Australian batsmen Michael Clarke (103 not out) and Marcus North (96) added to the good early work from opener Shane Watson (53) and Michael Hussey (64) to close out a draw in the third Ashes 2009 test match at Edgbaston this evening.
The captains agreed to pronounce this test cricket match dead at ten to six this evening.
The visitors had looked to be in trouble when losing two wickets yesterday evening while still trailing England’s first innings score by 25 runs.
However, this morning, England added only two wickets and, this afternoon, were unable to prevent a match saving fifth wicket partnership of 185 between Clarke and North who both offered few chances to the England fieldsmen. In truth, the only time Clarke looked in danger of losing his wicket was when the ton approached, having some real ‘nervy nineties’ moments, notably when he was caught off a no-ball from the part-time bowling of Ravi Bopara.
Australia finished on 375 for 5 for their second innings, which will provide more confidence than they will have carried from Lords – and confounded with the first innings here – in their batting abilities.
Clarke, with his text-book style, chalked up his second century of the series, and underlined just why he is perhaps the man to keep his head when Australian batsmen around him seem to be losing theirs: Hussey made incredibly hard work of his 64, but his nerves will be settled by the half-century.
It was notable, last night, just how much England’s bowlers relished the opportunity to bowl at Hussey.
Without much help from the atmosphere or pitch, however, this fifth day wicket did not offer the bowlers as much as they could have expected given the movement of previous days. The benign final day conditions, allied with around five full sessions of play which had been lost to the weather, combined to produce the result many had expected all along: a draw.
The Ashes machine rolls into Headingley on Friday with England leading 1-0 – if the first three matches are anything to go by, it will be some match.