Virat Kohli says India must address their batting frailties and "come back as better cricketers" after they were consigned to a 2-1 Test series defeat by South Africa at Newlands.

The Proteas completed their fightback in Cape Town early in the afternoon session on day four, chasing down a target of 212 to wrap up a seven-wicket victory.

Keegan Petersen was named man of the match and player of the series after making a classy 82 before he chopped on to a delivery from Shardul Thakur on the penultimate day, having been dropped by Cheteshwar Pujara on 59.

That was the only wicket to fall on Friday, with Rassie van der Dussen (41 not out) and Temba Bavuma (32no) seeing Dean Elgar's side home.

India had taken a 1-0 lead at SuperSport Park, but they were unable to celebrate a first Test series triumph in South Africa.

Captain Kohli doffed his cap to the Proteas and warned India will be in for more disappointment unless they improve with the bat.

"It's a great spectacle of Tests for everyone to watch; hard-fought series. Great first game, but South Africa did amazingly well. In both Tests they won, they were clinical with the ball in crunch moments," said Kohli.

"Lapses of concentration cost us key moments and they seized those moments; absolutely deserving winners in the end.

"One of the challenges we've faced touring abroad is make sure capitalising on momentum, when we've done that we've won Tests away from home. When we haven't, they've cost us quite bad.

"We've had a few collapses that have cost us in important moments and Test matches. It's batting; can't pinpoint any other aspect. People talk about pace and bounce, considering their heights, they were able to get much more off the wickets in all three Tests.

"They applied pressure long enough for us to make mistakes. It's the understanding of conditions for them which they know very well. The batting has to be looked into, no running away from that.

"Having collapses every now and then is not a good thing. Obviously very disappointed, we know how far we've come as a team. That people expect us to beat South Africa in South Africa is testimony to how far we've come.

"We haven't done it, that's the reality, accept it and come back as better cricketers. We've got to credit the opposition where due."

England bowling coach Jon Lewis says Ollie Robinson must improve his fitness after the seamer suffered a back injury on day of the final Ashes Test in Hobart.

Robinson missed the fourth test in Sydney with a shoulder injury, but he made an immediate impact after being recalled at Blundstone Arena, removing both David Warner and Steve Smith for nought as England decimated Australia's top-order during a blistering start.

However, after reducing the hosts to 12-3, England were left frustrated as Travis Head's 101 led an Australian fightback, with Robinson only able to bowl eight overs.

Speaking at the close of play with Australia 241-6, Lewis stated that Robinson must give himself a better chance of staying injury-free.

"It’s definitely something to work on," Lewis responded when asked about Robinson's conditioning. "It’s something he needs to improve. He’s got a record of playing a lot of games in county cricket. 

"But international cricket is a higher intensity, and you play all year round. So he’s got to get used to understanding what it takes to be a full-time, year-round international cricketer.

"Is it a concern? It’s one of the things he really needs to work on. He’s shown over the course of the English summer, and this series so far, that he can put back-to-back games together. But there’s definitely areas he needs to work on for sure.

"It’s something he will need to do if he’s going to perform consistently over a long period of time, he’ll need to be a fitter bowler, 100 per cent. We've had those conversations with him and been pretty frank with him, and now it's up to him to go and do the work."

An "elated" Dean Elgar expressed his pride and says South Africa must continue to grow after they came from behind to seal a 2-1 Test series win over India.

The Proteas completed the turnaround at Newlands on day four, winning by seven wickets to ensure the tourists' wait for an elusive Test series triumph in South Africa goes on.

Keegan Petersen top scored with 82 as Elgar's side chased down their target of 212 to secure victory by the same margin they accomplished in the second Test at the Wanderers.

Shardul Thakur's dismissal of Petersen was the only wicket India took on the penultimate day, with Rassie van der Dussen (41 not out) and Temba Bavuma (32no) seeing South Africa home after lunch in Cape Town.

The Proteas looked to be up against in after losing the first Test in Centurion by 113 runs before being rocked when Quinton de Kock dropped a bombshell by retiring from Test cricket.

Captain Elgar says his side must take huge credit for rising to the challenge with a brilliant fightback in a captivating series as they moved above India to go fourth in the World Test Championship table.

The opener said: "I'm pretty elated, I Couldn't be prouder of the group. The guys responded brilliantly. After the first loss, had a lot of hope knowing we can still win this.

