Ashes 2013: England v Australia, third Test, day four as it happened

Rain ends play early on day four of the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford, with Australia leading England by 331.

4 August 2013 Last updated at 18:26

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As it happened

  1. 1810: 

    So that ends proceedings for the day. The rain has aided England's bid to save this Test and retain the Ashes. Tomorrow, Australia will be pushing to bowl England out in a bid to stay alive in this series. If they fail, the urn will be gone.

    Join us from 0900 for the day when the Ashes could be retained.

  2. 1803: 

    Rain ruined your plans for the evening? I've got plenty to keep you busy.

    Begin by reading Sam Sheringham's match report, then keep an eye out for the thoughts of Jonathan Agnew.

    Today's TMS lunchtime interview with Gary Neville is available on the TMS podcast page, where the Aggers and Boycott review of the day will be a little later.

  3.   
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England wicketkeeper Matt Prior: "We know where we're at in this game, we need to come back tomorrow and fight hard for the draw.

    "Coming off I suppose was good for us, the umpires make the decisions we just do what we're told. I would imagine Australia will declare overnight, I would be more surprised if they didn't, we need to prepare to bat tomorrow."

    "As long as the urn is sitting up in the dressing room I don't care how it gets there.

    "I still think it's a good batting wicket, the crucial stage will be the new ball if we can get through that it will be key."

  4.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I think David Warner's right - what he has to focus on is making runs. When he's fielding on the boundary, the crowd will give him a bit of banter and if he waves to them and goes with it, he'll sway them with his cricket and win them over."

  5.   
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Australia batsman David Warner: "I felt really good out there today, I tried to accelerate the run rate. I enjoy batting anywhere and as long as I'm helping the team I'm happy.

    "I was trying to unsettle them by using my feet and giving them something to think of. I reckon if we get a full's day play in we have a good chance of getting a win.

    "It's beginning to turn so hopefully we can get the ball in the right areas and get some decent play.

    "The interaction with the crowd has been fantastic, I just have to smile and take it. Hopefully I can turn them round."

  6. 1754: 

    It was those elements that denied us the knowledge of when Australia would declare. From 172-7 and a lead of 331, it was likely they would bat for another five or six overs, leaving themselves the best part of four sessions to bowl England out. Now, the Aussies will almost certainly declare overnight.

  7. 1752: 

    David Warner, promoted to open, did most of the runscoring for Australia, his 41 coming from only 57 balls. With the Aussie scoring rate up towards five an over, chances often came for England and seven were taken. Skipper Michael Clarke remained unbeaten on 30 when the elements intervened.

  8. 1749: 

    Broad's wicket was the beginning of the end for England, the home side bowled out for 368, 159 behind. From then on, it was a matter of quick accumulation for Australia, the race to set England an unreachable target.

  9.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Stuart Broad played marvellously this morning, I do say that occasionally his batting has a flash of Garry Sobers, and there's no higher praise I can give. The Australian choices of bowlers were wrong - how did Harris end up bowling? He looked stiff and tired, he's a bustling fast-medium but he was just lollipop pace today. The best bowler at this end was Peter Siddle but they only brought him on after the follow-on had been saved, and he got wickets."

  10. 1747: 

    England resumed this morning on 294-7, 34 short of making Australia bat again. What could have been a nervy morning was turned into a breeze by Matt Prior and Stuart Broad, the follow-on saved with the minimum of fuss.

  11. 1745: 

    It's been a rather odd day. Once England avoided the follow-on this morning, attention was focused on how Australia would set up the fourth innings in this match, how many would they set England to chase and in how long? The bad light and rain denied the Aussies a burst at England tonight.

  12.   
    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "The fact is, there's not a single player on either side here whose bowling could be described as dangerous."

  13.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "The light situation - I don't agree with the rule, I preferred the old law where the umpires asked the batting side if they wanted to stay on."

  14. 1742: 

    Jonathan Agnew is referring to the forecast for tomorrow, which is pretty bleak. Assuming the weather is good, the likelihood is that England will have to bat all day to save this game and retain the Ashes. Australia will sleep on 172-7 in their second innings, a lead of 331. I'd be stunned if England are not batting first thing tomorrow morning.

  15.   
    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "It's even possible that this is the end of the match and the Ashes have been retained, but let's hope for some play tomorrow."

  16. 1738: 
    CLOSE OF PLAY

    A bleak scene inside Old Trafford, empty stands greeting the announcement that play has been abandoned for the day. A great shame, because this match was bubbling nicely. Probably good news for England, the amount of time they will need to bat to save this game has been cut.

  17.  

    I, Rob: Shane Warne looks like he's been through a regeneration, or two.

    Daniel Thomas: Boycott as The Doctor: Sonic rhubarb.

    Walter White: Pietersen for The Doctor, his charisma and ego does it for me.

  18. 1734: 

    Erm...forget about playing cricket, forget about leaving the house, start building the ark. In fact, make sure that temporary stand doesn't float down Warwick Road. It's hammering down.

  19.  

    Chris, TMS inbox: There has already been a cricketer Dr Who... Peter Davison. He wore cricket whites with a piece of celery in his lapel.

    James: Absolutely loopy. No one knows how old he is. Manages to scrape out of every situation by the skin of his teeth. Surely Tuffers is the new Doctor.

  20. 1731: 

    Anthony Ainley, the actor who played arch villain The Master in Doctor Who in the 1980s, had the honour of an obituary in Wisden Cricketers' Almanack after he died in 2004. An opening batsman for The Stage and London Theatres CC, he "usually took his cricket teas alone in his car - possibly because, according to one report, he 'despised cheeses of all kinds'."

  21. 1729: 

    Mike (below), rain breaks are an excellent time for splinter games of cricket to break out, whether you're watching or playing. My favourite is 'one-hand, one-bounce' where the batsman can be out caught if the ball has bounced once and the fielder takes the catch in one hand. The more extreme game of 'two bounce, head it' is simply too dangerous for my liking.

  22.  

    Mike Doodson: There's a wet tarmac game of kwik cricket on offer in Salford for any disgruntled fans who want to swing a plastic bat.

  23. 1726: 
    Old Trafford

    Proper big, northern rain falling now. The sort that bounces off the tarmac. I really can't see any more play today.

  24.  

    Jimmy Mayer in London, TMS inbox: Been around forever and been everywhere, knows everything, daft hat...? Arise Sir Geoffrey Boycott as the 12th Doctor.

  25.  

    Jonny Lipsham in Edinburgh, via text on 81111: I would cast Tendulkar as the Master in Doctor Who.

  26. 1719: 

    Mark Mitchener to my right tells me that my references to Dr Who should have read Doctor and Time Lord. Apologies all round.

  27.  

    Matthew: Re: James. We had plenty of good weather when the rest of the country had it. Sunny Southampton will just have to wait its turn.

  28. 1716: 

    I'm not sure Graeme Swann would be cricket's best Dr Who. I'm no fan of the Dr, but he's a timelord, right? Surely Sachin Tendulkar is the man?

  29.  

    Phil: New conspiracy. The players are coming off so that 'someone' can go to Salford for the Doctor Who reveal. My money's on Swanny.

  30.  

    Rory, via text on 81111: I think people are forgetting that in day/night situations a white ball is used over the red one to help with visibility. Floodlights or not, it'll be hard to pick up the classic red ball in such dim light.

  31. 1713: 

    It's bucketing down now, leaving us to ponder the prospect of an early finish tonight and an elongated day tomorrow. Problem is, tomorrow's forecast is worse than today's. Could the Ashes be retained in the rain?

  32.  

    James: This is what happens when you play tests in Manchester. They're building a nice new big stand down here in sunny Southampton...

    Jonathan: The rain has slightly spared the umpires blushes, then again, it's too dark out there to see the umpires blush.

  33.   
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "This is the weather we were expecting about half past two. We've all been looking to our left for two and a half hours waiting for this."

  34.   
    Simon Mann, BBC Test Match Special

    "It's raining harder now, to the extent where I think we may not get any more play today. The forecast for tomorrow is not great, but then again it wasn't great for today."

  35.  

    Patrick Gardner, TMS inbox: If the weather forecast was for rain never mind the bad light why don't they start play earlier than 11am to maximise the chance of a full days play which thousands of people have paid to see. The match isn't going to be decided by who plays the better cricket but by the weather. A joke.

  36.   
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "I still think in a situation like that, the umpires should pass it over to the batsmen and ask them if they want to carry on. England wouldn't have wanted to bat against the new ball, but if Australia were willing to face Broad and Anderson in that light, they should have been allowed to. Cricket doesn't do itself any favours at times like that."

  37. 1706: 

    The weather helping England retain the Ashes reminds me of The Oval in 2005, when England had to bat on the fourth evening in their bid to win the urn for the first time in 19 years. On that day, the players were taken off for bad light and when they returned every one of the Aussie players was wearing sunglasses.

  38.  
    DAY FIVE TICKETS

    Tickets are still available for the final day's play - at £20/£25 for adults and £10 for juniors. You can buy them via the Lancashire CCC website (but only if you can print them out), and any remaining tickets will be on sale from 0630 BST tomorrow at Car Park A. Gates will open at 0900 BST - and you can even upgrade to hospitality in The Point for an additional £10 (£5 for juniors). The longer this bad light hangs around, the better value those tickets seem.

  39. 1703: 

    Umbrellas going up, spectators heading for shelter under the stands. Old Trafford may have been redeveloped, but there's little cover for the punters. On the Aussie balcony, Nathan Lyon and David Warner gaze into the distance. A role reversal for Warner, whereas Lyon looks to be aging in front of my eyes.

  40. 1700: 
    IT'S RAINING

    This light chat may become irrelevant now the rain has closed in. Hover cover on the wicket, groundstaff scurrying for more sheets.

  41.  

    Charlie Nicholson, TMS inbox: Following TMS intently from Venezuela where the weather is beautiful. It sounds like very poor decision by the umpires however I am competitive and I'd rather retain the Ashes under controversy than let Australia back in with a chance.

