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Ashes finale fades into farce at the Oval

England were denied the chance to make Ashes history — and complete one of the most fearless chases in living memory — when the umpires took the sides off for bad light with the Ashes fifth test minutes away from a thrilling climax.

The home side, looking to turn their 3-0 series win into a dream 4-0 success over the Australians, required 21 in 24 balls when Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena produced the dreaded light meters and signalled the end of proceedings.

In doing so, the officials followed procedure but to deny a full house a natural conclusion to an unforgettable day’s cricket at the Kia Oval felt like a sport fatally hamstrung by its own laws.