"I asked the players to respond in a better nature, better way and they responded brilliantly. I'm extremely happy. Challenging your players within the group, you need character to stand up. The way our bowling unit delivered throughout the series is brilliant.

"I threw down the challenge after the first game and the guys responded brilliantly. We've got a young, talented group. Every day in this environment, we're gaining this experience.

"It's unreal to see how a group that doesn't have the repertoire or names can gel together as one. I'm extremely proud of this group. If you want to operate at a high performance level, have to have tough chats.

"If guys don't like it, it's up to them to deal with. I've got old-school mentality with a new-school twist. We laid down challenges to senior players as well, great to see them take it on board and deliver.

"Us as a close group, we've been hurting a little bit and it's something for us to feed off. We played as a unit, if you can do that, if you have guys moving away, it's a challenge to pull them in.

"I think as a unit, we've grown massively over the last two Tests. I'm already thinking of the next series. Lot of positives, but in order to grow, we need to curb the challenges we have."

Elgar was full of praise for number three Petersen, 28, who scored a half-century in both innings of the final Test to pick up both the man of the match and player of the series awards.

The skipper said: "He's dominated domestic cricket, awesome to see him have a great series. Long may he grow, there's lot of improvement from his point of view.

"The world is his oyster. Even though he's someone older, he's winning to learn. He's a proper character within that team environment. I'm proud of what he has achieved."

Keegan Petersen made a brilliant half-century as South Africa completed an incredible turnaround with a seven-wicket victory at Newlands to win the Test series 2-1 on day four.

South Africa resumed on 101-2, needing another 111 to win, following Dean Elgar's dismissal right at the end of day three and they completed another superb run chase after winning the second Test by the same margin.

Petersen crafted a classy 82 and put on 54 for the third wicket with Rassie van der Dussen, who was unbeaten on 41 as the Proteas won an enthralling series after losing the first Test at SuperSport Park.

Temba Bavuma (32 not out) and Van der Dussen finished off the job with an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 57, ensuring India's wait for a first Test series triumph in South Africa goes on.

The elegant Petersen brought up his third half-century in the longest format as he continued to play positively under pressure in the morning session in the Proteas' pursuit of a victory target of 212, with support from Van der Dussen.

Cheteshwar Pujara dropped a straightforward slip catch when Petersen offered a chance on 59 after Jasprit Bumrah drew an edge, but the number three was on his way after chopping on attempting to steer Shardul Thakur into the off side.

India were unable to make further inroads in the morning session, although Van der Dussen had a scare when he was struck on the pad, but Marais Erasmus did not raise the finger and the verdict was umpire's call after Virat Kohli reviewed.

Van der Dussen and Bavuma looked untroubled after lunch, with the white-ball captain driving Ravichandran Ashwin for four to seal a famous series win and put India out of their misery.

Petersen a class act

For a man playing in only his fifth Test, Petersen looked like he had been in the Test arena for years as he made a second half-century of the match, having made 72 in the first innings.

This was a classy knock from the 28-year-old, who played with finesse and great composure with so much at stake to put South Africa well on their way to victory.

Petersen, who struck 10 boundaries as he showed the application that his side needed with the series on the line, can be a mainstay in the side for years to come.

India fizzle out after promising start

India were strongly fancied to secure an elusive series Test series win in South Africa after their victory in Centurion.

A win could still have been there for the taking when they took to the field on Friday, but they were left to reflect on what might have been and Pujara's dropped catch summed up their day.

They lacked potency and there was a sense of deja vu as South Africa ultimately made light work of completing the comeback, with India's lack of runs proving costly.

Australia's Travis Head struck a century to punish England on a rain-affected opening day of the fifth and final Ashes Test at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.

The hosts, who have an unassailable 3-0 lead, finished Friday on 241-6 having earlier been reduced to 12-3 by an England side who won the toss and chose to bowl first.

England showed five changes from last week's drawn fourth Test in Sydney, including a debut for Sam Billings, and started in an impressive manner.

David Warner (0), Usman Khawaja (6) and Steve Smith (0) all went by the start of the 10th over, while Marnus Labuschagne would have followed had Zak Crawley not fumbled.

That may well prove a decisive moment in the final Test as Labuschagne and Head launched a counter-attack by scoring 53 runs from the next seven overs.