  42.  

    Jim: Anybody who has played knows poor light is a hazard for both sides, especially with the pace England can use.

    Chris: Why have floodlights if you're going to go off when it get's a bit dim?

    Stephen: It's going to be rain that ends play for the day, not bad light.

  43.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "There's a high degree of disgruntlement in the Old Trafford crowd as they look out at an empty playing field being illuminated by four giant floodlights. When the umpires' television interview is played out on the big screens, they erupt into the kind of jeering usually reserved for David Warner."

  44.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "The Law used to say that you would come off if was dangerous. I thought that was a better law. In that famous match in Karachi in 2000, Pakistan had slowed the over-rate down so badly, the umpires - including Steve Bucknor - go so bloody-minded that they allowed England to bat on, and win, in near darkness."

  45. 1655: 

    The TMS crew are discussing the Karachi Test of 2000, when England beat Pakistan in near-darkness. On that day, the Pakistan fielders frequently pretested against the light but the umpires made them play on because they had bowled their overs so slowly. Here, England have dawdled and have effectively been rewarded. If they had bowled their overs at the proper rate, Australia could have declared by now.

  46. 1654: 

    So Hill and Erasmus leave Nick Cook out there to check the light. Other than check the light/weather and bring the new ball out, what does the fourth umpire do?

  47. 1653: 

    Umpire Tony Hill: "We try and play as long as we can. We were able to stay out a heck of a lot longer under the lights - but when we started losing it [tracking the ball] completely from square leg, we gave the skipper the option to use spin, and he didn't want to do that."

    Umpire Marais Erasmus: "That pushed our hand because it's a safety issue for the players. It wasn't a sudden decision - we had been monitoring the light for the last half-an-hour. If the spinner kept on bowling, we'd have played at least another over."

    Umpire Tony Hill: "We want to see an improvement - we'll leave the fourth umpire out here to keep checking. But the [light] figures have gone down since we stopped playing, so we need an improvement."

  48.   
    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special
    Michael Clarke

    "You can't really fault the Australians' intent in this innings - they've gone for it. England have spread the field and slowed the over-rate but Australia have gone along at almost five an over.

  49.   
    Ben Dirs, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "Three umpires remain in the middle, presumably because it's so incredibly dark that they are unable to find their way back to the pavilion. Here's what the ICC has to say on the subject: 'If at any time the umpires together agree that the conditions of ground, weather or light are so bad that there is obvious and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire, so that it would be unreasonable or dangerous for play to take place, then they shall immediately suspend play, or not allow play to commence or to restart.' Problem is, there is no obvious risk."

  50.  

    Michael: So the game is halted due to bad light. Have the umpires not noticed the big tall poles of light that are shining on the pitch?

    Jack: England's 12th man the weather making an appearance. He has a key role in England's attempt of retaining the ashes.

    Martin: Understand what the umpires are going through, it's so dark in my living room I've had to turn the lights on.

  51.   
    Jim Maxwell, BBC Test Match Special

    "The Etihad Stadium in Melbourne has a roof like Wimbledon, they've played Big Bash matches and one-day internationals there. They've played matches there in July and August [in the Australian winter] and the only stipulation they had to make was that it was a dead ball if it hit the roof. Somehow, Adam Gilchrist managed to do that."

  52.  

    Paul at Old Trafford, via text on: 81111: We are in the temporary stand and enjoying an enthralling days cricket, with the lights on and it was as bright as a button. Why did the umpires decide to go off? Way to kill Test cricket.

  53. 1642: 

    An excellent question from Terrieux on the text. Can Australia declare and tell the umpires they want to open the bowling Nathan Lyon and Steve Smith? I love that sort of chat, cricket throws up more of these situations that any other sport.

  54.  

    Robert Black, TMS inbox: This decision highlights the error of eliminating the offering the light to the batting side. Here we are, at a potential tipping point and the umpires puff all over the building tension. Poor.

  55. 1639: 

    Now we've had a delay, play can be extended for up to an hour in order to make up lost time. That means we can continue right up to 1930 this evening. Not sure what the light will be like then, we might need miner's lamps.

  56.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "We didn't lose any time earlier as they took tea early and came back early. But living in the north of England, I think we can say the light's not going to get much better today. Wimbledon tennis has a roof - when's it going to happen in cricket?"

    Tony Hill, Marais Erasmus and Michael Clarke
  57.  

    Mark Williams, TMS inbox: In the Lord's Test v New Zealand practically the whole match was played with the lights on. Are we in the entertainment business or not? This is ridiculous.

  58. 1636: 

    Boos around Old Trafford. Umpires Erasmus and Hill have been joined in the middle by fourth ump Nick Cook. Erasmus has a big grin on his face. That may be wiped off if he goes anywhere near the temporary stand.

  59.  

    Stephen: Poor move by umpires here. Absolute joke. You have lights on.. its not dangerous.. People pay good money to watch the cricket.

    Kunai: I just don't understand how if the floodlights are on you can go off for bad light. Most ridiculous decision possible.

    Gary: That is pathetic. Mid afternoon with floodlights on - there is no way it is too dark to play. People are wearing shades.

    David: It's gloomy but not dangerous with the lights on. Surely if the batting side are happy to play they should all be out there?

  60. 1635: 

    Vic Marks makes a good point. Although it seems unfair that Australia have been forced off while they were happy to continue, imagine the situation had England have been batting. The hosts would have wanted to leave the field and, if the umpires deemed the light to be unworthy, they would have been right to take them off.

  61.   
    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "They have to set a standard because they know that Australia would be happy to bat in this light, but England wouldn't. I don't think Australia will bat on."

  62.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "It's been bad for some time and I agree with Michael Clarke. He'll be asking what has changed? But the players have no say anymore, it's all down to the umpires. The batsmen are the ones who are going to struggle more than anyone, batsmen used to be offered the chance to continue playing but they have no power anymore. I don't like the rules but I don't make the rules."

  63.  

    Toby, via text on 81111: How is it possible for cricketers to play day/night matches with the floodlights on, but it's not possible to play in slight gloom?

  64. 1630: 

    Does this accelerate the Australia declaration? If the light improves enough for play to resume, surely this would be a horrible time for England to be batting?

  65.   
    Jim Maxwell, BBC Test Match Special

    "It's a very unsatisfying situation. You have a full house and a great game of cricket going on, but due to the weather and the deterioration of the light they have to go off. Australia won't be happy with the situation."

  66. 1626: 
    BAD LIGHT STOPS PLAY- Aus 172-7 (lead by 331)

    Michael Clarke is fuming. The umpires get together to discuss the light - remember, it's the umpires' decision on the light nowadays, rather than offering it to the batsmen. After umps Hill and Erasmus have a chinwag, Erasmus ludicrously makes a 'spinny spinny' motion to England, suggesting that it would only be fit for play if England bowl Graeme Swann. England, wanting to go off, immediately give pacer Stuart Broad the nod. Off we go. Clarke, perhaps quite rightly, is giving Erasmus a piece of his mind.

  67.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "Beer snake update: bad light stopped play. Meanwhile, in the middle England's fielders are just starting to make a couple of polite inquiries to the umpires about the level of overhead gloom."

    Crowd
  68. 1621: 
    WICKET- Starc c Swann b Anderson 11 (Aus 172-7)

    Cheap wickets for James Anderson, pretty irrelevant in the context of this Test. Mitchell Starc reaches for a wide one, toe-ending the ball to Graeme Swann at extra cover. All eyes on Clarke, but no declaration yet.

    Fall of wickets: 23-1 (Rogers 12), 74-2 (Warner 41), 99-3 (Khawaja 24), 103-4 (Watson 18), 133-5 (Smith 19), 152-6 (Haddin 8), 172-7 (Starc 11)

    Scorecard

    Listen to the best commentary clips on BBC Test Match Special

  69.   
    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "In terms of the light, the umpires haven't consulted so far, so if it is good enough for Australia to bat in it should be good enough for England to bat in as well."

  70. 1617: 
    NOT OUT- Aus 167-6

    Not out caught, not out lbw. England not too disappointed, that review has eaten up more precious minutes.

  71. 1615: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Aus 166-6

    Swann turns one across Clark's pads. appealing as Prior gathers the attempted tickle. Not out, but bowler and keeper are convinced. The grinning Swann convinces skipper Cook to have another look...

  72.  

    Peter: Disappointingly brief appearance by the rain at Old Trafford. We expect more application from an England player.

  73. 1612: 
    Aus 162-6 (lead by 321)

    A spare pair of gloves for Michael Clarke brought on by the chunky sweater wearing 12th man Ed Cowan. New gloves, or a message from the coach? Apparently, Cowan was given the day off yesterday. What would a non-playing squad member do with a day off? I'm not sure I'd fancy strolling around the Trafford Centre while my mates were trying to win a Test match.

  74.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "Fans in the temporary stand are making a credible bid to break the well-known world record for the longest cricket beer snake. Their efforts to stretch it across an entire half of the two-part stand are, however, being slightly undermined by the occasional mid-snake collapse and the need for running repairs."

  75. 1607: 
    Aus 156-6 (lead by 315)

    Mitchell Starc the new man, arriving as Swann finds some square turn. England probably won't want to see that. Along with the uneven bounce we've experienced in this Aussie second innings, it points to a very difficult day-and-a-bit's worth of batting in order to save this game.

  76.   
    Ben Dirs, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "We have one of those strange periods now that you get in Test cricket when a declaration is imminent - the urgency of the two batsmen contrasting wildly with the apparent lack of interest and apathy of the fielding side. But Anderson will take that - a Test wicket is a Test wicket."

  77.   
    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special
    James Anderson

    "A big cheer for Jimmy Anderson. That wicket took a long time coming but it was perfectly justifiable even if it didn't come in the traditional sense."

  78. 1603: 
    WICKET- Haddin c Broad b Anderson 8 (Aus 152-6)

    England continue to chip away, Brad Haddin giving James Anderson his first wicket in the Test. Selflessly looking to push on, Haddin aims a mow towards Macclesfield but only sends the ball high into the steel sky. It comes down with snow on, but into the safe hands of Stuart Broad at mid off.

