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The Ashes: Fourth Test review

Australia have retained the Ashes after the last two days of the fourth Test at Old Trafford were washed out.

With Australia leading the series 2-1, they just just needed a draw in Manchester to retain the Ashes, and on this occasion the weather came to the rescue.

There were no wild celebrations in the Australian camp after the umpires ruled there would be no play on day five.

England were completely on top and looked certain to go on and level the series at 2-2 had the rain stayed away.

Focus will quickly turn to the fifth Test that will get underway at the Oval this week, with Australia priced at 2.87 to win it.

Ben Stokes’ side will be keen to draw the series, while it goes without saying the Aussies will want to pick up their first Ashes series win in England, in over 20 years.

But before we get to the Oval let’s take a look back at what action we did see in the fourth Test.

Labuschagne stands up for the Aussies

Marnus Labuschagne has had a disappointing Ashes series by his high standards, but really stepped up to the plate in the fourth Test.

Labuschagne was outstanding in the second innings when scoring 111 runs off 173 deliveries, just when Australia needed him.

It was an innings that saved the game for Australia. England were baying for blood on the third day and could have wrapped up the match had it not been for the performance of Labuschagne.

Usman Khawaja, David Warner and Steve Smith had all been dismissed cheaply but Labuschagne dug deep to save the day and potentially the Ashes.

Labuschagne can be backed at 8.00 to be the top first innings batter in the fifth Test.

Poor batting performance

Apart from the performance of Labuschagne, there was little to write home about with regards to the rest of the batting line up.

Questions still remain over David Warner, who got himself in on both occasions but failed to kick on and make a big score.

Australia kept the faith at Old Trafford and now all eyes will be on their decision for the fifth Test.

In fairness Travis Head and Khawaja also failed to deliver, while Smith also disappointed over the two innings.

Jury out on Marsh and Green

Australia opted to go without the spin of Todd Murphy at Old Trafford, preferring to play two all-rounders Mitchell Marsh and Cameron Green instead, and it was decision that almost backfired.

The Aussies were crying out for another bowling option as England piled on the runs on day two, but had no out-and-out spinner.

Head was given a go but was smashed for 52 runs off his seven overs, while Labuschagne bowled just the one over.

Green was decent with the ball when taking a couple of England wickets for 64 runs off his 15.4 overs, but Marsh was expensive.

Marsh made up for it with the bat when scoring 51 and 31 not-out respectively, but Green made just 13 in the first innings.

It is fair to say that having the extra batsmen did not make much of a difference as they were bowled out for 317 runs in the first innings.

Now it will be interesting to see if Murphy returns to the side at the Oval.

Cummins captaincy questioned

Australia have retained the Ashes and could still go on and win the series, so it is hard to question the captaincy of Pat Cummins at this point.

However, questions over his leadership have been raised as England smashed his side all over the park on day two.

The Aussies looked confused and in disarray and Cummins did not have an answer. Some have suggested that Cummins may step aside from the captaincy at the end of the series.

Cummins is without doubt a top class bowler, but combining that with the captaincy is a tough gig. Hence why there are not many top bowlers who captain the side.

It has been suggested that Smith, who appears to set the field while Cummins is bowling, could take the reins once again.

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