But on 71 from 72 balls, Labuschagne comically wrong-footed himself when attacking a Stuart Broad delivery and could only watch from the floor as Australia lost another wicket.

England lost bowler Ollie Robinson to injury and their problems were compounded by the work of Head, who continued to rack up the runs when joined by Cameron Green.

Head survived a big scare on his way to reaching 101 from 113 balls, but his day was ended after he chipped a Chris Woakes delivery to Robinson at mid-on.

Green got to 74 before holing out at deep mid-wicket and only nine more balls were bowled due to rain, with Mitch Starc (0) and Alex Carey (10) to resume play on Saturday.

Travis keeps his Head after Crawley loses his

England could not have asked for a much better start on the green surface, with Robinson and Broad dismantling Australia's top order by dismissing Warner and Smith for ducks.

But Crawley's drop of Labuschagne, combined with England's wayward bowling from that point on, allowed Head – recently sidelined due to COVID-19 isolation – to grab the fifth Test by the scruff of the neck.

He went past the 100 mark, becoming the seventh Australian to do so in a day/night men's Test innings after Warner, Labuschagne, Khawaja, Smith, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb.

Green shoots of recovery

Australia all-rounder Green had a maiden hundred in his sights, only to fall to Mark Wood's short-ball trap 16 runs shot of three figures.

At 22 years and 225 days, he is the youngest player to score 50 or more runs in a men's Test innings for Australia at Bellerive Oval and the fourth youngest overall at the ground.

South Africa put themselves within striking distance of a Test series victory over India despite Rishabh Pant producing a terrific century on day three at Newlands.

Proteas captain Dean Elgar and Keegan Petersen combined for a 78-run partnership after tea as South Africa chased 212 to win the Cape Town tussle and take a 2-1 series victory.

India took what may yet be a priceless wicket with what proved to be the final delivery of the day, with Elgar caught down the leg side by Pant off Jasprit Bumrah, a review showing a clear nick.

He fell for 30, with Petersen unbeaten on 48 and South Africa 101-2, needing 111 more runs to get over the line.

There was Test history made earlier in the day as India were bowled out for 198 in their second innings, with Pant making 100 not out – described by India great Sachin Tendulkar on Twitter as "a simply outstanding knock".

All 10 India wickets fell to catches, just as they had in the first innings. That meant for the first time in Tests, a team lost all of their 20 wickets to catches.

India slumped from 152-4 to fall short of 200, but it was not for the lack of trying from Pant, who scored his runs from just 139 balls, with six fours and four sixes.

Temba Bavuma almost caught the wicketkeeper-batsman on 94 when the left-hander struck powerfully down the ground, but the ball squirted through the fielder's grasp and ran to the boundary.

He reached the fourth century of his Test career by tucking away a single to long leg before raising his bat in delight, but India, who began the day at 57-2, failed to back up his efforts. Collectively, Pant's team-mates contributed just 70, with 28 coming from extras.

Skipper Virat Kohli dug in before falling to Lungi Ngidi (3-21) for 29, having faced as many as 143 balls. Kagiso Rabada took 3-53 in another impressive effort from the Proteas in the field.


Jansen impresses again

Marco Jansen, South Africa's 6ft 9in paceman, took 4-36 in just his third Test appearance. Since making his debut in the opening match of this series, Jansen has taken 19 Test wickets at an average of 16.47. His pace and bounce has at times been too much for India, who are perhaps the first of many Test teams who will suffer against his menace.

History repeating for Proteas?

Cheteshwar Pujara fell to just the second delivery of the morning, with Petersen producing an outstanding catch on the leap at leg slip. Now the safe hands of Petersen can guide South Africa towards victory with the bat. Only on three previous occasions have teams won by posting a score of at least 200 in the fourth innings at Newlands. One of those was in 2007, when South Africa beat India by five wickets to clinch a 2-1 series win.

Joe Root has backed Chris Silverwood to stay on as head coach despite England's disappointing Ashes campaign

Silverwood's position, which he has held since being promoted from bowling coach in October 2019, is under growing pressure with England 3-0 down to Australia.

The 46-year-old presided over the Test defeats in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne before missing last week's drawn fourth Test in Sydney because of COVID-19.

He is now back with the squad for the start of Friday's final Test in Hobart and Root is hopeful it will not be Silverwood's last at the helm.