    Fall of wickets: 23-1 (Rogers 12), 74-2 (Warner 41), 99-3 (Khawaja 24), 103-4 (Watson 18), 133-5 (Smith 19), 152-6 (Haddin 8)

    Scorecard

    Listen to the best commentary clips on BBC Test Match Special

  79.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "Is that the last of the rain for today? I'm not sure it is I'm afraid. There are about 50 shades of grey in this sky and the darkest clouds are blowing our way from the west. If they go off again, would that signal the cue for Australia to declare?"

  80. 1557: 
    Aus 144-5 (lead by 304)

    This Australia second innings shows what a difference attitude and mindset can make in Test cricket. England have not once attacked, virtually gifting Australia a rate of nearly five an over. Contrast that to what will happen later when England come to bat. Catchers in place, the Aussies will attack. Runscoring will be difficult. Graeme Swann after tea, Australia push the lead past 300.

  81.  

    Andy Gibson: Aussies showing what a decent T20 side they are.

  82. 1553: 
    Aus 138-5 (lead by 297)

    Predictably defensive from England at a very quiet, very gloomy Old Trafford. The floodlights, which have been on for some time, are taking such an effect as to reflect off the stickers of Brad Haddin's bat.

  83.  

    Darren Warburton, TMS inbox: On holiday from Manchester in France and watching horse display with six-year-old daughter Grace in blazing sun at Chantilly and thinking of lovely, cooling, refreshing, Test-saving Manchester rain!

  84. 1550: 

    So along with the wait for rain, or lack of it, we wait for an Australian declaration. My guess is that they will set England about 350 to win. At the current rate, that would mean batting for around another 12 overs, leaving the hosts 25 or so to bat tonight. Players back out, James Anderson to complete his over.

  85.  

    Glen George, TMS inbox: I reckon Clarke might declare at tea. Likes a gamble and 296 might well be enough to win and low enough to give enough of a sniff to interest England in going for it...

  86. 1547: 

    Thanks Mark. I arrive with news, news that the covers are coming off. Rumours of a 1550 BST restart as yet unconfirmed.

  87.  
    SOCIAL MEDIA

    Want to follow the Ashes on social media? @bbcsport on Twitter has all the breaking news and action, while @bbctms provides the match facts and statistics, and @bbc5live brings you the best audio.

    There are also behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram and a gallery of action from the match on Facebook.

  88.  

    Mike: First cheer of the day from the other half - must be rain.

  89.  

    Tommy, TMS inbox: Frantically following the live text from a hammock in Nicaragua. The others are about to head to a volcano but there's no way I'm leaving the precious, delicious wifi!

  90. 1542: 

    Rain looks to be clearing up, maybe it was just a shower. Time to hand you into the expert stewardship of Stephan Shemilt for the rest of the day.

  91.  

    Mike Fisher: If England can take a few more wickets and get their tails up, they'll certainly think they can chase a 320-350 target down.

  92.   
    Ben Dirs, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "Wickets pretty much irrelevant at this stage of the game - except in terms of the Australia batsmen's averages. Perhaps seven or eight more overs of tap immediately after this early tea break and England could be batting."

  93.  
    Catherine Tyldesley

    Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley on TMS: "My great-great-great uncles were Johnny and Ernie Tyldesley, who are distantly related to Michael Vaughan. But I'm not much of a cricketer - I wasn't even good at rounders at school."

  94. 1536: 

    After the county scores from Kevin Howells, it will be time for Aggers to speak to Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley, who plays Eva Price in the Manchester-based soap, whose new studios are being built just the other side of the Manchester Ship Canal from us here at Media City.

  95.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "If ever there was a crowd ready for rain, it was this one at Old Trafford. Within seconds of the first drop, jumpers and cagoules were being furiously pulled over heads and zipped up, brollies at last pressed into service."

  96.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I think Australia need another 30 or 40 before declaring. If they are bowled out, it could be even better for them as England will feel they need to go after the total."

  97. 1532: 
    TEA INTERVAL

    And as it's raining and we're less than 10 minutes from the scheduled interval, tea will be taken immediately.

  98. 1531: 
    RAIN STOPS PLAY

    Brad Haddin is the new batsman, Clarke carves Anderson into the leg side but Joe Root can't pick it up in the gloom and it beats his belated dive to the boundary. And the rain has finally arrived... umbrellas go up, the hover cover is brought on and the players slink off.

  99.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Clarke only jogged that first run and sold the kid [Smith] down the line. He's a worse runner than me, there."

    Aggers adds: "I wouldn't quite say that."

  100. 1526: 
    WICKET- Smith run out (Craddock/Prior/Anderson) 19 (Aus 133-5)

    With the lead not far short of 300, Anderson bowls a wide to Smith, then Smith pushes a single to substitute Tom Craddock at third man, goes for a risky second run (while Clarke stays still) and is run out by some distance as Prior throws to the bowler's end and Anderson takes the bails off!

    James Anderson

    Fall of wickets: 23-1 (Rogers 12), 74-2 (Warner 41), 99-3 (Khawaja 24), 103-4 (Watson 18), 133-5 (Smith 19)

    Scorecard

    Listen to the best commentary clips on BBC Test Match Special

  101.  

    Paul Bailey, TMS inbox: Just heading home from the playground with my children, Esme and George, because it has started raining in Flixton. We are around seven miles downwind of Old Trafford and the wind is blowing the weather in your direction!

  102. 1525: 
    Australia 131-4 (Clarke 10*, Smith 18*)

    What's quite remarkable is that we might get to tea (1540 BST) without going off for rain here... Clarke forces a two off his legs, and Aggers and Boycs on TMS are wondering how long it will be before Clarke "dangles a carrot" at England by declaring. Swann tosses it up, the Aussie skipper slog-sweeps it for a single to mid-wicket. A slower ball is launched for another straight six by Smith, who moves to 18 (from only 18 balls) with a single.

  103.  

    David, via text on 81111: My prediction is that the Aussies might just press the self-destruct button here and collapse cheaply, in a similar fashion to England at Adelaide in 2006.

  104. 1520: 
    Australia 121-4 (lead by 277)

    The Barmy Army strike up heir favourite song, 'Everywhere We Go', as James Anderson replaces Bresnan at the Brian Statham End - and Clarke opens the face to bunt a single to third man. Anderson fires in a swinging full toss at Smith, who swings and smears a single. He has 11, Clarke moves to seven.

  105. 1516: 
    APPEAL - NOT OUT- Australia 118-4 (Clarke 5*, Smith 10*)

    Swann bowls what is almost a bouncer, banging a rank bad delivery in halfway down the pitch and he's lucky Clarke can only shovel it for a single to long leg. Bowler and batsman both chuckle. Smith adds a couple, then goes for a big slog-sweep and is caught by Cook at leg slip, or is he? England don't review it - and replays show it came off his shoulder. Good decision.

    Michael Clarke
  106.   
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "What a shot that is, it just shows you Steve Smith has a huge amount of talent. I know the pressure isn't really on in terms of getting shots but that was fantastic."

  107. 1512: 
    Australia 111-4 (lead by 273)

    Steady from Bresnan, who gets a bit of lift out of the pitch. Three singles from the over, then Smith goes aerial, having a big swing at Big Bres and connects with a six over long-off! Still gloomy, but no rain yet.

  108. 1507: 
    Australia 105-4 (Clarke 2*, Smith 1*)

    Smith comes down the pitch to his first ball from Swann but plays a defensive shot. Eventually he's off the mark with a single, Clarke late dabs one past slip. The lead is 264.

  109.   
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "That's what you call perfect field placement - Pietersen has had to move a yard backwards. Simple catch, well held. In terms of the weather, Australia obviously have a target in mind and are trying to get there as quick as possible. Australia have a chance now, but they're probably looking towards 325."

  110.  

    Patrick: Middle order must shore it up for the Aussies. Otherwise a draw (or even win) is within sight for England.

  111. 1504: 
    Australia 103-4 (lead by 262)

    Steve Smith is the new batsman. Now, what will Australia's declaration target be?

  112.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "Swann's first wicket of the innings follows a chorus of 'Swann Will Tear You Apart' to the tune of Joy Division's 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' from the Barmies. One fan puts his brolly up and down in a single motion, as if rehearsing his routine for the most anticipated downpour in living memory."

  113. 1501: 
    WICKET- Watson c Pietersen b Bresnan 18 (Aus 103-4, lead by 262)

    Bresnan tries a short-pitched attack at Watson who takes the bait and is caught at third man by Kevin Pietersen who probably only has to take one step back from where he had been standing. Simples.

    Shane Watson

    Fall of wickets: 23-1 (Rogers 12), 74-2 (Warner 41), 99-3 (Khawaja 24), 103-4 (Watson 18)

    Scorecard

    Listen to the best commentary clips on BBC Test Match Special

  114.   
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "Celebrations for Stuart Broad there - he obviously had a whisper and told them to get one down to the leg side. He's thinking there, and now Khawaja, who was one of the best in the Australian side, has gone. Australia have played pretty well in this second innings. They need to continue scoring at the rate they have and they can declare in the next few overs to get back out there bowling. Wickets are irrelevant now - they just need to get as high a score as possible."

    Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann
  115. 1458: 
    Australia 101-3 (lead by 260)

    Captain Clarke strides out, there's still a very defensive field as England look to keep the boundaries down. The skipper helps himself to a single to bring up three figures for Australia and take the lead to 259, then Watson moves to 16 with a single.

  116.   
    Ben Dirs, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "Tantalising times at Old Trafford - does Australia skipper Clarke plough on until the lead is 400-plus, effectively snuffing out any chance of an England victory, or does he add another 100 as quickly as possible, set the hosts a target of 350 and tempt them into a chase? Given the final day is supposed to be beset by bad weather, the latter seems like the sensible option."

