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Live Reporting

By Jack Skelton and Matthew Henry

All times stated are UK

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  1. Farewell

    That's all for this live text on the Boxing Day Test.

    A real shame how it ended. It was nicely poised after three engrossing days but the rain yesterday and the lifelessness of the pitch today somewhat spoiled it.

    Stephan Shemilt's full report of day five is available here. There are also Test Match Special highlights over on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra now. And Pint-Sized Ashes is available to watch here.

    All credit to Steve Smith for another masterful knock, of course, and a big hand to Alastair Cook for his sublime 244 not out in England's innings.

    On we go to Sydney, which will start in the evening of 3 January UK time.

    Catch you all then and thanks for reading.

    Steve Smith and Joe Root
  2. Post update

    A final world from England captain Joe Root on BT Sport: "We outplayed them in this match. It's a draw but something for us to move forward with.

    "It's been a tough tour and we've been outplayed in three games but finally we've proven to others and ourselves we're good enough out here.

    "It's just such a shame it's taken until now. We knew there wasn't much between the sides and that's the really frustrating thing for me.

    "We've still got the big goal of winning in Sydney and coming away with a win on this tour."

  3. Post update

    Steve Smith on BT Sport: "I just love batting and like being out in the middle and getting things done.

    "I don't really like watching cricket that much, I prefer being out there batting so that gives me extra motivation to be out there."

    He doesn't even like watching cricket! Dearie me.

    Steve Smith
  4. Post update

    Alastair Cook to BT Sport: "It has been great for me. It is a bit late for the series which is frustrating. I haven't been batting that badly without being able to get going in the middle.

    "It was nice to do it in this game. It was a nice pitch to bat on. If you needed some runs you would choose one of those wickets. You still had to go get them and I am proud I got a big one.

    "In this Test match we have backed up good days with another good day. We competed really well and we can take confidence into Sydney and we we'll try for a win there."

    Alastair Cook
  5. Post update

    This Test may well not be fondly remembered, but there were still two stand-out performances that deserve applause.

    Alastair Cook, answering his own and others' doubts, scored a sublime unbeaten 244 - the highest total ever made by a player carrying his bat and the highest by a visiting batsman at the MCG.

    Then today, Steve Smith completed his 23rd century in 60 Tests. An innings of total concentration and discipline to help his side save the game.

    Let's hear from the both...

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    Daniel Stevanato: 97 balls per wicket throughout the match and virtual no deterioration. If that isn't a road that needs digging up I don't know what is.

    Stephen Starrs: One of THE most boring days play I've ever had the misfortune to witness. Fair play to Australia for saving the game but this is what turns people off Test cricket.

  7. 'The pitch beat both sides'

    Alastair Cook, speaking to BT Sport: "There wasn't much in that wicket. The guys tried hard as ever but that pitch beat both sides in the end.

    "I doesn't happen that often. There are less draws and wickets have more than this one. People will criticise the wicket but I know preparing a wicket isn't an exact science. I am sure the groundsman would have liked it to break up more than it did."

  8. Post update

    Perhaps the biggest talking point from this match will end up being the pitch.

    Was it suitable for Test cricket? It seemed hard to bat fluently on but also hard to get people out on.

    Both sides have been critical, although Alastair Cook has offered a more nuanced take...

  9. Post update

    So will England drop Moeen for Sydney and perhaps look at bringing in young leg-spinner Mason Crane?

    When asked about changes on BT Sport, Root said: "We will have to look at the wicket in Sydney and see where we go with the team."

  10. 'Moeen has big future with England'

    Joe Root on Moeen Ali's poor form: "Moeen has struggled this week but is a fine player. Like other guys he has proven before when it is not going his way he is able to wrestle it back in his favour, He will have a big future for England. It is important that everyone knows that."

    Moeen Ali
  11. Post update

    A lifeless MCG pitch was hardly a raging turner on day five, but Moeen only bowled 10.2 overs all day.

    That alone suggests both he and Joe Root have little confidence in his bowling. The England captain also gave himself more attacking fields when he came on to bowl and then remove David Warner.