Asked if he would like to see Silverwood remain in charge, Root said: "Yes, I would. 

"It was a difficult week for the group of players with him not being around and it must have been very difficult for him.

"But I think the performances we put in during the first three games, I feel we've let him and the coaches down to a degree. 

"We've not played anywhere near the level we're capable of. It's a chance to do that this week."

England have a three-Test series with West Indies to come after the Ashes and then host New Zealand, India and South Africa later in the year.

They suffered nine Test defeats in a logistically challenging 2021 that forced Silverwood to shuffle his resources due to COVID bubbles and player withdrawals.

And Root praised Silverwood for the manner in which he has gone about his business over the past 18 months or so.

"I think he's very calm, he has the respect of the guys and he's got a desperation to see everyone do well or up-skill the players as best he can," Root said. 

"He's had a very difficult time of it with the environments we've been living in, trying to manage winning matches with bubble environments away from home, and multi-format players trying to prepare for an Ashes and a World Cup. It's very difficult.

"For a long time we've not been able to put our best teams out because we've been constantly trying to make sure from a mental wellbeing point of view everyone is looked after properly, because of the schedule we've dealt with over two years."

Jasprit Bumrah starred with the ball as India ended day two of the third Test against South Africa with a somewhat surprising lead.

In the series decider, the hosts were thrilled with their efforts to reduce the tourists to 223 all-out in their first innings, but could manage only 210 themselves thanks in large parts to the expert bowling of Bumrah.

South Africa began on 17-1 and Bumrah soon had his first wicket of the day and second of the innings as he bowled Aiden Markram for just eight.

Keshav Maharaj (25) was bowled by Umesh Yadav to leave the Proteas 45-3, only partnerships between Keegan Petersen and Rassie van der Dussen, and then Petersen and Temba Bavuma, to give the hosts a good chance of eventually establishing a lead themselves.

Things looked to be going against India when Virat Kohli dropped Bavuma on 17, but he atoned to with a catch off Mohammed Shami's bowling.

Shami forced an edge from Kyle Verreynne (0) just two balls later to reduce South Africa to 159-6, before Bumrah took centre stage again as he bowled Marco Jansen (seven) with the last ball before tea and removed Petersen, who managed an impressive knock of 72, shortly after the start of the third session.

Shardul Thakur saw off Kagiso Rabada (15), before Bumrah closed the innings by dismissing Lungi Ngidi (3) to clinch his five-for.

With India starting their second innings with a 13-run lead, South Africa responded well – openers KL Rahul (10) and Mayank Agarwal (seven) both gone in the first six overs – though Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli steadied the ship in the closing stages to finish the day on 57-2, 70 ahead.

Bumrah the man of the moment

Bumrah had bowled an excellent spell at the end of day one, managing 23 dot balls and taking the wicket of Dean Elgar in a short session before stumps and he started day two in similar fashion.

His figures of 5-42 from 23.3 overs put his team in a much stronger position than they likely would have expected and could prove decisive in this winner-takes-all Test.

Petersen the lone resistance

In just his eighth Tests innings, Petersen hit his highest score to date, which was made all the more impressive considering the quality of bowling he was up against and the regularity with which his team-mates were being sent back into the pavilion.

Kohli's 79 in India's first innings is the only other half century achieved in the match so far, and Petersen's came with a better strike rate (43.37 compared to 39.30).

Joe Root plans to give Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow as much time as possible to be fit for a fifth and final Ashes Test in which he challenged England to show "fight" and "desire" from "ball one".

Star all-rounder Stokes has already confirmed in his column for The Mirror that he will not be able to bowl in the day-night Test in Hobart having suffered a "low grade tear" in his side during the gritty draw in Sydney that ensured Australia cannot secure a 5-0 series whitewash.

Jonny Bairstow scored a gutsy first-innings century in that match but was forced to play through the pain barrier after receiving a hefty blow on the thumb from Pat Cummins, an injury that meant he could not regain the gloves from Jos Buttler, who has travelled home with a broken thumb, in the second innings.

Captain Root said both men will be assessed over the next couple of days before a decision is made.

"We've got to just see where they're at over the next couple of days, see what their bodies can handle and then assess from there," Root told a news conference on Wednesday.

