Manchester - Ryan Harris struck twice to spark an England top-order collapse as
Australia eyed a win in the third Test at Old Trafford on Monday that
would keep their Ashes hopes alive.
England were 35 for three at
lunch on the fifth and final day, having lost captain Alastair Cook,
Jonathan Trott and first-innings century-maker Kevin Pietersen.
needed a further 297 runs to reach their victory target of 332 after
Australia captain Michael Clarke declared on his side's overnight 172
Joe Root, dropped on four, was 13 not out and Ian Bell two not out.
Clarke had been angry when the umpires took the players off the field for bad light on Sunday.
seemed the weather was against Australia once more when rain delayed
Monday's scheduled start by 30 minutes in a match the tourists, 2-0 down
in the five-Test series, had to win to stand any chance of regaining
Harris though brought one back late into left-hander
Cook's front pad to have him lbw for nought, with England yet to score a
Cook reviewed Tony Hill's decision but there was nothing to
suggest he got an inside edge and, with tracking technology indicating
the ball had pitched in line, the New Zealand umpire's decision was
Trott survived an lbw appeal from Harris when on nine, a
decision the Australians reviewed only to be defeated by a marginal
'umpire's call' verdict after replays showed the ball taking the outside
part of leg stump.
But Trott was out for 11 when he carelessly glanced Harris and was caught down the legside by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
Harris had taken two wickets for nine runs and England were 15 for two.
nearly had a third wicket when Root, who'd taken 26 balls to get off
the mark, edged Peter Siddle's sixth ball only for the normally reliable
Clarke to drop the second slip chance as the ball hit his wrist.
Siddle had the huge compensation of having Pietersen, who made 113 in
the first innings of this match, caught behind for just eight as he
Pietersen challenged the decision and while the
audio part of the Decision Review System indicated a noise, there was no
mark on the Hot Spot thermal imaging device.
However, Sri Lankan
third umpire Kumar Dharmasena, in the latest contentious DRS judgment
this series, decided there was insufficient evidence to overturn Hill's
original verdict and England were 27 for three.
in their last six Tests and trying to avoid equalling their all-time
record losing streak of seven set between 1885-88, now had a great
chance of forcing victory.
No side had previously made more in the
fourth innings to win an Old Trafford Test than England's own 294 for
four against New Zealand in 2008.
However, England's main
objective on Monday was to secure the draw that would see them retain the
Ashes they hold as a result of 3-1 win in Australia in 2010/11.