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The Ashes: Ben Stokes, Joe Root and cricket fans discuss changes after fourth Test spoiled by rain

Fourth Test finished with Australia 214-5, trailing England by 61 runs, due to heavy rainfall; watch fifth Ashes Test at The Kia Oval live on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event from Thursday (build-up from 10am with the first ball at 11am)

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England captain Ben Stokes says Australia retaining The Ashes is tough to take, especially after the cricket they have played in the fourth Test

After England's hopes of winning the Ashes were dashed by almost two days of relentless rain at Old Trafford, questions have been asked over whether Test cricket could adapt to improve the chances of a result.

England were well on top going into the fifth and final day in Manchester, still leading by 61 runs having reduced Australia to 214-5 in their second innings, but were powerless to stop a draw as the rain took hold.

No reserve day, rigid start and finish times and frustrations with over-rates are among the gripes raised by supporters and players alike after a thrilling series was denied a winner-takes-all finale at The Kia Oval, starting Thursday live on Sky Sports.

England batter Joe Root raised the question of why play is stopped in the early evening when conditions would often allow for it to continue.

"It doesn't get dark here in England until 10pm in the summer, why can't we just play until we bowl the overs?" he asked.

"There are so many different ways of trying to find opportunities to get as much play in as possible.

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England's Joe Root spoke to Sky Sports as the rain loomed over day five of the fourth Test

"At every opportunity at every stage, you should be looking to find ways to get the Test on. We batted in worse conditions at Edgbaston, but that is cricket. You just want consistency in those conditions."

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Despite his disappointment, England captain Ben Stokes said he does not believe the solution lies in extending to a sixth day, even though Monday's forecast for Manchester was for dry weather.

"This is a tough way to not be able to get the urn back but I probably wouldn't be on the side of saying there should be reserve days. Test cricket is five days," Stokes told Sky Sports.

Image: Ben Stokes said 'I probably wouldn't be on the side of saying there should be reserve days. Test cricket is five days'

"I understand there being a reserve day for the World Test Championship final as you want a winner at the end of that, but I don't see there being a day for a reserve day in a Test series.

"It was a frustrating day when the weather dictates the outcome of a game. It's a shame. The draw was not fault of our own. We did literally everything we could and the weather didn't help us. It's a tough pill to swallow knowing that's the reason we sit here with a draw."

Australian media: Ashes secured in 'hollow circumstances'

"Rarely could the Ashes have been secured in more hollow circumstances, with almost two days of rain saving Australia from what appeared certain defeat," wrote Malcolm Conn in the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Despite being robbed of victory by the weather, England have only themselves to blame for being on the wrong side of history.

"England were in charge of the first Test at Edgbaston before the cult of Bazball resulted in an over-optimistic declaration and reckless batting."

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Australia captain Pat Cummins insists his side are proud of retaining the Ashes but want to go one step further ahead of the fifth Test match at The Kia Oval

Gideon Haigh, writing in The Australian, was kinder to the English but equally wary of any sort of celebrations over the retention of the Ashes.

"The fantasy of two-all going to The Oval had been enchanting to both sets of fans; only the dimmest partisans so crave trophies as to be gratified by non-results," he wrote.

"Alas for England, a little Australian edge in experience had already stood them in good stead through two nipping finishes."

Haigh went on to join others in suggesting that the holders' advantage in an Ashes series, where they retain the urn if the series is drawn, be revisited.

"How to explain to the uninitiated the Oval Test's weird hybrid character, of being 'live' where the outcome of the series is concerned, but 'dead' in the context of the Ashes?" he questioned.

"I know cricket's not meant to make sense. But it might, on occasion, at least try to do so."

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Ricky Ponting and Nasser Hussain discuss how much of an impact Jonny Bairstow's stumping in the second Test at Lord's had on the Ashes as a whole

What you said...

Cricket fans have been sharing their views on the Sky Sports live Ashes blog...

Ben10: "A series decided by the weather is just wrong. Easiest thing to do would be to start days much earlier than 11am. I say start at 9am. That way, over the course of five days, those extra two hours make an extra day's play."

Daniel Bishop: "I never understood why, certainly on the the last day of Tests, play cannot be prolonged into the evening supposing over limits are not exceeded. We play under floodlights for T20 and ODI but not usually in Tests."

Dan: "Have reserve days. Maybe check the weather report and move venues if possible to avoid disruptions."

Sam: "Either we need grounds with roofs, or we need rules to take draws out of the game. A percentage of game time not played and both have finished the first innings, then declare a result."

Chris: "With the forecast they should have had longer sessions the first three days. No need to take tea yesterday either! Reserve days make sense as long as there isn't a crazy schedule like this year!"

Big Ash: "Why not play in the rain? Most other sports do. F1 makes it interesting and affects the tactics, football it affects the tactics, as long as it's not bucketing down then why can't they play in the rain?"

What to watch on Sky Sports this week

Final Men’s Ashes Test – July 27 to 31 – LIVE on Sky Sports Cricket
Premier League Summer Series – from July 23 - LIVE on Sky Sports Premier League
Belgian Grand Prix – July 28 to 30 - LIVE on Sky Sports F1
Stephen Fulton vs Naoya Inoue – July 25 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
Seniesa Estrada v Leonela Yudica – July 29 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
Netball World Cup – July 28 to August 6 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
Australia v New Zealand – July 29 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
St Helens v Leeds – July 28 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action

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I don't understand: "Why do cricket matches need to schedule lunch and tea when they don't for hours before due to bad weather? Why can't they just start once the pitch is ready and weather is fine."

Annas: "Everyone knew the weather for this weekend would be rain, why didn't we start play earlier or finish at 7:30pm on the first three days to avoid losing so many overs?"

Seane: "Should never be affected because of rain. They should add an extra day or two for the bad weather. England have been superb in this Test and it's unfair to lose the Ashes because of the weather."

Dan the man: "We have had periods of dryness. They need to be quicker at turning it around. Could have had 30 mins play by now if they just came out and played when the rain stops. Like they do at Wimbledon."

Alex in Ashford: "Don't use Old Trafford, it has statistically had more washed out Tests than any other Test ground. Also reserve days have to be considered."

Aaron: "If more than 60 overs are lost to the weather then come back for a sixth day."

James HF: "Simple answer - pitch inspections within five minutes of the rain stopping. Why do they need an hour after the rain has stopped to go and inspect it? Nonsense."

John: "Probably use covers like Sri Lanka do and cover the whole pitch. Seems the mop up takes up a lot of time and on days like today where it is forecasted to rain all day, you may only get 30 minute windows here and there where it is not raining, so anything that will speed up the mop up."

Grant: "Players should get together and discuss what they would prefer to do. Draws because of weather isn't good for the game, especially in England!"

Watch the fifth Ashes Test at The Kia Oval live on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event on Thursday July 27. Build-up starts at 10am with the first ball at 11am. Stream The Ashes and more with NOW.

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