saw England attempt to chase 227 in 44 overs

Bad light denied England the opportunity to put an emphatic seal on their Investec Ashes triumph at the Kia Oval.

Set 227 to win in 44 overs, the hosts looked set to further demoralise Australia in front of a raucous crowd during an extended final session.

Kevin Pietersen led the way, striking 62 at better a run-a-ball, and Jonathan Trott also chipped in with a crucial 59.

However, with 21 required in the four scheduled overs remaining and five wickets still intact, the umpires opted to take the players off and bring down the curtain on a series England won 3-0.

Facing a tall order on a pitch offering turn, there was no requirement for England to go for it given their unassailable advantage.

That they did, however, showed great intent to not only win this series but also return to the summit of the world rankings.

Such a decision being made in a unique year that offers 10 Ashes Tests in back-to-back series, when ranking aspirations perhaps take a back seat to cricket’s biggest rivalry, was all the more praiseworthy.

Their endeavour ultimately went unrewarded, although a sizeable amount of consolation comes in the form of their comfortable triumph in the rubber.

For Australia, now winless in nine Tests, there remains much to ponder following a contest that saw them threaten victories in four of the five games.

While that could be seen as a positive, their seemingly terminal inability to get over the line is surely a cause for major concern ahead of the reverse rubber.

That England had a chance to win was determined earlier in a day that cranked up the gears following an attritional third and washed-out fourth.

Having resumed 46 runs short of guaranteeing the follow-on was avoided, England pressed on the accelerator when accumulating 103 runs in a 90-minute morning session.

Bell did much of the early running, moving his overnight 29 to 45 with some typically stylish strokes.

His efforts were well backed up by Matt Prior, who showed glimpses of returning to his best form in a busy and fluent 47.

England's efforts were topped off by Graeme Swann, whose 34 was highlighted by a flat, pulled six off Peter Siddle.

A similarly aggressive approach was required for an Australian side desperate for a face-saving victory.

However, the level of acceleration they craved did not really materialise; too many times, their batsmen attempted to hit the ball too hard rather than mixing good running with the odd boundary.

Only Michael Clarke found the right balance, his run-a-ball 28 not out taking Australia to 111 for six declared after Stuart Broad had claimed 4-43.

In sharp contrast to the tourists' cavalier approach, England prospered via a more methodical attitude.

It started with Cook punishing two poor deliveries in the first over, clipping off his pad and hip as Ryan Harris erred too straight.

Joe Root was not able to follow his captain's lead, taken behind having chased a wide delivery from Harris.

However, that merely brought in Trott, who - as has often been the case in the past - proved a willing ally for Cook.

The duo seem to have a complete understanding when batting together - a trait that was once again showcased.

This was not slogging; this was classic batsmanship with intent as good running married with putting away any poor deliveries.

Trott looked like a man intent on punishing opposition bowlers and his response to an initial barrage of short stuff was particularly impressive.

Siddle, knowing England's number three had been ousted by bumpers a couple of times in this rubber, tried twice in quick succession - only to watch full-blooded pulls race to the fence on both occasions.

Cook, meanwhile, was in one-day international mode, prodding and clipping singles and punishing anything short.

The ease with which he and Trott batted made the England captain's dismissal surprising; he shuffled too far across to be trapped plumb in front by Faulkner.

With Pietersen strolling to the crease, it appeared a decisive period was coming up.

So often a man for the big occasion, this was a day tailor-made for one of those special performances only he seems capable of: a rowdy crowd filling a venue he is synonymous with, an Ashes celebration and a chance to further shatter Australia.

The stars appeared to have aligned and from the moment Pietersen arrived at the crease, with England 86 for two after 19.5 overs, he assumed complete control.

All the hallmarks - wristy whips through leg, stand-and-deliver drives and an unparallelled ability to attack weaknesses in the field - were in full evidence.

One particular shot left those in attendance gasping as Pietersen 'flamingoed' Starc down the ground in a flash.

The strokes thereafter were similarly stunning as he took England to within 64 of a win that seemed increasingly likely.

But Faulkner did a fine job of briefly strangling England, after which Pietersen holed out off Shane Watson.

Trott fell soon after, trapped plumb in front by Faulkner, and the stage appeared set for Bell to cap his man-of-the-series efforts.

However, the batsman was run-out for 17 and, by the time he reached the dressing room, the rest of the players were following him.

