Australia’s hopes of a consolation victory in the fifth and final Ashes test are dwindling after persistent rain wiped out the first session on day four at The Oval on Saturday.

The start of play was postponed indefinitely and with rain continuing to fall and the outfield growing increasingly saturated, there is a risk the umpires will have to abandon play for the day. An early lunch was taken and the forecast indicates bad weather will linger throughout the day.

If any play is possible, England will resume on 247-4 trailing Australia by 245 runs. The not-out batsmen are Ian Bell on 29 and Chris Woakes on 15, with England needing another 46 runs to avoid the follow on.

Australia is 3-0 down in the five-match series and is looking for a win in London to boost confidence ahead of the return series Down Under starting in November.

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