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Bad light ends Ashes thriller

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The final day of the Ashes series offered a thrilling finale when many had expected a damp squib. All the ingredients of exciting cricket, controversy and farce came to the fore, ending with a frantic Oval crowd baying their disapproval as the match was stopped for bad light just as England were closing in on victory, needing just 20 runs from the last four overs.

The ICC rules were left looking ridiculous as they spoiled what was shaping up as one of the most exciting Test match climaxes in recent memory. Some bold captaincy decisions by Australia's Michael Clarke had attempted to contrive a positive result from the rain-affected match. When England responded with spirit and threatened to seal victory, Clarke was reduced to repeatedly asking the umpires about the fading light.

Both sides added a touch of urgency to the final day. After England's first innings ended, the Australians attempted to score quickly before declaring in order to tempt England into a run chase. Clarke left England with a tantalising total of 226 to chase down in order to make it 4-0 in the series.

England started the chase steadily and when Alastair Cook fell, the aggressive Kevin Pietersen came in and raised the temperature. With a cavalier innings Pietersen reduced the deficit rapidly.

When Pietersen was caught off Ryan Harris, England kept up the chase with Ian Bell and Chris Woakes taking England to within touching distance, before the umpires' light meters intervened. England still won the series 3-0, and can feel reasonably confident heading for the return series down under in the winter.

"We had to give it a go today, after losing a day to rain," Pietersen said. "That's the brand of cricket this team plays." That's the brand of cricket Pietersen plays, especially when a few Australian insults have got under his skin. He may once more be England's key player when Ashes hostilities resume in a few months.

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