England caught in rare rules breach on final day of Ashes series

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Perhaps the most bizarre moment of an eventful Ashes series occurred on its final day.

England were hit with a five-run penalty on day four at The Oval when the ball struck a helmet sitting behind wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

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With Jack Leach bowling to Matthew Wade, England had placed a spare helmet about five metres behind the wicketkeeper - as is quite common in cricket.

But what isn’t particularly common is the ball striking it.

The ball hit the helmet behind Jonny Bairstow. Image: Channel Nine

Leach got one to spin past the outside edge of Wade’s bat, but Bairstow was unable to glove it after it kept low.

The ball then cannoned into the helmet and away towards the boundary.

Unfortunately for England it incurred a five run penalty.

Aussies retain the Ashes despite fifth Test loss

Australia's disappointing 135-run loss and a drawn series proved a somewhat underwhelming end to Tim Paine's first Ashes tour but the captain remained proud to be returning home with the urn.

England's consolatory victory in the fifth Test at the Oval, sealed when they set an imposing target of 399 early on day four then rolled Australia for 263 despite Wade's gutsy knock of 117, means the series finished 2-2.

Paine's team became the first Australian outfit in 18 years to arrive in England and return home with the urn, comfortably the greatest achievement of his career.

But, having followed an epic victory at Old Trafford with their worst performance of the five Tests, Australia's quest for their first Ashes series win in England since 2001 will continue until at least 2023.

Tim Paine and the Aussies celebrate. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

The touring party had a customary champagne shower on stage then later shared beers with England's squad in the rooms at the Oval, swapping stories after the most heated match of the series.

Paine, whose Decision Review System (DRS) "nightmare" ended with an unsuccessful referral after being trapped lbw by Jack Leach, admitted to some regrets in the series finale but took a big-picture view.

"We're bringing the urn home and that's what we came here to do. We're thrilled by that," Paine said.

"A little disappointed by this game, obviously it's put a bit of a dampener on it.

"It's still a bit close to a loss to be absolutely thrilled about what happened.

"But when you put it in perspective of what we have done in the past 12 months, I think as a group ... we can be proud.

"Had you said we were taking the urn home (prior to the series) then we would have jumped at it."

with AAP