  117. 1455: 
    WICKET- Khawaja b Swann 24 (Aus 99-3, lead by 258)

    Swann spins one dow the leg side and Khawaja is bowled around his pads! Looked a deliberate ploy - possibly suggested by Stuart Broad, who Swann immediately hugs as the stumps go down.

    Usman Khawaja

    Fall of wickets: 23-1 (Rogers 12), 74-2 (Warner 41), 99-3 (Khawaja 24)

    Scorecard

    Listen to the best commentary clips on BBC Test Match Special

  118.  

    Dan, via text on 81111: How much longer will Australia bat for? There is no point in reaching an unassailable lead as a draw is no good for them. England are not going to score 240 in four rain-affected sessions which will unsettle batsmen. Declare now!

  119. 1452: 
    Australia 96-2 (Khawaja 22*, Watson 14*)

    With rain seemingly on the way (now inside the boundary of the M60 in Didsbury), Watson is happy to swing away at Bresnan, gathering a couple of twos and a single. Still dry here in Salford Quays, which as I've explained, is pretty close to Old Trafford - much nearer than Didsbury.

  120.   
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "I think we're going to get used to seeing Watson in the middle order. Warner is a real talent and when he goes out to bat he looks a great player. If Watson is going to bowl a few more overs, he might have to get used to this position."

  121. 1446: 
    Australia 91-2 (lead by 250)

    Watson sweeps Swann for his first boundary, then nicks the bowing with a single off the last ball - the lead is 250.

  122.  

    Tony Curwen, TMS inbox: DRS is now discredited. Both sides in this Ashes series have been victims of poor third umpire decisions. What is more the entire crowd is shown the review. It would be best not to show this on the big screen if DRS is going to be used as it highlights the poor decision-making process. The crowd then distrusts the umpires (especially the third umpire) and then cricket is in danger of having their umpires treated with the same disrespect shown to football referees. Cricket becomes the loser.

    But isn't it worse when the TV viewers can see DRS replays but the spectators, who have paid to get in, can't?

  123. 1444: 

    Still dry here in Salford Quays, but on the weather radar I've just been shown, there's a large cloud of doom heading to Manchester...

  124.   
    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "My guest at tea is Coronation Street star Catherine Tyldesley - who, if she's related to ex-Lancashire players JT and Ernest Tyldesley, must be related to Michael Vaughan as he's related to them."

  125.   
    A Question of Sport Teaser, BBC

    A reminder of today's #QSTeaser from @QofS_Official: Who are the seven players to make their Test debut for Australia since 1980 whose surnames start with 'Mc' or 'Mac'? And the answers... Craig McDermott, Andrew McDonald, Bryce McGain, Stuart MacGill, Glenn McGrath, Peter McIntyre, Clint McKay.

  126. 1441: 
    DRINKS BREAK- Aus 86-2 (Khawaja 22*, Watson 4*)

    Watson knocks Bresnan for a single, England are looking to keep the game slowed down so of course the field changes dramatically when the left-handed and right-handed batsmen change over. Which they do, twice more as singles are taken. Big Tim digs in a bouncer which is signalled as an aerial wide, and it's time for drinks.

  127.  

    Ben: Root catches Warner with far more conviction than Warner managed to catch Root.

  128. 1437: 
    MISSED STUMPING- Aus 82-2 (lead by 237)

    Shane Watson is the new batsman, deferred from his regular opening role. A single from Khawaja brings the right-handed "Watto" on strike but the field stays deep and the third-wicket pair pick up three more singles. Then Swann gets one to turn a long way - it's a very, very difficult stumping chance but still a chance, although the ball flies past Prior's gloves and over Jonathan Trott at slip (who loses his cap in surprise) for four byes.

    Aggers tells TMS listeners it's raining in Hyde... a fact which will sound extra-ominous to anyone who enjoyed the series "Life on Mars".

  129.   
    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "It was an excellent catch, Root had time to think about it. He had to run in a little bit from deep square leg and caught it round about knee high. So it was a very nice catch, it was quite a handy innings from Warner. I think if he plays in the next Test they may pepper him with some short balls."

  130.   
    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "The producer has just told me it's not the first time that a hook from Warner has been caught by Root."

  131. 1429: 
    WICKET- Warner c Root b Bresnan 41 (Aus 74-2)

    After a couple of singles bring up the fifty stand, Warner hooks a Bresnan bouncer and is well caught at deep square leg by the diving... Joe Root! You couldn't make it up...

    David Warner

    Fall of wickets: 23-1 (Rogers 12), 74-2 (Warner 41)

    Scorecard

    Listen to the best commentary clips on BBC Test Match Special

  132.   
    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Watson and Clarke are both padded up on the balcony, so we don't know who's going to come in next."

  133. 1426: 
    Australia 72-1 (lead by 231)

    Khawaja comes down the pitch to Swann and lofts him over his head for four in front of the pavilion. A single takes him to 18, Warner pinches another to take the strike.

    The question was raised in the first innings... would it wind Warner up to bring Joe Root on to bowl? And as someone asked on Twitter, would Warner's shot of choice be an uppercut over slip, a punch through the off side, a haymaker over the bowler's head or a short-arm jab to leg?

  134.   
    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "If it does rain, let's hope it blows through quickly. But England will be happy to take time out of this game."

  135. 1422: 
    Australia 66-1 (Warner 39*, Khawaja 13*)

    Warner guides a single through square leg, removing his brightly-coloured gloves at he non-striker's end to examine his bruised thumb. But he quickly has to re-velcro it up when a Khawaja single brings Warner back on strike.

  136.  

    Aled at Old Trafford, via text on 81111: "Another poor DRS decision. There's no point in using any more in this match. Three reviews correctly used by England and taken away by poor umpiring."

  137. 1417: 
    Ouch!- Australia 64-1 (Warner 38*, Khawaja 12*)

    With Broad off the field, England turn to fellow seamer Tim Bresnan, who raises one of the biggest cheers of the day when he digs his second ball in short and it smacks Warner on the left thumb and then the chest. The Aussie physio comes on... and the England physio takes the opportunity to come and work on James Anderson's lower leg.

    Fall of wickets: 23-1 (Rogers 12)

    Scorecard

    Listen to the best commentary clips on BBC Test Match Special

  138.   
    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "In a way the weather forecast has freed up the Australian batsman they know they have to go for it. There is no point being cagey, which suits Warner as that is how he plays anyway. They have got to be positive and it may suit Khawaja's style as well."

  139.   
    Ben Dirs, BBC Sport at Old Trafford
    David Warner

    "Warner doesn't strike me as a man who'll be cowed by a bit of booing. He's bristling with muscular intent at the moment, looking to score off every delivery, running hard and generally winning his punch-up with Broad."

  140. 1414: 
    Australia 64-1 (lead by 223)

    Broad leaves the field, to be replaced by substitute fielder Ben Foakes of Essex, but Swann is making little impact as Khawaja turns a low, full delivery off his legs for four. Another well-run three and a quick single through backward point mean it's eight from the over - 20 from the last two.

  141.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "The only topic of conversation in the press box all day has been the weather. After 13 days of the series without a single rain delay, I think a few of the journalists are actually missing them."

  142. 1410: 
    Australia 56-1 (Warner 37*, Khawaja 4*)

    We're hearing reports of light rain elsewhere in Greater Manchester as Warner hooks Broad for four, before whipping a scampered two off his legs. With the field back as if it's a one-day international, quick runs are easy as Warner and Khawaja add a couple of easy singles. And with Broad's short-pitched attack rather predictable at this stage, Warner gets up on his toes to force another four through the covers. 12 from the over. But there are umbrellas going up in the crowd...

  143.  
    ASHES VOTE

    The results of our Ashes vote are in... and 49% said England can still win this Test, while 51% didn't think so.

  144.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford
    England fans

    "This group of northern-based lawyers were devastated when I told them I couldn't let them into the media centre to introduce their cardboard cut-out of American singer Taylor Swift to Geoffrey Boycott. Had it been Katy Perry, of course, it might have been a different matter. For the uninitiated, Boycs is an enormous fan of Miss Perry's oeuvre."

  145. 1404: 
    Australia 44-1 (lead by 203)

    Warner and Khawaja help themselves to three singles against Swann, who's bowling round the wicket but no getting much assistance from the pitch at the moment. Or so it seems.

  146.   
    Ben Dirs, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "The most farcical aspect of DRS as it currently functions is the fact that after two minutes of reviewing, Snickometer often pops up after the decision has been made and renders the previous two minutes utterly futile. No wonder Warner's smiling..."

  147.   
    Damien Martyn, Ex-Australia batsman on Test Match Special

    "DRS is in the game now and like any technology there will always be some little issues with how players use it, but we have to live with it. We have to accept that DRS is here to stay, yes let's look to make improvements but we have to accept it's staying."

  148.  

    Chris: To me there's a clear deviation on the ball. There's a noise too, and snicko picked up an edge. That's out.

    Paul: First impression is Warner hit it, no evidence to overturn. Why can't they use snicko on DRS?

    Ruari: I think Test cricket should do away with DRS. More controversy than clarity.

  149. 1401: 
    Australia 41-1 (Warner 24*, Khawaja 3*)

    Warner pushes Broad for a leg bye to stretch the lead to 200 - so effectively, Australia are 200-1 in a one-innings game with just under five sessions (weather permitting) remaining. Tightly poised - that's why w love Test cricket. Don't we?

  150.  

    Steve, via text on 81111: Unless the weather intervenes (likely) or England skittle Australia (less likely) this afternoon will just be a process of watching Australia building a lead of 400 with an hours play remaining. Then it starts to get interesting.

  151. 1357: 
    Australia 40-1 (lead by 199)

    Khawaja tentatively increases the score with a leg bye, allowing Warner to brutally crack Swann for four through the covers. A single takes him to 24.

  152. 1353: 
    NOT OUT
    Stuart Broad

    Is that a Hotspot on the top edge of Warner's bat? One Hotspot camera seems to suggest there is, one doesn't. And with Kumar Dharmasena in the third umpire's booth, it's fair to say this could go either way. No sound... and the "not out" decision is upheld. And that's over.

