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BBC Sport's Pat Murphy
"The overs before lunch contained enough action and sub-plots to keep us all occupied"
 real 14k

England's Mark Butcher
"I think it would have been very difficult to get a win out of this one"
 real 14k

Sunday, 26 August, 2001, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Rain thwarts Australia
Atherton (l) trudges off after falling to McGrath
Fifth Test, The Oval, day four: Australia 1st innings 641-4 dec; England 1st 432 & 40-1 (close)

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The weather scuppered Australia's chance of ramming home their advantage at The Oval with England still 169 runs shy of making the tourists bat again.

England finished the day on 40 for one after being forced to follow-on by Australia.

Only 91 minutes of play was possible on the fourth day before bad light stopped play 20 minutes before lunch.

Heavy rain then swept across the ground and play was eventually abandoned at 1640BST with pools of water lying on the edge of the covers.

Warne celebrates his seven first innings wickets
Warne celebrates his seven first innings wickets

In the 21.3 overs possible during the day Australia snared the two wickets needed to enforce the follow-on and then dimissed Michael Atherton after inviting England to bat again.

The 33-year-old edged Glenn McGrath to Shane Warne at first slip and left a Test arena for what could be the last time.

Speculation is rife that Atherton will announce his retirement from Test cricket at the end of the match.

As he left the ground Atherton raised his bat to the crowd and was applauded by the Australians despite having scored just nine.

McGrath has now dismissed Atherton 19 times in Test cricket.

England were still 10 runs away from avoiding the follow-on when Shane Warne claimed his seventh wicket to end the innings.

Adam Gilchrist stumped Darren Gough to become the fastest wicket-keeper in the history of Test cricket to reach 100 dismissals, having achieved the feat in his 22nd Test.

Mark Waugh had earlier damaged his right hand fielding at second slip and had three stitches inserted in the webbing between two of his fingers.

England started on Sunday needing 33 runs to make Australia bat again with two first innings wickets in hand.

But their hopes of doing so suffered a huge blow when Mark Ramprakash edged McGrath to Gilchrist.

Ramprakash added nine runs to his overnight 124 and was dismissed with England 18 runs short of forcing Australia to bat again.

Gough and Phil Tufnell tried in vain to haul England towards the 442 required but were unable to do so and it was the weather that eventually halted Australia's seemingly inexorable charge to victory.


England: Michael Atherton, Marcus Trescothick, Mark Butcher, Nasser Hussain (captain), Mark Ramprakash, Usman Afzaal, Alec Stewart, Jimmy Ormond, Andy Caddick, Darren Gough, Phil Tufnell.

Australia: Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh (captain), Damien Martyn, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath.

Umpires: R E Koertzen and P Willey

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