    Dawid Malan also bowled eight overs of his part-time leg-spin, showing better control at times than Moeen, who is also on a bad run with the bat.

  12. Post update

    England much improved but still without a win in the series, having also had the pitch and the weather to beat here, along with their more familiar scourge Steve Smith.

    They will go to Sydney with renewed confidence they can compete with this Australia team down under and hope to end a painful tour with a win.

    However, some big issues remain. Perhaps chiefly among them the form of Moeen Ali...

  13. Post update

    England captain Joe Root on his expectations for day five: "We were confident because we know the skill level in the dressing room. We got two wickets going into lunch and knew we had a sniff.

    "Fair play to Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh. When you know you are under pressure, and know you have to bat time, it is not always easy.

    "The support here has been unbelievable. The noise they make is unbelievable and we have the best fans in the world."

  14. What you've missed...

    Australia and England have drawn the fourth Test at Melbourne. The hosts will take a 3-0 series lead into the fifth and final Test at Sydney.

    Steve Smith batted all day to save the game, finishing unbeaten on 102, his 23rd century in 60 Tests and third in this series.

    He was ably supported by Mitchell Marsh's 29 off 166 balls, after England went into lunch with real hope of pushing for victory.

    At that point Australia were 178-4, just 14 runs ahead, after two quick wickets at the end of an otherwise dreary morning session.

    David Warner looked on course for a second century in the Test, only to sky Joe Root to James Vince at cover for 86, while Stuart Broad had Shaun Marsh edging behind for just four.

    But England could not find another wicket as hard as they tried on a lifeless deck.

    Steve Smith and Joe Root shake hands
  15. MCC statement on the MCG pitch

    Melbourne Cricket Club chief exec Stuart Fox has released a statement regarding the pitch:

    "While this Test pitch did produce a good contest, it has not contained the pace and bounce that we expected. As the game progressed, the surface did not deteriorate nor bring the level of unpredictability that was anticipated. We review all elements of our performance at the conclusion of every event, and the quality of the pitch is no exception.

    "We will take on board feedback from the players, umpires and cricket bodies, as well as our own observations. Our new head curator, Matthew Page, will take on pitch preparation duties in the coming weeks and we look forward to his input. Overall, we remain confident and determined to produce portable wickets that generate entertaining Test cricket. Portable pitches have been used at the MCG for more than 20 years and drawn Tests have been a rarity in that time."

    MCG pitch
  16. 'As flat as you'll ever see'

    England captain Joe Root: "That's as flat a wicket as you'll ever see - another four days and it would be exactly the same."

  17. 'It was a dead wicket'

    Australia captain Steve Smith on the condition of the pitch to BT Sport: "It was such a flat, dead wicket. Once you faced a few balls and got used to it, it was really hard to get out.

    "It wasn't a great cricket wicket - it was hard to get people out but also hard to score runs on so that's a bit of a pity. Hopefully they can find something to do with this wicket.

    "The Boxing Day Test is a big occasion and people don't want to come to see a flat track every year."

  18. Post update

    This is only the second draw in the last 20 Tests at Melbourne, so the MCG usually does produce a results pitch.

    However, that pitch barely deteriorated and was still playing much like a day two pitch on day five.

    Both captains have had some harsh words about it...

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    Mark Staples: Got to look on the bright side. At least this series won’t be a 5-0 whitewash!

    Martin Ridgley: Before we get too carried away with talk of England's resurgence - without Cook's contribution, and on a 'nothing' pitch, the rest of the ream could barely muster 250 runs!

    Yudish: Flat pitch? It's only flat when you don't have bowlers who bowl above 90mph. Starc and co would have put England under pressure

  20. 'We can take pride'

    More from England captain Joe Root on TMS: "It is frustrating that we have not managed to force a win. We did everything we could to do so on a very flat wicket that was not offering the bowlers very much at all.

    "The was no pace no spin and if we played for four days it would be exactly the same. We did everything we could and have got to take pride in that and make sure we turn up to Sydney, back up this performance and get a win on this tour."