  153. 1351: 
    UMPIRE REVIEW- Australia 34-1 (lead by 193)

    Broad shows good control, and finds he edge of Khawaja's bat but it bounces halfway to Captain Cook, the solitary slip. Khawaja nudges a single, but the Broad gives Warner too much width and he unleashes a square cut for four - then Warner hooks, England appeal for a catch behind and when it's not give, go for a review...

  154.   
    Ben Dirs, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "A problem for Australia is they need quick runs but both of these batsmen, Warner and Khawaja, will want to spend some time in the middle, meaning they might be more averse to taking risks."

  155. 1346: 
    Australia 29-1 (Warner 15*, Khawaja 2*)
    Old Trafford

    Floodlights are on at Old Trafford, plenty of cloud cover as Warner drills Graeme Swann for a two to long-off.

  156. 1345: 
    WEATHER FORECAST

    BBC Weather's Darren Bett: Rain area moving more slowly north. Perhaps not arriving for the Ashes until 3pm or so. Then slower to move away.

  157. 1343: 
    Australia 27-1 (lead by 186)

    David Warner shows early intent by pulling Broad for a single, while fellow left-hander Usman Khawaja tucks a two off his legs to get off the mark.

  158. 1340: 
    ON THE MOVE

    If you're off out for a slap-up Sunday carvery lunch or similar, don't forget you can follow every moment of the Ashes with the BBC iPlayer Radio app and the BBC Sport app. On the radio app, you can listen live to Test Match Special and download the Aggers and Boycott close-of-play podcasts. Live text commentary, with analysis and insight from our reporters at the ground, is available on the BBC Sport app.

    Download the BBC Sport website app and download the BBC iPlayer Radio app.

  159.  

    Eric Wright, Sussex, TMS inbox: I fancy if Australia set a target of 250 we could win this match. If they bat a full session and set 300 plus it will e a draw if England are sensible.

  160. 1339: 

    The hover cover is off, the threat of rain appears to have abated (for now) and the players are ready to begin the afternoon session. Stuart Broad to bowl.

  161.  

    Former Middlesex and Durham seamer Simon Hughes on TMS: "The ICC trial has finished for this Test, but I think it's an ongoing process. The problem here is cost."

  162.  

    Nick Weetch: First Cameron followed by Miliband, now Hart then Neville. BBC keeping it balanced as ever!

  163.  

    Former Middlesex and Durham seamer Simon Hughes on TMS: "Hawk-Eye itself is six cameras positioned around the ground, all positioned at slightly different heights so you get he trajectory as well as the pace of the ball, so the computer can project where the ball would have gone after it hit the pad.

    "The ICC is talking about changing the system as at the moment, the third umpire relies on the TV director sending him the pictures. But for this Test, Nigel Llong from he ICC elite panel is sitting in a truck in the car park with a big monitor with eight or nine camera angles, and an operator with him to show him whatever angle he wants. The ICC know the process is quite slow - but if the third umpire has independent control, there won't be as much time-lag."

  164.  

    Andy Johnstone: Here's hoping we can win the series by 'fair means or foul weather'.

    George Dibble: Frantically doing a rain dance.

  165. 1331: 

    Gary Neville has departed the TMS box, but there's more to come as Aggers is going to talk DRS with Simon "The Analyst" Hughes...

  166.   
    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "The hover cover isn't on, but it's parked near the pitch, so it doesn't have far to go if it does rain..."

  167. 1327: 

    Bad news - reading that the hover cover is coming on at OT... must be very local rain as it's no reached Salford Quays yet...

  168.  

    Ralph Brooker, TMS inbox: The next time I hear or read some football fan saying that cricket is a soft game I shall refer him to Gary Neville. He's up there with Steve Waugh as sportspeople I admire beyond their technical abilities.

  169.  

    Former England defender Gary Neville on TMS: "I actually quite like it when players are getting booed, because of the gladiatorial atmosphere it creates, like when I had to go to places like Anfield and Elland Road. If you can't cope with that, you shouldn't be playing professional sport. That's why I come to see England play Australia - I want the Australians to be narky. But as a fan, I think this is an England team you can trust more than ones in the past, they really support each other."

  170.  

    Robert Finnigan: Fascinating chat between Aggers and Gary Neville on TMS. Neville talking with passion and insight on both football and cricket.

  171.  

    Matthew Miller, TMS inbox: Can't see poor Ryan Harris making the next Test with a three-day turnaround, can you? 30-odd overs for the Aussies' star turn will surely be too much for his fragile body to take...

  172.  

    Former England defender Gary Neville on TMS: "I batted with Matthew Hayden for my club side and we both scored hundreds in one game, but that was the beginning of the end of my cricket career as the local newspaper report mentioned I was an apprentice footballer at Manchester United. The United youth team coach didn't realise I was still playing cricket, and I had to stop because of the insurance."

    You can see a picture of Hayden and Neville which is doing the rounds on Twitter

  173.  

    George Napthine, TMS inbox: Interestingly poised match, made all the better by Jim Maxwell's increasingly enthusiastic introductions to the shipping forecast.

  174.  
    ASHES VOTE

    Can England still win this Test?

    Have your say by voting here.

    The BBC Sport online vote will close at 1340 BST. Please note that votes are tallied by an external company, which uses IP addresses and cookies to process the results. For more information, click here.

  175.  
     Gary Neville

    Former England defender Gary Neville on TMS: "My brother Phil had a genuine choice between football and cricket as Lancashire offered him a contract, he'd played with Andrew Flintoff for a long time and he'd broken records set by the likes of Mike Atherton and John Crawley. But he wanted to follow me to Manchester United. It's a shame you can't play both sports, and a shame that the seasons overlap."

  176.   
    A Question of Sport Teaser, BBC

    Today's Ashes #QSTeaser from @QofS_Official: Who are the seven players to make their Test debut for Australia since 1980 whose surnames start with Mc or Mac?

  177.  

    Andy in Wrexham, TMS inbox: Just listening to Sir Geoffrey's comments about this again. Is there any reason why the sessions cannot be defined in terms of a minimum number of overs, delaying the start of lunch and tea to get the 30 overs in per session? Keep the 1.40 and 4.00 start times for the next session and I'm sure it will focus minds on getting through the overs promptly. Would also help avoid the excessively extended evening sessions.

  178.  

    Former England defender Gary Neville on TMS: "My brother and I used to play against the likes of Ronnie Irani when I was 14. We grew up in a very sporty environment and we had as many cricketing heroes as football. We used to impersonate different people's run-ups - I always got hit for six bowling like Derek Pringle, so I switched to being Imran Khan!"

  179. 1308: 

    Thanks, Stephan. Keep your ears glued to TMS - Aggers is looking at his rain radar and crossing his fingers that the rain might just pass Manchester to the south, and now he's going to talk to Gary Neville.

  180. 1305: 

    So an intriguing afternoon in prospect, that is if the weather allows. Talking you through whatever may come our way will be Mark Mitchener.

  181.  

    Johnny, via text on 81111: I'm working in the bar under the point stand, checking the text commentary, business has been slow today. Too much nervous tension to leave the action?

  182.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I thought it was England's morning all round, I couldn't understand Australia's bowling. Siddle was the best bowler that they had, Broad played fantastically well. Two of the shots through the covers were gorgeous. From Australia's point of view it hasn't gone to plan and I am puzzled by the fact that Watson hasn't come out."

  183. 1301: 
    LUNCH- Aus 24-1

    Brilliant chirp from around the bat as Graeme Swann bowls the final over before lunch. With David Warner on strike, "come on Root" is the chat from behind the stumps. Warner, looking to be fleet of foot, pushes one, leaving Khawaja to take us to lunch. The Aussies lead by 183 with nine second-innings wickets in hand. Biffing will be the order of the afternoon, perhaps along with some shower-dodging.

  184.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford
    David Warner

    "Could this be David Warner's audition for an opener's spot for the rest of the series and beyond? Shane Watson has had a miserable summer and by opening with two of their three left-handers, they have a chance to play themselves in before Graeme Swann comes in to the attack. And right on cue, looks who's coming on to bowl at new man Usman Khawaja, who happens to be a leftie..."

  185.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "The new ball hasn't done much for the England bowlers but they are good bowlers and it takes a lot to roll them. Why else would you hold Watson back? He must be injured; he is a new-ball player and would be Australia's best option."

  186. 1255: 
    WICKET- Rogers c Prior b Broad 12 (Aus 23-1)

    The best way for England to check the Australian scoring will be to take wickets and Stuart Broad obliges with strike number one. Chris Rogers is looking to run the ball down to third man, but only succeeds in edging through to the diving Matt Prior. Runs and wickets will be the order of the afternoon, highlights cricket. Usman Khawaja arrives for what will probably the last over before lunch.

     Chris Rogers

    Fall of wickets: 23-1 (Rogers 12)

    Scorecard

    Listen to the best commentary clips on BBC Test Match Special

  187.  

    Phil: Targets much above 300 are too high and will use up a whole session. Surely just blast 100 off 15 overs and send England in.

  188. 1251: 
    Aus 19-0 (lead by 178)

    Anderson mixes his length to Warner, full, then a steepling bumper. Warner can't keep ducking those, he needs bat on ball, and gets himself into a bit of a tangle trying to work another Anderson short ball. Anderson again goes short, but this time Warner pounces, swivelling on a pull for four. The fielders on the boundary look like they are struggling to see the ball.

  189.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Australia have to play sensibly; they need to get a few overs in with the new ball. When it starts to lose its shine later they can then go for a bit more. People talk about being positive and aggressive and scoring runs quickly, but in international cricket you have to be patient. They could be 10-3 so you have to be discreet. It shouldn't be that easy if they bowl anything like they can bowl."

  190. 1247: 
    Aus 11-0 (lead by 170)

    The first 90 minutes of the day - England passing the follow-on and then clinging on with Prior and Anderson - saw the crowd invest so much emotion that the spectators are now having a little pre-lunch breather. Rest assured, there will be plenty for them to get their teeth into this afternoon. Lunch comes early for Chris Rogers, Stuart Broad serving a long hop in the buffet that is pulled for four.