"Certainly you can pick Ben as a bat, Jonny too. We have to see where they are at, what their bodies can handle.

"You have to trust the medical advice. Those guys work tirelessly to make sure we are in the best possible position to go and win games and sometimes that is making some difficult calls.

"I think they need to make sure they feel like they're physically in a place where they can get through five days of hard cricket, whatever Australia throw at them, and they're in a position where they can go out and play and firstly, get through the game, but also, most importantly put in a performance as they managed to last week as well. 

"It's alright being fit to play but you've got to be fit to perform and I think that's what we've got to work out."

Stokes made two half centuries in Sydney, while Bairstow made a hard-earned 41 in the second to add to his century with both men proving crucial as England bravely fought for a draw after being heavily beaten in each of the first three Tests.

England were still largely outplayed by the hosts and had to dig deep to avoid defeat. Root wants to see the same kind of guts throughout the duration of the contest in Hobart.

"On the back of three very difficult games where we underperformed, to come back and get something from the last game showed a great amount of character," he added.

"There was an element of relief managing to get through those last few overs but the desire, the fight and the pride that everyone showed on that last day is something we have to harness.

"We have to play like that more frequently through the five days, not just on the last day when everything is on the line, but from ball one. We've proved to ourselves that we can do it, now can we take it a step further?

"Can we make sure we do it in a winning cause rather than just trying to save a Test match? We have something to build on – that’s what we have to take from the last game and into this one."

Mitchell Starc is not putting his hand up for a rest ahead of the day-night fifth Ashes Test despite being Australia's only fast bowler to play all four matches this series.

Australia and England will resume hostilities in the final Ashes Test starting on Friday in Hobart with the hosts 3-0 up after the Sydney Test ended as a draw on Sunday.

Starc has impressed during this series with 15 wickets from four matches, behind only spinner Nathan Lyon (16), at an average of 26.6. He has also been commendable with the bat, contributing 151 runs at 75.5.

Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser are in contention after unluckily losing their spots following good displays in the second Test in Adelaide while Scott Boland is likely to be available despite hurting his ribs in Sydney, but Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out due to his ongoing side injury.

Left-armer Starc has bowled the most overs of any quick in the series, clocking up 134.1 overs but brushed aside speculation of a rest.

"It's purely up to the selectors. I'm not looking for a break," Starc told reporters on Wednesday.

"It's the last Test match of an Ashes series at home. It's the pink ball too. I'd very much like to play.

"It's in the hands of the selectors. I won't be asking for a rest."

Starc's ability to swing the pink ball makes him an enticing prospect for the day-night Test, which will be the first ever played in Hobart.

The 31-year-old paceman took 37-4 and 43-2 across both innings with the pink ball in the day-night Adelaide Test last month.

"I think we saw in Adelaide the pink ball didn’t swing anywhere near as much as we've seen in the past," Starc said.

"It's likely going to be very different in Hobart. I've not played with a pink ball here. We'll have to have a look at the wicket and see what that's like. There's a number of factors [on selection].

"We'll be trying to carry on the plan of attack that we had in Adelaide and hopefully that's a positive result for us here this week."

Ross Taylor marked the end of his record-breaking Test career with a rare wicket to clinch victory for New Zealand over Bangladesh in Christchurch.

The veteran batsman, who made his Test debut in November 2007 and scored 7,683 runs for the Black Caps in 112 games, enjoyed a fairy tale finish.

Captain Tom Latham invited the occasional off-spinner to have a bowl as New Zealand sought the final wicket they needed to wrap up an innings win.

It was just the eighth Test innings in which Taylor has bowled, and from his third delivery he had Ebadot Hossain caught by Latham at midwicket.

A slog by the Bangladesh number 11 went skywards before Latham showed composure to gather the falling ball.

That gave Taylor a third Test wicket and figures of 1-0, although his best figures remain the 2-4 he took against India in Ahmedabad in 2010.

New Zealand, for whom Latham made 252 in a first-innings total of 521-6, won the Test by an innings and 117 runs after bowling out the visitors for 278 second time around.

After the embarrassing defeat in Mount Maunganui last time out, it meant the two-Test series ended in a draw.

Taylor told broadcaster Spark Sport: "I suppose if you bowl in those situations a bit more often, you get the wicket. It's a great way to finish.

"We needed to win this game to stay in the series. I thought we played fantastically well.