Live Text Commentary

Evening Session

England 2nd Innings

7:40pm - MATCH DRAWN; - England 206/5; Woakes 17 - I am afraid that's that for the game. England ultimately end short, although they do so in the comfort the series is won 3-0.

7:36pm - BAD LIGHT STOPS PLAY - Oh no! With all to play for, the umpires call the players off as the light has deteriorated.

7:35pm - WICKET! Bell run out 17; Eng 206/5 and need 21 from 24 balls - Starc is back now and Bell squirts one towards third man for two. Siddle claims he failed to pick up the ball. The runs keep on coming for England as Woakes swipes a no-ball through the vacant slip cordon. Bell is then run out by Starc and a light reading is duly taken...

7:27pm - Eng 194/4 and need 33 from 30 balls - Watson sneakily bowls a couple down the leg side. Those deliveries don't count as wides in this format, although the umpires can intervene if they believe it to be a deliberately negative tactic. A good over for Australia that one. I do hope the light holds. It has started to fade.

The crowd shouting encouragement to England! Incredible atmosphere! — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

7:22pm - Eng 191/4 and need 36 from 36 balls - More good running sees Woakes grab a couple more. He gets off strike and a sloppy piece of fielding allows Bell two more to deep point. England's form batsman then clears mid-off and England need one a ball! The atmosphere is unbelievable!

7:17pm - Eng 180/4 and need 47 from 42 balls - With Harris having limped off injured, Watson returns and is twice taken for two by Woakes in a good over for England.

Another gem from - this is the most number of runs ever on the final day of a test — Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket)

7:12pm - Eng 174/4 and need 53 from 48 balls - Can the Warwickshire boys see England home? The required rate remains gettable.

7:09pm - WICKET! Trott lbw Faulkner 59; Eng 170/4 and need 57 from 51 balls - Trott gives himself room and creams a length ball from Faulkner through the covers, but the bowler gains revenge by winning another lbw verdict as the batsman shuffles across. England's review is unsuccessful. Chris Woakes replaces his Warwickshire team-mate.

7:05pm - Eng 166/3 and need 61 from nine overs - Trott may look to up the ante now, having been content to seek singles when Pietersen was flying at the other end. All results are still possible.

7pm - WICKET! Pietersen c Warner b Harris 62; Eng 163/3 - Pietersen attacks the first ball of Harris' new spell but fails to clear long-on. In walks the undoubted man of the series, Ian Bell, with 64 required from 59.

6:59pm - Eng 163/2 and need 64 from 10 overs - With several scouts on the boundary, a booming Pietersen straight drive is worth just one. Faulkner continues to impress on debut. The crowd at the Kia Oval are loving this!

6:54pm - Eng 159/2 and need 68 from 11 overs - Watson's accuracy deserts him as he serves up a loopy full-toss, which Pietersen pummels through wide mid-on. After a few quiet overs, that one went for nine.

6:52pm - FIFTY! Trott (79b 5x4 0x6) - Trott brings up his half-century with a lofted stroke over mid-on for three. He has played a wonderful supporting role thus far.

6:49pm - Eng 150/2 and need 77 from 12 overs. We are in full one-day mode now, with men on the fence and plenty of deliveries being fired into the blockhole. Faulkner, a player who has impressed in limited-overs cricket, bowls an excellent over to Pietersen.

Kevin Pietersen's 50 is also the fastest for England in the 4th innings of ANY Test. Previously 40 balls by Graham Gooch v Aus in 91 — BBC TMS (@bbctms)

6:44pm - Eng 148/2 and need 79 from 13 overs - Watson is doing a fine job and the required rate has sneaked back above six. England would certainly have taken this position two hours ago, however.

At Hove, England Women have won by five wickets to move two points ahead in their Ashes Series!!

6:40pm - Eng 145/2 and need 82 from 14 overs - There are no issues with the light at present and a home victory remains very possible. Trott has 48.

6:37pm - FIFTY! Pietersen (36b 9x4 0x6) - Pietersen beats his partner to a half-century. The crowd roar their approval for England's fastest Ashes fifty.

6:35pm - Eng 142/2 and need 85 from 15 overs - Shane Watson calms things down for Australia, who will be desperate for a wicket.

