Australia held on to the Ashes on a whimper on Sunday after the day was wiped out due to bad weather, meaning the fourth Test ended in a draw.
England were in a battle against time to take Australia’s last five wickets in the last two days, but they were only allowed 30 overs over the weekend and failed to do so.
While Ben Stokes’ side can still tie the series at the Oval next week, they will be unable to win back the urn after losing the first two Test matches.
England will be the favorites to do just that, but will be bummed out that they had the chance to set up a nail-biting finish in the capital.
Below, mail sport‘s Lawrence Booth examines how each player performed at Old Trafford.
Ben Stokes was left powerless as rain prevented the fifth day from being played.
Draw means Pat Cummins and Australia retain the Ashes despite being dominated
Zak Crawley 9.5 – That’s why England stuck with him through the hard times. Yes, he enjoyed the lucky moments. But what other opener in English cricket could have crushed a world-class attack for 189 in 182 balls? A joy to see.
Ben Duckett 3 – He fell cheap to Starc and the new ball, which can happen, but still in the credit after his Lord’s double of 98 and 83. In the Bazball era, he averages 54 on an 89 hit rate.
Moeen Ali 7 – Mocked in some quarters as a fake number 3, Ali rose to the challenge with his first Test fifty in four and a half years. He also sacked Labuschagne for the second time in two games with rusty breaks from him.
Joe Root 8 – After a couple of quiet tests with the bat, he flashed for a century until he was felled by one from Hazlewood that barely bounced. He gave England hope with Labuschagne’s wicket on the rainy fourth day.
harry brook 7 – He marked his tenth 50-plus score in just his 19 innings, though it lacked some of his usual flair. Australia did well to slow his progress on the second night, but he has grown in this series.
Ben Stokes 7.5 – He lived up to his pre-match promise that England would go all out due to the weather forecast, contributing 51 to his most destructive Ash total of all time. It’s hard to say that he should have pushed for a three-day victory.
Zak Crawley showed why England stuck with him as he crushed a world-class attack
Jonny Bairstow also joined the party with a brilliant 99 that didn’t come out on the third day at Old Trafford.
Johnny Bairstow 9 – He is back! After an amazing one-handed catch to dismiss Marsh on opening day, Bairstow’s hitting electrified the third, when he shot 99 not out. No one, not even Stokes, can time the ball that cleanly.
Chris Woakes 8 – He picked up where he left off at Headingley, picking up his first five for five from Ashes and taking over from Broad as Warner’s nemesis, taking him out twice. He now has 106 Test wickets in England at an average of 22.
Wooden frames 8 – One of the stories of the series, he deserved to celebrate another victory after opening Australia’s second inning with the scalps of Khawaja, Smith and Head. His 11 wickets in these Ashes have cost just 17 apiece.
Broad Stuart 7 – Removed the Khawaja sticker in the fifth over of the game, then 600 Test wickets were triggered by inducing a miss from Head. He remains the leading wicket-taker of the series, with 18.
jimmy anderson 6 – He was not a bad bowler, but he lacked strength and had to make do with Cummins’s lone wicket. His 2.69 economy rate in this series is the worst of either side, but Australia have sat on him, limiting him to four expensive wickets. Did he just play the final test of him?
James Anderson was far from his best on home soil and may have played his final Test.
David Warner 6 – He made 32 and 28, which meant he survived Broad’s opening volleys, but then fell twice to Woakes. He’s walked away smiling in previous games: not this time. It was a missed opportunity, and he knew it.
Usman Kawaja 3 – After three Stoic Tests of Endurance, the dam finally burst, with scores of three and 18. He compounded his second-inning misfire by using a hotfix after he got the better of Wood.
Marnus Labuschagne 8.5 – She eventually surpassed 50, then added her first hundred Ashes in this country to lead Australia’s resistance. He even took the precaution of examining the ball after England traded it off, just in case he was about to swing more than the last.
Marnus Labuschagne finally scored his first 50 of the series and backed it up with a century
steve smith 6 – Undone twice by Wood’s pace, and has not been seen since his first hundred innings at Lord’s. England have done magnificently to limit him to a series average of 31. He still runs the show on the pitch, despite Cummins wearing the armband.
travis head 6 – He seemed busy in the first innings of 48, only to help Broad to Root’s hands on the fine leg. He didn’t know anything about the ball Wood took him out with the third night and walked away looking chastened.
Mitchell Swamp 8 – For the second game in a row since his retirement, he looked like one of Australia’s most successful operators. He was the victim of an excellent catch from Bairstow on the first day, then held his ground in the rain on the fourth. He bowled nine battable overs.
cameron green 5.5 – He didn’t have quite the impact on this series we’d hoped for, though he ended Crawley’s fun and removed Anderson to deprive Bairstow of a century. His 4.08 economy rating was comfortably the best on his team, which wasn’t saying much.
Alex Carey has been a diminished figure since his controversial Bairstow coup
Cummins had a general surprise and was saved by rain during the fourth Test
Alex Carey 5 – He has been a diminished figure since stunning Bairstow at Lord’s, and seemed to be playing for closure too early on day one. Woakes made sure not to get there. He later blew the chance to run out of Stokes.
Mitchell Starc 5 – He hit well for two hours, but then took a beating after his early removal from Duckett. Only once in his 81 Tests has he conceded more than the 137 he cost here, but Australia will need him to put that behind them at The Oval.
pat cummins 3 – Has a captain ever withheld the ashes under more disappointing circumstances? He had an overall surprise: He scored 129, the most of his in a Test innings, dropped to the first ball of the second day, dropped catches, conceded takedowns and lost control down the field. Then he needed two days of rain to secure the tie.
Josh Hazlewood 6.5 – He picked up one of the five most easily forgotten fors in Ashes lore. His haul included Root with a grubber and three of England’s bottom four. He should be less tired for The Oval than his teammates after resting at Headingley.