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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Oval Test set for Friday showers

The Oval
Australia will be hoping for sunshine at The Oval next week

The final Test at The Oval, which begins on Thursday, is likely to start in warm, humid weather but much of the second day could be lost to rain.

That is the view of BBC weatherman John Kettley, who uses his own computer system to track weather systems.

Kettley said: "I think we'll get through Thursday all right but Friday is the really iffy day.

"The rain will start up country - it will be very wet up north and some of it will swing across on Friday."

Kettley is a keen cricket follower and even works as a consultant weatherman for Test series sponsors npower.

He added: "Saturday could start with some blustery showers, Sunday's a bit all over the place but Monday looks OK.

"We could be extremely lucky in that most of the rain could fall overnight throughout the match."

Kettley predicts temperatures of between 18 and 22 degrees during the course of the match.

England, who need a draw to win the Ashes off Australia, would not mind if there was some rain around.

Shane Warne and Kevin Pietersen
Warne and Pietersen stare up at rain clouds at Lord's

In theory, the more rain interruptions the better.

Showers would deprive Australia's bowlers vital time to dismiss Michael Vaughan's men twice in the five days - a fundamental requirement to winning a Test match.

However, the umpires will have the opportunity of extending play by an hour on any day to make up for lost time in previous sessions.

The Oval is historically one of Australia's least successful grounds, and in recent times England have pulled off plenty of good results in south London.

Often regarded as the quickest wicket in the country, it can offer plenty of pace and bounce for the fast bowlers and some turn for the spinners.

But generally it assists batsmen, who usually find it easy to time the ball and score quickly.

England's last five Tests at the ground have yielded three wins and one defeat, against Australia in 2001.

Kettley added: "History points to a fifth day in the 2002 Test (against India) completely lost to rain."


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