"Bangladesh put us under pressure a lot of times. It's probably a fair reflection of where the series was at.

"But I wanted to finish with the win and the guys definitely gave that to me. The way we came out and bowled and put them under pressure after posting a very good total put us in good stead.

"It was an emotional game for me, my family and friends, and the team-mates as well, but it was good to get the win."

Returning captain Virat Kohli says he has nothing to prove as India go in search of a historic Test series victory over South Africa at Newlands.

Kohli will return to lead the tourists for the decider in Cape Town on Tuesday after missing a seven-wicket defeat at the Wanderers last week due to back spasms.

Hanuma Vihari would appear to be the most likely batter to step aside for the fit-again skipper in Cape Town, where India have never beaten the Proteas in five attempts in the longest format and must end that record to secure a first Test series win in South Africa.

Kohli's last Test century came against Bangladesh back in November 2019, but the 33-year-old feels the increased scrutiny on him is due to the incredible exploits that have established him as one of the best players in the world.

"It's not the first time [his form has been called into question]," Kohli said. "It's happened a few times in my career - England 2014 was one of those phases. 

"But the thing is, I don't look at myself from the lens that the outside world looks at me with, and eventually the standards that we're talking about today, that I'm being compared with, have been set by myself, and more than anyone else, I take a lot of pride in wanting to do the best thing for the team that I can, and wanting to perform regularly for the team, and hence I've been able to do that for a long period of time.

"You have to understand, in sport sometimes, things do not go the way you want them to go, but at the end of the day I realise, as a player, as a batsman, that I've been involved in very important moments for the team over the last calendar year or so, and for me that is a matter of a lot of pride, that I have been part of very important partnerships when the team needed me, and eventually those moments have been crucial for us in many Test matches.

"So sometimes your focal point has to shift; if all the time you're going to look at yourself and judge yourself on the basis of numbers and milestones, I don't think you'll ever be content or happy with what you're doing. 

"I take a lot of pride and happiness in the process that I'm following, and I'm at peace with how I'm playing and what I'm being able to do for the team when there is a tricky scenario, and as long as I'm doing that, and taking a lot of pride and motivation to be in those moments. 

"I have nothing else to worry about, because the reality of the situation is that you eventually want to make impact performances for the team, and my best effort is always to do that, and I truly believe that I don't need to prove anything to anyone.

"It's just that when you're in the place where I am, you are going to be constantly judged, and that is the job of the outside world. I don't look at myself like that."

Half-century for Proteas paceman Rabada 

Rabada will play his 50th Test at a ground where South Africa have only lost once in the longest format - against England two years ago - since the start of 2015.

Captain Dean Elgar, man of the match in the second Test after making a brilliant unbeaten 96 as South Africa chased down 240 to level the series at 1-1, revealed Rabada needed a "rocket" to fire him up following a loss in the first Test.

Rabada responded by taking three wickets in both innings in Johannesburg and Elgar will expect him to fire again with the pressure on in the final Test.

 

India ponder Siraj replacement

The tourists will be without Mohammed Siraj after he suffered a hamstring injury in the second Test, so either Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav are set to get the nod but Kohli kept his cards close to his chest on the eve of the match.

He said: "We are yet to sit down - myself, the head coach, the vice-captain - to decide what we want to do about [Siraj's] replacement.

"I say that because of our bench strength. It's difficult for us to figure out who will play because everyone is at the top of their game, bowling well, batting well, and these things become a point of discussion, contention, and you have to obviously have a healthy discussion around a decision like that, and just agree that everyone feels balanced about it.

"So yeah, we're yet to have that discussion, but I would rather be in this position where we are yet to decide who's going to play rather than having to figure out other options in terms of managing our balance and stuff like that."

Australia captain Pat Cummins wishes the weather had been on his team's side after England frustrated their hosts to draw the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney.

James Anderson batted out the final over of the day – and the 102nd of England's second innings – at the Sydney Cricket Ground to ensure the tourists reached 270-9 at stumps and avoided a series whitewash.

With the Ashes already lost after a dismal opening three Tests, Joe Root's team performed resiliently to restore some pride heading into the final match in Hobart.

They relied on some good fortune, too. Rain delayed the restart in the second session on Sunday, further stalling Australia after they had clinched the important wicket of Zak Crawley (77), who became England's third-youngest opener to score a half-century in an away Ashes series, just before lunch. Rain also effected play earlier in the match.