  191.  

    Andrew: This match is far from over. If we can get over 400 from this innings and get our bowlers performing as they have the game is on.

    Chris: If Anderson can defend well enough & Prior attacks sensibly, we can get 400 which would be an overdue score.

    Stuart: Think England could have won this if they had followed on. No chance from here.

  192. 1242: 
    Aus 5-0 (lead by 164)

    The theme from Rocky plays as Warner faces up to his first delivery, clipped through mid-wicket for two. Anderson, running in under a sky that is showing signs of brightening, is looking to keep Warner quiet on a full length. The moustachioed left-hander has some tape on either side of his helmet. Reinforcements in case of Root retribution?

  193.   
    Ben Dirs, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "Cunning piece of captaincy by Michael Clarke, sending David Warner in under the radar to open the batting. Warner can get a wriggle on..."

  194. 1238: 
    Aus 3-0 (lead by 162)
    Chris Rogers

    Stuart Broad to share the new ball, running in with the accompaniment of Billy the trumpeter, blasting out the tribute tune to the Notts pacer. No fireworks yet from the Aussies, but that may be because David Warner is yet to face a ball.

  195.   
    Geoffrey Boycott, Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I think it was planned for Warner to take over from Watson this morning; I don't think it's anything special. The best thing for Australia is to get out for 150, leaving England a tantalising total of 330."

  196. 1234: 
    Aus 3-0 (lead by 162)

    England immediately on the defensive. Only two slips, a third man and long leg, the rest saving the single. A hush around Old Trafford as Rogers, paint on his lips, gets Australia away with a nudge through square leg for two.

  197.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "Modern sport makes me laugh sometimes. Moments after their innings ends, the England bowlers are on to the field warming up with two round objects, neither of which are cricket balls. One is a large green medicine ball, which they repeatedly hurl with two arms into the ground. The other looks a bit like a giant orange but presumably has benefits above and beyond what any citrus fruit could provide."

  198. 1230: 

    Warner has taken the place of Shane Watson at the top of the order, so forms a double left-handed partnership with Chris Rogers. The crowd are slow to spot that Warner has been promoted, only giving him the boos when the announcer identifies him. James Anderson has the ball, he'll fancy some hoop under the leaden sky.

  199. 1227: 

    Here comes David Warner...

  200.   
    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "During lunch, we'll be meeting Gary Neville, which I'm very much looking forward to. But I made a pathetic slip-up with Joe Hart yesterday - I introduced him as England's wicketkeeper."

  201.   
    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "I think if you're Australia, you say to 'Watto' to play your natural aggressive game. If Rogers opens, they'll slip Swann on pretty quickly. Or perhaps they'll send Warner out with Watson - why not? But Australia will want to bowl again tonight - and there are climactic complications."

  202. 1226: 

    It will be a swift turnaround, only 10 minutes. There are 68 over remaining today and 90 tomorrow, all weather permitting. That's plenty of time for Australia to set a target and then attempt to bowl England out. How many might the tourists want? If, for example, they score 200 from 50 overs today, England would be chasing the notional target of 369 and would have more than 100 overs to survive.

  203.   
    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "Anderson will be saying 'I told you we should have run that single'. But Prior has done his job and got England past that follow-on target. We're going to have about half an hour before lunch - I'd think we'll see some intent from Australia. Swann, like Lyon, will be much more dangerous to left-handed batsmen."

  204. 1220: 
    WICKET - ENGLAND 368 ALL OUT- Prior c Warner b Siddle 30 (Eng trail by 159)

    Matt Prior, you've let James Anderson down. First you turn down a single, then you top edge Peter Siddle to David Warner at point. England all out for 368, Australia lead by 159. The sight of Warner running to the pavilion suggests he will indeed open the batting. Get ready for crash, band and wallop. Australia will be sprinting to set England a target.

    Matt Prior

    Fall of wickets: 47-1 (Root 8), 49-2 (Bresnan 1), 64-3 (Trott 5), 110-4 (Cook 62), 225-5 (Bell 60), 277-6 (Bairstow), 280-7 (Pietersen 113), 338-8 (Broad 32), 353-9 (Swann 11), 368 all out (Prior 30)

    Scorecard

    Listen to the best commentary clips on BBC Test Match Special

  205.  

    David Drury, TMS inbox: Re: Joel Anderson [1108]: Bopara? No thanks! Already proved he's not good enough for Test cricket. I agree though that Bairstow doesn't look up to it either.

    Andrew in Corfu, TMS inbox: James Taylor scores a hundred against the Aussies at Hove and we do not pick him. Select on form!

  206. 1218: 
    Eng 368-9 (trail by 159)

    Australia, the grey of the sky matching the mood of their gathering frustration, turn to the left-arm seam of Mitchell Starc. Same again, Prior single off the fourth ball, Anderson building a wall in front of his stumps. Clarke stands with his arms folded, head bowed. How much time do the Aussies need to set England a target?

  207.   
    Vic Marks, Ex-England spinner on BBC Test Match Special

    "When Anderson has been facing Siddle he's done very well; he's hardly missed a ball. He gets in to line and plays in a pretty orthodox fashion."

  208. 1213: 
    Eng 367-9 (trail by 160)

    Protecting the number 11? What nonsense. Anderson has six balls to survive, but only needs one, firmly pushing a cover drive deep into the outfield for three. When Prior manages to get a single from the fifth ball, the whole process repeats again. Stalemate, but England won't mind at all.

  209.  

    Andrew: Why are people so happy England have saved the follow-on? Australia only need to bat for a session & they'll set a mean target.

  210. 1208: 
    Eng 361-9 (trail by 166)
    Matt Prior

    We have a game within a game here. Prior, stubble all around his face, turning down runs even when he belts Lyon to deep mid-wicket. Two to go, can the Aussies stop the single? Lyon, zinc across his cheeks and nose, does the business. Anderson has a full over to negotiate...

  211.  

    Gareth, via text on 81111: England shouldn't be this far behind. Root's 8 from 57 balls and Trott's 5 from 32 kept the run rate far too low on a good pitch.

  212.  

    Mike James, TMS inbox: Re: Sam Sheringham - in Australia as you probably know there is a little picture of a sulking duck that accompanies non-scoring batsmen back to the pavilion on TV screens - better than the camera in your face?

  213.  

    Joy: Surely runs are irrelevant? England simply need to bat until it rains - game over, Ashes retained, job done.

  214. 1203: 
    DRINKS BREAK- Eng 361-9 (trail by 166)

    Indeed Michael Clarke does perform the switcheroo, now most of his fielders are in the ring as Prior faces up to Siddle. The batsman's response? A very deft late cut, flying through the slips for four. More luck than judgement, Siddle has his hands on his head in disbelief. Two balls for Anderson to survive, the number 11's bat as wide as a door. Whereas the crowd were once booing Prior's protection of Anderson, they now cheer every ball negotiated. First hour done, drinks.

  215.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford
    Stuart Broad walks off

    "Every time a batsman is dismissed, a TV cameraman runs on to the outfield, shoves his camera within about a foot of the player's face and tracks them all the way to the dressing-room steps. The players seem to deal incredibly well with the irritation, but it can't be easy to stay so restrained, especially with a cricket bat in your hand."

  216. 1158: 
    Eng 356-9 (trail by 171)

    Australia might need a rethink here. Prior is more than happy to take time out of the game, facing four or five balls an over then leave Anderson only one to survive. If the Aussies bring the field up, Prior may be tempted to play more shots. Slight tweaks in the field as Lyon bowls, but not a tactical overhaul. Again England get their single and again Anderson keeps up his end of the bargain.

  217.   
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "It's been an excellent cricket wicket - more pace than we saw at Trent Bridge and Lord's. It will be a shame if the rain comes because I think it will be a perfect Test wicket."

  218. 1154: 
    Eng 355-9 (trail by 172)

    Mull this one over. If Australia are looking to attack this afternoon, might David Warner open the batting? Field set deep for Siddle to Prior, but there's still no interest in taking the runs on offer. Unrest in the crowd, they want to see local boy Anderson on strike. They get their wish with four balls gone, but Anderson is pipe-and-slippers comfortable.

  219.  
    HOW'S STAT?!
    Brad Haddin

    Brad Haddin's catch to remove Swann was his fifth of the innings. He now has 186 dismissals in Tests, just one behind behind Wally Grout, who is fourth in the list of all-time Australia wicketkeepers. The top three are Adam Gilchrist (416), Ian Healy (394) and Rod Marsh (355).

  220. 1150: 
    Eng 354-9 (trail by 173)

    Massive noise for the arrival of Lancastrian James Anderson on his home ground of Old Trafford. What does Prior do here? Only the number 11 for company. The field drops, will Prior farm the strike? No interest in taking a single in the early part of Lyon's over, leaving Anderson to face just one ball. Five catchers converge, but Anderson is rock solid.

  221.   
    Ben Dirs, BBC Sport at Old Trafford
    Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle and MIchael Clarke

    "The wickets of Broad and Swann came a little bit too late for Australia captain Michael Clarke but they were restorative moments nonetheless. Clarke's body language earlier on was telling - bent double, hands on knees, eyes to the ground, he looked like he was having an attack of dry heaves."

  222. 1143: 
    WICKET- Swann c Haddin b Siddle 11 (Eng 353-9)

    Have England become a team of walkers? Now it's Graeme Swann heading for the pavilion without the need of a finger. Peter Siddle is the bowler, inducing an inside edge that is taken by the diving Brad Haddin. We're only one wicket away from an Australia thrash.

    Fall of wickets: 47-1 (Root 8), 49-2 (Bresnan 1), 64-3 (Trott 5), 110-4 (Cook 62), 225-5 (Bell 60), 277-6 (Bairstow), 280-7 (Pietersen 113), 338-8 (Broad 32), 353-9 (Swann 11)

    Scorecard

    Listen to the best commentary clips on BBC Test Match Special

  223.   
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "Today is going to be great viewing, England have avoided the follow on. Australia have to come out and attack and England need to do the same because they're not safe yet. I was amazed that Siddle wasn't bowling straight away, I thought he did excellently yesterday."