.'s Kevin Pietersen batting. . Photo: Visionhaus — Investec Cricket (@InvestecCricket)

Hope everybody at the Oval is enjoying and a brilliant day of cricket! — Chance to Shine (@Chance2Shine)

6:29pm - Eng 139/2 and need 88 from 16 overs - A pulled Pietersen four off Starc brings the target down to 99. KP is flying and strikes his eighth boundary in 28 balls with a flowing stroke, on the up, through the covers before glancing the next delivery fine for four more. This is carnage!!

Bit of a KP masterclass going on here ! — Kyle Hogg (@kylehogg22)

6:24pm - Trott is looking to get Pietersen on strike whenever he can and you can see why. Another poor ball from Lyon is cracked through point. We could have a hell of a finish on our hands!

Arran Brindle runout for 11 England on 166-4 chasing 204 — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

6:21pm - Pietersen opens up the off side facing Lyon to claim another boundary through extra-cover. Australia are forced to use restraining tactics, epitomised by Starc following a slower-ball bouncer with a fine yorker. A tight over is ruined, however, when Pietersen finds the midwicket rope with another glorious shot, reducing the target to 111 from 18.

6:12pm - What a shot this is! Starc returns and Pietersen responds by strolling down the pitch and driving effortlessly down the ground for four. A slower ball is then edged short of first slip. England require 122 from 20 overs.

6:05pm - REVIEW - This is one of the worst reviews I've ever seen. The ball ricochets to backward short-leg off Trott's hip but Australia go upstairs for a catch. Replays show Trott's bat was in a different postcode.

6:03pm - KP is ticking. He drives powerfully - and aerially - to the left of mid-off for another four off the expensive Faulkner. Now the target is 131 from 22 overs.

6pm - The required rate creeps above six for the first time, but England still have every chance with wickets in hand. A typically flamboyant stroke through midwicket enables Pietersen to collect four off Faulkner. If the number four settles in, Australia are in trouble.

England still require 141 runs with 24 overs left in the day. in the middle now — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

5:52pm - WICKET! Cook lbw Faulkner 34; Eng 86/1 - Cook walks across his stumps to fall lbw. In comes Kevin Pietersen with 141 needed.

20 overs gone. England 130-1. Taylor 52*, Knight 67*. Req R/R 4.63. — Sussex CCC (@SussexCCC)

5:45pm - Cook cuts Lyon for four once again to round off an over worth 10 and bring up the fifty stand with Trott, who then takes Faulkner for two more leg-side fours. England are 85 for one after 18 as drinks are taken.

England are setting the platform nicely, I'm predicting England to win by 6 wickets! Come on boys!! — James Taylor (@jamestaylor20)

5:36pm - England end the 14th over on 63 for one, requiring a further 164 from 28 at a rate of 5.86. Both batsmen appear relatively comfortable on a surface that continues to offer slow turn.

Knight and Taylor have brought up brisk half-centuries to put England Women in a strong position at Hove.

5:30pm - Trott is finding gaps in the field very effectively. Michael Clarke decides he will try and make the most of this dusty surface and gives up two in his first over of left-arm spin. “England have gone about this in exactly the right way,” says Michael Atherton on commentary.

5:21pm - Cook capitalises on a loose Lyon delivery with a well-timed cut behind square and a glorious pull from Trott, off Siddle, takes England past 50 in the 12th over.

Garry Sobers & Graeme Smith are the only captains to have declared twice and lost a Test — BBC TMS (@bbctms)

5:16pm - Time for some spin. Nathan Lyon enters the attack and unsurprisingly finds assistance from the fifth-day surface in his first over. Trott subsequently flicks Siddle fine for another four.

5:08pm - A couple of overthrows excite the crowd - and Nasser Hussain in the Sky commentary box. Trott and Cook then collect three apiece off Peter Siddle as England move to 37 for one from eight overs.

England Women are going well despite losing Charlotte Edwards early. Sarah Taylor and Heather Knight have shared an unbroken fifty stand.

4:58pm - Trott gets off the mark with a trademark boundary through midwicket off Starc. Our man at the Kia Oval, Matthew Sherry, will have enjoyed that as he puts together his final report. 

Haddin's record. — Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket)

4:51pm - WICKET! Root c Haddin b Harris 11; Eng 22/1 - Root inside-edges Harris down to fine-leg, where a diving Starc cannot prevent four. Later in the over, England's young opener chases a wide one and feathers through to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. That takes the stumper past Rod Marsh's record number of dismissals in a Test series.

4:48pm - Australia's new-ball pair get through quieter overs. England need 209 from 40 now.

