MANCHESTER, England, (Reuters) – Rain frustrated Australia’s bid to win the third test against England at Old Trafford yesterday and keep alive their slender hopes of regaining the Ashes.
At the premature close of the fourth day, Australia led England by 331 with three second innings wickets remaining.
The teams left the field after tea with Australia 172 for seven after the umpires decided the light was too bad to allow play to continue even though the floodlights were on.
Australia captain Michael Clarke, whose side trail 2-0 in the five-match series, argued in vain with umpire Marais Erasmus and there was scattered booing from the spectators.
However, steady rain soon followed, forcing the umpires to suspend play for the day with further bad weather forecast for today’s final day.
Australia wrapped up England’s first innings for 368 in the morning session to take a 159-run lead.
The Australians then reshuffled their batting order in order to put quick runs on the board, restoring David Warner to his usual spot at opener, and the left-hander responded with 41 from 57 balls including five boundaries.
Clarke, who scored 187 in Australia’s first innings, was again in fine touch, reaching 30 not out as Australia sought to counter England’s slow over rate and defensive fields before the umpires and then the weather intervened.
After England resumed their first innings in the morning session on 294 for seven, Stuart Broad ensured his team avoided the follow-on by taking three boundaries off a Ryan Harris over.
He fell shortly afterwards, caught behind for 32 off an outside edge to give off-spinner Nathan Lyon his only wicket.