  224. 1139: 
    DROPPED CATCH- Eng 353-8

    Charge! What did we say about Graeme Swann getting a move on? Running towards Lyon, he lofts iron straight for a maximum. He tries again and gets a thick inside edge, the grimace directed at Prior showing that wasn't what Swann intended. Now what? With Prior trying to get in on the act he crashes towards short mid-wicket, with Steven Smith leaping goalkeeper-style to push the ball over the bar. Dropped catch, but it would have been a worldie. All happening.

  225.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford
    David Warner

    "David Warner is still getting roundly booed every time he goes near the ball. How long will this continue I wonder? For the rest of this series at least. In fact, given the number of England fans who will be heading down under this winter, I'd wager that he'll be playing the villain right through the Christmas panto season."

  226. 1136: 
    Eng 343-8 (trail by 184)

    England will be looking to Matt Prior to make further inroads into this Aussie lead, but if new man Graeme Swann hangs around, the score will move on quickly. Swann should probably expect his mettle to be tested - the pacers will be using that Three Lions badge on his helmet as target practice - but when Harris does go short, Swann smashes a hook for four.

  227.   
    Damien Martyn, Ex-Australia batsman on Test Match Special

    "Well batted Stuart Broad and we have to say well done for walking off. He did his captain proud there and played well throughout. We know how Lyon can bowl. He's been in and out of the Test side but that will do him a world of good."

    Chris Rogers and Nathan Lyon
  228. 1129: 
    WICKET- Broad c Haddin b Lyon 32 (Eng 338-8)

    Gone! Straight after taking England past the follow-on mark, Stuart Broad departs, getting a little feather on a Nathan Lyon off-break through to Brad Haddin. Unusual dismissal? Not really, but sight of Broad walking comes as bit of a surprise. No wait for the decision, just a turn for the pavilion. The follow-on may have been saved, but Australia will still be big favourites if the England tail is mopped up quickly.

    Fall of wickets: 47-1 (Root 8), 49-2 (Bresnan 1), 64-3 (Trott 5), 110-4 (Cook 62), 225-5 (Bell 60), 277-6 (Bairstow), 280-7 (Pietersen 113), 338-8 (Broad 32)

    Scorecard

    Listen to the best commentary clips on BBC Test Match Special

  229.  

    Rich: Slightly amazes me people are hoping for rain. 2-0 up still, does no one have any confidence in England?

    Phil: I'm attempting a rain dance in the back garden to create a heavy downpour in Manchester.

  230. 1124: 
    ENGLAND SAVE THE FOLLOW-ON- Eng 337-7

    Job one done, completed by Stuart Broad. First an edge past third slip, then a smash through the covers bring boundaries off Harris. Huge roar inside Old Trafford, while England skipper Alastair Cook rises from his seat on the balcony and heads inside the dressing room. When Broad creams a stand-and-deliver biff through extra cover, the 50 partnership is raised. England's next task is to chip away at this Aussie lead. The closer England get, the longer Australia will need to set England a target and the easier it will be for the hosts to save this match.

  231.   
    Ben Dirs, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "Prior and Broad looking pretty unencumbered so far this morning, both men freeing the arms and playing some shots. What could have been a very tense opening half an hour for the home fans has actually been a relatively relaxing one."

  232. 1123: 
    Eng 320-7 (need 8 to avoid follow-on)
    Stuart Broad hits out

    Australia must now be resigned to having to bat twice in order to win this match. Body language not great, two lots of hands on hips, skipper Clarke has hands in pockets at slip. Rueful look on his face as Broad takes Lyon for two through the covers.

  233.  
    HOW'S STAT?!

    In 13 Ashes Tests since Shane Warne retired, Australia spinners have taken 26 wickets between them at an average of 66.15 - up to the end of play yesterday.

    Shane Warne and Nathan Lyon
  234. 1120: 
    Ouch!- Eng 318-7 (need 10 to avoid follow-on)

    In this situation, singles get big applause, while boundaries are given match-winning cheers. Broad's first look at Harris results in an edge through the slips for four, with the burly pacer responding with a bumper. Broad ducks, but takes his eye of the ball and cops one on the right shoulder. A blow on that area in the first Test resulted in the leftie wearing an 80s-style shoulder pad for protection. Reminded me of Gloria Estafan.

  235.  

    Adam Elkin, TMS inbox: Feel that Broad & Prior can bat with a relaxed attitude this morning. No great expectations so they should be able to play each ball on its merits. More often this approach rather than chasing time or runs leads to better results. Interesting morning.

  236. 1115: 
    Eng 312-7 (trail by 215)

    England inching, edging, clawing towards that follow-on target. This time it's Broad, playing his first attacking shot of the morning, punching Lyon through the covers for four. Remember, even if England get past 328, Australia can still set them the tough task of batting through tomorrow. A bouncing, spitting off-break shows how difficult batting could become, with four leg byes taking England yet closer. Only 16 away, in striking distance.

  237.  

    Andrew, via text on 81111: Would declaring one run short of the follow-on be an effective psychological counter-attack strategy or sheer madness?

  238. 1111: 
    Eng 302-7 (need 26 to avoid follow-on)

    Matt Prior reined in his attacking instincts last night but is looking to counter-punch this morning. A pull off Harris brings him a second boundary of the day.

  239.  

    Sandy, TMS inbox: Question. England's only chance of winning this game is to follow on. If Cook declares on, say, 325... can Clarke then enforce the follow-on? And would he?

  240. 1108: 
    Eng 298-7 (Prior 10*, Broad 9*)

    Pacer Peter Siddle has been loosening up, but Lyon continues. Action replay of Lyon's first over to Broad, floaty, loopy off-breaks, but no runs scored. Broad likes to get on with it, can he stay patient?

  241.  

    Joel Anderson, TMS inbox: Why not play Bopara instead of Bairstow? Bopara showed great form with the bat during the Champions Trophy and he can bowl when asked. Bairstow can't do either...

  242. 1105: 
    Eng 298-7 (need 30 to avoid follow-on)

    The Old Trafford crowd has taken a little while to wake up over the past few days, but they are right into the action already today because of the importance of this first hour. When Matt Prior nudges England closer to the magic 328 with a flowing cover drive off Ryan Harris, OT is alive with noise.

  243.   
    Damien Martyn, Ex-Australia batsman on Test Match Special

    "It's going to be an exciting morning. Even if the follow-on doesn't happen they have to bat and bat quickly. You can't ignore the forecast because the rain is coming and a draw is no good for Australia. They need to win."

  244. 1102: 
    Eng 294-7 (trail by 233)

    Left-hander Broad greeted by a slip, short leg and silly point as the spindly Lyon skips in from around the wicket. Turn, as there has been throughout the match, ripping past Broad's grope. We begin with a maiden.

  245.  

    David: Even if we get past 328 I can see Clarke being forced by the rain into setting a target of 250ish to tempt us into going for it.

  246. 1100: 

    And, as off-spinner Nathan Lyon prepares to bowl the first over of the day, I'll make one final follow-on-related point. Even if England do get past 328, Australia could still be in a great place to push for a win on day five. Enough talking, let's play.

  247.   
    Ben Dirs, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "This is sure to be an intriguing first session, not least because Matt Prior and Stuart Broad like to give it some hammer and the circumstances of the match don't really lend themselves to giving it some hammer. Expect a few tempters outside off stump from the Aussie seamers..."

  248. 1058: 

    England's first task in trying to prevent defeat will be to avoid the follow-on. 34 runs needed, three wickets in hand. Stuart Broad to resume on 9, Matt Prior on 6. It is they who skip down the steps and through the tunnel of St George's flags.

  249. 1056: 

    Thanks Mark. A slightly grey outlook greets us at Old Trafford, we think it will rain at some point today. Now, I'm not keen on dwelling on what may or may not happen with the weather, but rain could have a huge say in the outcome of this match. If we get two full days of play, the most likely result is an Australia win.

  250. 1052: 

    While Aggers and Vic Marks narrowly avoid being run over by the Old Trafford hover cover, it's time for me to pass the live text baton to Stephan Shemilt for the first session of play. No doubt I'll be back just before the rain arrives...

  251.  

    Bal: Feel the rain may curtail what's been a Test match for the purists. Two full days' play could still produce all four results

  252. 1049: 

    Some news from the ICC, who have released the latest set of ODI rankings - Sri Lanka's series win over South Africa have lifted them above the Proteas into fourth place (England are third), while the new joint leaders of the bowling rankings are spinners - India's Ravindra Jadeja and West Indies' Sunil Narine. Hashim "The Beard" Amla remains the top-ranked batsman.

  253.  

    Dan: Rain, rain don't go away, we need you to save the day!

    Richard Cutcher: Settling down in the sun on my Cape Town balcony for a day of TMS and sausages. Heaven.

  254. 1045: 

    If it does rain (and he experts think it will), don't forget that up to an hour can be added on to the end of play (plus the usual half-an-hour that we seem to need every day to get 90 overs in). So a 1930 BST finish is on the cards, and we'll even know who the new Doctor Who is by then. Perhaps it will be long-standing Doctor Who fan Mike Gatting, who used to get his wife to record the episodes he missed when he was away on tour with England in the early 1980s.

  255.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "It's the usual playground scene on the outfield this morning with the two teams messing about in opposing corners of the outfield like two rival gangs of schoolboys. In among the Australians is headmaster Shane Warne, striding around purposefully in a suit and serving up nuggets of wisdom to his eager pupils."

  256.  

    Kelton Bates-Morgan: Surely the England captain that South Africa played against also forfeited their innings as well?

    Yes... and no. At the time, the ICC playing conditions only allowed teams to forfeit their second innings, not their first (though the regulations were due to change a few months later). After agreement with the umpires, technically speaking England declared their first innings at 0-0 after 0.0 overs, though they did not take the field. So Nasser Hussain, captaining England at the time, does not have a forfeit against his name, only Cronje.