4:38pm - Left-armer Mitchell Starc swings one back into Root’s pads, but that was going over the top. Another leg-side four follows and England are off to a fine start.

4:34pm - Cook collects two fours through midwicket in Ryan Harris' first over.

4:30pm - Here we go then. England require 227 in 44 overs. Alastair Cook and Joe Root will open as usual.

At Hove, meanwhile, England Women have been set 204 from 36 overs to win their third ODI with Australia.

Afternoon Session

Australia 2nd Innings

4:23pm - AUSTRALIA DECLARE; ENGLAND NEED 227 TO WIN

Highlights of a thrilling afternoon session at the Kia Oval as both teams set up a grandstand finish

4:22pm - TEA! Australia 111/6; Clarke 28, Starc 13 - Mitchell Starc crunches Swann down the ground for four. He and Clarke then hit boundaries off Broad in the session's last over. Australia reach the interval with a lead of 226; surely they will declare...

Update.... Stuart Broad is now 4-17 in 22 balls — BBC TMS (@bbctms)

3:55pm - WICKET! Harris b Broad; Australia 83/6 - Chants of "we're going to win 4-0" echo around the Kia Oval as Broad castles Ryan Harris with one that nips back.

Stuart Broad: 3 wickets in 19 balls for 15 runs this innings so far... — BBC TMS (@bbctms)

3:53pm - WICKET! Smith c Swann b Broad 7; Australia 83/5 - And there's a third for Broad as Steven Smith picks out long-on.

Matt Prior's last catch takes him to 220 as wicket keeper for England, past Evans’ 219 into 3rd place in the all-time list — BBC TMS (@bbctms)

WOW..!!!! A simply incredible catch by Sarah Taylor...a "must watch" on SKY to dismiss Fields for 27 off Hazell. Australia 127-4. 26 overs — Sussex CCC (@SussexCCC)

3:38pm - WICKET! Faulkner c Prior b Broad 22; Australia 67/4 - The bowler gets quick revenge as Faulkner nicks off when opening the face.

3:35pm - REVIEW! - Swann raps Michael Clarke on the pad and the umpire's not-out verdict is upheld with the ball hitting the batsman outside off stump. Australia's captain responds with a swept four and, in the next over, Faulkner crunches Broad over long-on for six.

3:25pm - WICKET! Haddin c Prior b Broad 0; Australia 50/3 - Another one bites the dust. Brad Haddin attempts a late cut but can only nick Stuart Broad behind.

3:17pm - WICKET! Watson c Pietersen b Swann 26; Australia 44/2 - Watson advances, tries to hit a six and does not get enough on it, leaving Kevin Pietersen to take a simple catch off Graeme Swann.

At Hove 80/2 after 17 overs v . Commentary continues and BBC LIVE EVENT 15 — BBC TMS (@bbctms)

3:04pm - WICKET! Warner c & b Anderson 12; Australia 34/1 - Cracking stuff from Anderson, who takes an outstanding, one-handed return catch off a Warner leading edge.

2:58pm - That's not a bad response. After Warner cuts a short-and-wide Broad delivery for four, Watson crunches a straight six off an Anderson over that brings 16 runs.

ENGLAND WOMEN'S UPDATE - Anya Shrubsole claimed an early breakthrough for England Women at Hove and Danni Hazell has just ended a useful stand for the second wicket by having Jess Cameron stumped, leaving Australia 53 for two in the 14th over.

2:45pm - MISSED CHANCE! - That should have been taken. Watson, who has been frustrated expertly, drives Anderson straight to mid-off, where Broad shells a sitter.

2:35pm - Warner began the tourists' reply with a booming cover-driven four off James Anderson. The Lancastrian and new-ball partner Stuart Broad have since responded impressively.

The last Australian before James Faulkner to take four wickets on his debut was Stuart Clark, 4-72 at Brisbane in 2006 — BBC TMS (@bbctms)

2:26pm - Australia clearly have something funky in mind! David Warner opens the batting with Shane Watson, who struck 176 in the first innings.

England 1st Innings

2:18pm - WICKET! Swann b Faulkner 34; England 377 all out - Another scalp comes for Faulkner, who has impressed today, as he castles Swann from around the wicket. England trail by 115.

Huge cheers as gets his first run in Test cricket! — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

2:10pm - Go on Swanny! Graeme Swann, having seemingly gloved behind earlier in the over, pulls for a big six off Siddle. Simon Kerrigan then gets off the mark to loud cheers.