Cummins, meanwhile, held on late to declare on day four despite Australia having built a towering lead, with Crawley and Haseeb Hameed only facing 35 minutes at the crease late on Saturday.

"Obviously, [we were] really keen [for the win]," Cummins said at the post-match presentation.

"But I think it was a great game of Test cricket, we got close. A bit less weather might have got us there but it was a really hard-fought match – that's why we all love it. We'd have loved to go up 4-0, but it was a good match.

"The weather forecasts are hopeless, I learned that this week. I think day four was meant to rain all day. I was ready to follow-on, we'd have had a full day of sunlight yesterday to bowl in."

Asked about his late declaration, Cummins added: "Being in a position to get up close to 400, I think we needed that.

"The wicket wasn't playing many tricks, we’ve got some class batters. Today was good fun, I felt really lucky to have genuine bowlers plus Smithy [Steve Smith] and Marnus [Labuschagne] to throw the ball to. It felt like we were right in with a shot."

Australia were led in the fourth Test by the magnificent Usman Khawaja, who marked his first appearance in their red-ball side since the 2019 Ashes series with a hundred in each innings.

He became just the third player to score a hundred in each innings of an SCG Test, and the first since former Australia captain Ricky Ponting in 2006, also against England.

"Two hundreds, no it can't [get much better]," Usman said.

"It was a terrific game. We'd have loved to win but it was a great game, a great fight from England, Test cricket at its best, right down to the wire. It could have gone either way – we couldn't ask for much more."

Khawaja has already said he does not expect to be in Australia's team for the final Test, with Travis Head expected to return from a coronavirus-enforced absence, but the 35-year-old knows he has a big role to play over the next 12 months.

"I'm enjoying the game, love the game. There's lots of ups and downs. I fully know I could go out next time I play and get two ducks, it's just the way this game is," he continued.

"That's why we love it. It's such a hard game. It's really satisfying. There's nothing harder that Test cricket, when you perform like that you know you've done something right.

"There's a lot of cricket coming up. Fingers crossed we stay healthy. The guys have played unbelievably before this game, 3-0 up. We couldn't have asked for much more from this series and hopefully the next game we can win that, and then win a few games away."

England have stubbornly held on for a thrilling draw with one wicket left to halt Australia's bid for an Ashes series whitewash at the SCG on Sunday.

Australia needed 10 wickets on the final day to claim a 4-0 series lead in the fourth Ashes Test but could only claim nine, with tail-ender Jimmy Anderson staving off the final over from Steve Smith.

Smith had claimed the ninth wicket with the final ball of the 100th over, meaning Anderson (0*) and Stuart Broad (8*) had to navigate two more overs but survived.

England, who resumed at 30-0 needing an improbable 388 for victory, got through 91 overs on the final day, with Australia taking five final session wickets to apply intense pressure.

Zak Crawley (77), Ben Stokes (60) and Jonny Bairstow (41) led the rearguard despite the latter two being hampered by injuries, before Leach (26), Broad and Anderson saw England through to a draw in fading light.

MCG hero Scott Boland (30-3) was the pick of the bowlers along with Nathan Lyon (28-2) and captain Pat Cummins (80-2), who claimed two wickets in three balls in the final session to ignite the home crowd.

Crawley offered positive resistance in the first session but was trapped lbw by all-rounder Cameron Green for 77 before lunch, after Boland got Hameed early and Lyon had bowled Dawid Malan.

Rain delayed the resumption before England were stubborn in the second session, scoring only 52 runs in 21 overs but Australia got the key wicket of Joe Root (24) to Boland.

The game came to life in the final session, with Stokes' heroic stand ending caught by Steve Smith at slip off Lyon for 60 from 123 balls. Cummins struck twice in three balls in the 85th over, trapping both Jos Buttler and Mark Wood lbw to give the hosts real hope.

Jonny Bairstow was dropped by Smith at second slip on 28 but Boland struck again, when England's last remaining recognised batsman edged onto his pad allowing Marnus Labuschagne to catch at silly mid-off for 41.

Leach, who batted for more than an hour, and Broad fought hard, with the former edging off Carey's gloves to Warner late, before England's final two did enough to claim a hard-earned draw.

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