Cricket Expert & Columnist
The Ashes: England must now go on and win series, says Strauss
England deserve to retain the Ashes - and must now go on and win the series, says Andrew Strauss.
Last Updated: 06/08/13 2:17pm
Alastair Cook's team successfully defended the urn by drawing the third Test at Old Trafford after rain reduced the final day's play to just 20.3 overs.
Australia, already 2-0 down in the five-match series, needed to win in Manchester to keep their Ashes hopes alive but were ultimately thwarted by the rain which came with England 37-3 in pursuit of a victory target of 332. Read our match report here.
Reflecting on the result, Sky Cricket's Strauss, who captained England to victory in the 2009 and 2010/11 Ashes series, said: "I'm sure this isn't really the way that they would have wanted it to happen but they've retained the Ashes on the back of a very good performance at Lord's, where they thoroughly outplayed Australia and they won at Trent Bridge as well having played most of the cricket even if it was a close game in the end.
"That's why they are in this position. Australia had the best of the game here but England have played most of the good cricket over the course of the series.
"Australia had lost six Test matches in a row before this game so to come out and play as positively as they did was great. Michael Clarke led from the front and it is something of a reversal in fortune for them and they will be looking to use that as a buffer to go on and play better cricket in the next two games.
"England have learnt that Australia aren't as bad as people are making out to be. They probably realised that anyway but any kind of pretensions they might of had of a series whitewash can now be put to bed and know that they've still got a fight on their hands to win the series.
"England don't want this series to finish 2-2 having gone 2-0 up - they will want to come out at Durham and show that this was an aberration and they have plenty of motivation to do that now."
Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne endorsed Strauss' comments about the tourists and said Michael Clarke's side would have had a real chance of winning at Old Trafford but for the weather.
Moreover he said that Australia could look forward to the fourth Test at Durham, which begins on Friday, with added confidence after a much-improved display in Manchester.
"I think they would have learnt a lot. I think it's taken them a couple of Tests to work out what their best team is but they'll be disappointed; they've declared twice in this game and if the rain hadn't had come I think they would have won today.
"I thought Australia were outstanding today. They had to take some early wickets to give themselves a chance and they did, and they had lots of time to take the remaining wickets once they'd got into that middle order.
"So it's a real shame for them because they will have felt that they had a big, genuine chance of winning the match from that position and make it 2-1 in the series. They'll now have to cope with the disappointment that they can't win the Ashes.
"They have to get themselves off the floor because they can take a lot out of this Test match and say 'if we play like that again' we can beat England.
"Their number one goal now has to be to level the series - if they can do that then it is set up to try and win back the Ashes in Australia."
Watch the fourth Ashes Test between England and Australia live from 10am on Friday on Sky Sports Ashes and online and iPad via the Ashes Events Centre, available via the Sky Sports App.