2:02pm - WICKET! Anderson c Haddin b Faulkner 4; England 368/9 - It matters not! In the next over, the veteran Aussie holds on as Anderson feathers James Falkner.

1:58pm - MISSED CHANCE! - A significant drop as Brad Haddin shells a sitter to oust James Anderson, who edged his first ball for four, that would have equalled the record for the most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in an Ashes series, of 28.

1:52pm - WICKET! Prior c Starc b Faulkner 47; England 363/8 - Sadly, the fun ends. After clipping and driving fours earlier in the over, Prior skies an attempted pull off James Faulkner and Mitchell Starc takes a fine, diving catch at mid-on.

1:47pm - That's the way to recommence. Matt Prior starts the afternoon by bunting Peter Siddle down the ground for four.

Australia win the toss and will bat first in the 3rd ODI at Hove. — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

England Women will start at 2pm with the game reduced to 36 overs — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

Morning Session

Watch highlights of the opening session of day five from the Kia Oval

In the last 10 overs before lunch England scored 59 runs for the loss of 2 wickets at a run rate of 5.90 — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

1:04pm - LUNCH! England 350/7; Prior 36, Swann 24 - England reach the interval having thrilled the crowd. Eighteen runs come in the session's penultimate over, the highlight being a huge straight maximum from Swann. The final set of six passes without incident.

12:55pm - An entertaining start from Graeme Swann, who edges and drives to the boundary either side of a pull just dropping over midwicket. Starc responds by hitting the number nine, although it ricochets off his helmet and goes for four.

12:49pm - WICKET! Broad b Starc 9; England 315/7 - Bowled him! A beauty from Starc swings back in and uproots Broad's middle stump. That was a good 'un.

There will be another pitch inspection here at Hove at 1.15pm — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

12:36pm - The departure of Bell has little impact on Prior, who hits four more via a well-timed late cut. Stuart Broad then adds his first boundary with a powerful drive through the off side.

12:27pm - WICKET! Bell c Haddin b Faulkner 45; England 299/6 - Argh! Bell's hopes of a fourth ton in the series end as he is strangled down the leg of James Faulkner, who collects a first Test scalp.

12:21pm - England have comfortably avoided the follow-on via a Prior flick for two. That surely means the hosts will win 3-0.

12:18pm - This has been lovely stuff from Prior already, who pulls and squirts further boundaries to leave England on the brink of the follow-on mark.

12:06pm - Matt Prior, who has not had his best series with the bat, opens the face to hit four through third man.

11:55am - WICKET! Woakes c Clarke b Harris 25; England 269/5 - What a shame for Woakes, who had a chance to make a significant contribution in his first Test innings. However, he drives expansively outside off stump and is taken at second slip.

Bell driving better than Lewis Hamilton this morning, racing Starc through the covers for four. 26 to avoid the follow on. 4-267 — Cricket Australia (@CricketAus)

11:45am - Woakes picks up another boundary as a thick edge flies over the cordon for four before his partner leans into a typically delicious straight drive off Harris.

11:37am - Almost a dream early breakthrough for Australia in the second over as Ian Bell clips Ryan Harris just short of midwicket. In the day's first set of six, Chris Woakes squirted Mitchell Starc through point for four.

Pre-Play News

11:27am - Jerusalem is playing. That didn't happen yesterday...

Wet outfield here at Hove, umpires inspecting again at 12.30 — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

11:14am - England will resume on 247 for four with Ian Bell and Chris Woakes at the crease. They need another 46 runs to avoid the follow-on.

11:03am - PLAY TO BEGIN AT 11:30am - Well, that's much more positive than expected. We'll be under way very soon.

While we wait... What has been your favourite from this Series? — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

10:37am - Warm-ups are now taking place on the outfield so it appears play may begin earlier than initially expected.

The sun is out! — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

10:24am - Play is also delayed at the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground, where the women's Ashes is set to recommence.

. chats to at Hove — England Cricket (@ECB_cricket)

Slightly more optimistic news here with an inspection at 11 and some talk we may even get some play before lunch — BBC TMS (@bbctms)

10:15am - Hello and welcome to ecb.co.uk's live coverage of the final day in this Investec Ashes series. The bad news from the Kia Oval is that, after a washout yesterday, it appears play will not start until after 1pm due to heavy overnight rain.