Cricket: Australia retain Ashes as rain ruins England’s hopes of victory in fourth test at Old Trafford

Ben Stokes.
Ben Stokes. Photo credit: Getty Images

Australia have retained the Ashes, after the fourth test at Old Trafford was drawn, with no play possible on day five due to rain, leaving England trailing 2-1 in the series, with one match to play.

England needed to take five more wickets at Manchester on the final day of a thrilling test to level the series at 2-2 and ensure the final test at London's Oval next week was a decider, but the wet weather broke home hearts.

The result means England cannot win the series and Australia, as holders, retain the trophy.

After winning the previous test at Headingley, England did everything within their power to storm back and restore parity in the series at Manchester.

After posting a colossal 592 in their first innings - their highest Ashes innings total on home soil since 1985 - in reply to Australia's 317 all out, they were frustrated, as the tourists battled well on a rain-hit day four to reach 214/5 in their second innings.

Australia still needed 61 to make England bat again or stay at the crease through to stumps on day five to earn the draw that would ensure they remained holders of the urn.

The Manchester weather came to their aid, as not a single ball was possible in torrential rain, ensuring that England's eight-year wait for a series victory that would wrest the Ashes back from Australia would continue.

There is still plenty to play for next week at the Oval, especially for Australia, who can secure their first series win on English soil since 2001.