  257.  
    WEATHER FORECAST

    BBC Weather's Darren Bett: "The weather's going to spoil things. We may get an hour's play before lunch but the rain is coming from Wales and, once it starts, we could be off for the whole of the afternoon session. The rain should move to the north and we should get some play after tea. But on Monday the rain may not clear until after tea."

  258. 1036: 
    SOCIAL MEDIA

    Want to follow the Ashes on social media? @bbcsport on Twitter has all the breaking news and action, while @bbctms provides the match facts and statistics, and @bbc5live brings you the best audio.

    There are also behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram and a gallery of action from the match on Facebook.

  259.   
    Michael Vaughan, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "The Australians have played so well they're in a position to win the match if they can get the last three wickets for under 34 runs. I think the key will be the spinner - Nathan Lyon is a good spinner but he's not the attacking spin option that Graeme Swann is. Kevin Pietersen played Lyon beautifully and hit him into the stands a couple of times."

  260. 1033: 
    ON THE MOVE

    If you're off out to beat the rain showers today, don't forget you can follow every moment of the Ashes with the BBC iPlayer Radio app and the BBC Sport app. On the radio app, you can listen live to Test Match Special and download the Aggers and Boycott close-of-play podcasts. Live text commentary, with analysis and insight from our reporters at the ground, is available on the BBC Sport app.

    Download the BBC Sport website app and download the BBC iPlayer Radio app.

  261.   
    Jonathan Agnew, BBC Test Match Special

    "We've not had a single rain interruption yet in this Ashes series, but I fear that particular duck is going to be broken today."

  262. 1030: 
    Live now

    It's TMS o'clock - Aggers is out on the pitch with an ominous grumbling sound behind him - not Geoff Boycott, but the heavy roller...

  263.   
    Sam Sheringham, BBC Sport at Old Trafford

    "It's the usual playground scene on the outfield this morning with the two teams messing about in opposing corners of the outfield like two rival gangs of schoolboys. In among the Australians is headmaster Shane Warne, striding around purposefully in a suit and serving up nuggets of wisdom to his eager pupils."

  264.  

    George Maddocks: Best Test so far - the tactical nous required, the match-changing centuries, the weather factor, series in the balance...

  265. 1025: 

    Test Match Special on the way in five minutes - this part of Greater Manchester is now basking in sunshine, but the forecast suggests Australia should enjoy it while it lasts...

  266.  

    Robert Wolf Petersen: I don't really see the point of playing Bairstow. He bats like an all-rounder, but doesn't bowl. Why not pick a proper batsman?

    He doesn't bowl, but does keep wicket - should he be the long-term successor to Prior behind the timbers?

  267.   
    BBC Radio 5 live

    More from Ian Bell, speaking to BBC Radio 5 live this morning: "In this game we have to play some really good cricket, we can't really look at the weather too much. If it comes into play, then fine but it is important for us to win the first hour and whatever happens later in the day and tomorrow, then that is that."

  268.  

    Joe Howells: Is there any rule about how long you have to bat for before declaring? What's the shortest innings ever after a declaration?

    Good question, Joe. There would be nothing in the Laws - or the ICC playing conditions - to stop Australia from forfeiting their second innings if they needed to risk losing to give them a chance of winning (as a draw is no good to them in terms of the Ashes). The only captain ever to forfeit a Test innings was South Africa's Hansie Cronje against England at Centurion in 2000 - although it later emerged that Cronje had received money and a leather jacket from a bookmaker as an incentive to ensure a positive result.

  269.   
    BBC Radio 5 live

    England batsman Ian Bell, speaking to BBC Radio 5 live this morning: "It is a big morning for us, hopefully we can win the first hour and go from there. There are 34 runs to go until the follow-on, if we can bat until lunch and fight like we did last night then we will be in a good position."

  270. 1010: 
    PAPER TALK - FROM A LAND DOWN UNDER

    "The British will invade Australia once again this summer," proclaims the Sydney Morning Herald, with "Cricket Australia officials predicting up to 50,000 overseas arrivals for the 2013-14 Ashes series" and tickets going fast. In the Australian, Gideon Haigh writes: "Can anyone conceivably think other than that Pietersen is second only to James Anderson in Ashes irreplaceability? Not after today they can't."

    Read more from UK and Australian papers each day with our Ashes gossip column.

  271.  

    Mark Jones: The key for England is to waste time. Time is Australia's enemy now! England must frustrate Australia and keep batting.

  272. 1000: 
    READ AND LISTEN

    As usual, there's plenty to read and listen to on the BBC Sport website - you can read Sam Sheringham's report of day three, while Jonathan Agnew's column analyses Kevin Pietersen's innings, and you can listen to Aggers and Geoff Boycott review the day on the TMS podcast page, which also includes yesterday's interviews with sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and England goalkeeper Joe Hart - both worth a listen.

    Test Match Special is on air at 1030 BST, while BBC Radio 5 live's Ashes page features the "Pint Sized Ashes" two-minute summary and commentary clips galore.

  273. 0955: 
    PAPER TALK

    The Sunday Mirror apologises to Australia for previously leading its readers to believe that the tourists were "the worst Test team to strap on a pad and shine a ball" - with Andy Dunn writing that "Michael Clarke's team remains unworthy of the great Australian sides to pillage triumph after triumph here. But only in terms of pure talent. What this fascinating day proved is that they do have the determination, the drive and the desire to ­compete."

  274. 0950: 
    PAPER TALK
    James Anderson and umpire Tony Hill

    In England fast bower James Anderson's column in the Mail on Sunday, he calls for an update to the "flawed" Decision Review System. "While figures show that decision-making has apparently improved by up to 5%since its introduction, I do believe the system could benefit from some tweaking," he writes. The Mail also carries a story that Jonny Bairstow's place is under threat after a run of "unconvincing" innings - with James Taylor, Gary Ballance and Ravi Bopara all contenders to replace him. Somehow I don't expect Geoffrey Boycott (close family friend of the Bairstows) will agree...

  275.   
    BBC Radio 5 live

    Former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist on BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek: "We have certainly got there by so much as being in the match, which is fantastic. The guys will be really pleased with how they have got there and it is all ahead of them in the next couple of days.

    "In every day's play the first hour is crucial but in this scenario the three wickets need to come quickly if Australia are to continue to drive the game."

  276. 0944: 
    GET INVOLVED

    So, while we look ahead to day four, we want to hear from you about how you think the day will pan out. As Stuart (below) has done, you can tweet us via #bbccricket or text in on 81111 if you're in the UK (with "CRICKET" as the first word, and please include your name), or email tms@bbc.co.uk - will England need the rain to save them?

  277.  

    Stuart Mitchell: Can I suggest one thing? If we all stop talking about what could come this afternoon then maybe it won't?

  278. 0935: 
    PAPER TALK

    In the Sunday Telegraph, ex-England captain Michael Vaughan examines the two Ashes leaders and notes that "if you had a captaincy gauge I would say Michael Clarke swings to being too unorthodox, Alastair Cook the opposite" - but thinks they can learn from each other, and cites ex-New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming as the best captain he ever observed in his playing days. Another interesting article claims that India are edging closer to accepting the implementation of the Decision Review System.

  279.  

    Paddy Emmerson: To save this match England need 34 runs that's all. Clarke hasn't given himself enough time, it's follow-on or bust.

  280. 0925: 
    PAPER TALK

    "Pietersen Stands Tall" is the splash headline on the front of the Sunday Times' sport section. Of their ex-England captain columnists, Andrew Strauss writes that "I would back England to avoid the follow-on but Clarke strikes me as one of life's gamblers and he probably has no choice but to try to force a result. Do not rule out an Australian or even an English win. Meanwhile, David Gower describes "Kevin Pietersen's most important contribution of the series" as "an interesting mix of the sublime, the human and the fortunate".

  281. 0920: 
    Old Trafford

    The blue is creeping through the clouds right now, but this being Manchester, we know what still may arrive this afternoon...

  282. 0915: 
    PAPER TALK

    The start of the Football League season does not prevent the Sunday Express's back-page lead being a large picture of the celebrating centurion Kevin Pietersen, who has urged England to "keep on fighting". Meanwhile, the Sun is not relying on the weather to save England, claiming "rain is forecast tomorrow, but it will be the most hollow victory if that gives them the draw and the Ashes".

  283.   
    Alec Stewart, Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    On BBC Radio 5 live this morning: "If England were to avoid the follow-on the game is very much in the balance because Australia will come out and play positively. They will try to score perhaps another 200 runs or so as quickly as possible and give themselves four and a bit sessions to try and bowl England out, win the game and try and keep the series alive."

  284. 0905: 
    WEATHER REPORT

    A look out of the window here in Salford Quays (across the Manchester Ship Canal from Old Trafford) shows plenty of cloud cover with the sun trying to poke through when it can. The BBC weather forecast for Stretford shows it may rain from about 1300 BST though. See what I mean about the first session being important, if you will.

  285. 0900: 

    Morning, everyone. I'm sure we say it every day of every single Test... but the next session could be absolutely crucial to the destiny of this match - and thus, the series, as England only need a draw to retain the Ashes.

    England will begin day four at Old Trafford on 294-7 in reply to Australia's 527-7 declared - needing another 34 to avoid the follow-on. But it's been long expected that the English weather may play its part...

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Live Scores - England v Australia

 

  • England drew with Australia
  • England: 368 & 37-3 (20.3 overs)
  • Australia: 527-7 & 172-7 (36.0 overs)
  • Venue: Manchester

England 2nd Innings

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View full scorecard
Cook lbw b Harris 0
Root not out 13
Trott c Haddin b Harris 11
Pietersen c Haddin b Siddle 8
Bell not out 4
Extras 1w 1
Total for 3 37

The Ashes

England captain Alastair Cook and James Anderson with the Ashes urn

Squads, fixtures, scorecards, results and reports from Australia's Ashes tour of England