Australia retained a sparkling Ashes on Sunday after the day was marred by bad weather, meaning the fourth Test ended in a draw.
England were racing against time to take the last five Australian wickets over the final two days, but were allowed just 30 overs at the weekend and failed to do so.
Although Ben Stokes’ side could draw the series at The Oval next week, they will not be able to win after losing the first two Test matches.
England will be favorites to do it but they will be disappointed that they have the opportunity to set up a nail-biting final in the capital.
Below, Mail Sport’s Laurence Booth examines how each player performed at Old Trafford.
Ben Stokes was powerless as rain meant no play on the fifth day
A draw meant Pat Cummins and Australia retained the Ashes despite their dominance
Zak Crawley 9.5 – This is why England are stuck with him in a period of stagnation. Yes, he enjoyed moments of luck. But which other opener in English cricket can destroy a world-class attack for 189 off 182 balls? A pleasure to watch.
Ben Duckett 3 – falls cheaply to Starc and the new ball, which could happen, but still has credit after 98 and 83 in his Lord’s double. In the baseball era, he averaged 54 with an 89 strikeout rate.
Moeen Ali 7 – Derided in some quarters as a fake No. 3, Ali rose to the challenge with his first Test fifty in four-and-a-half years. He dismissed Labuschagne for the second time in two games with his rusty off-break.
Joe Root 8 – After a quiet Test with the bat, he looked in odds for a century until he was bowled by one from Hazlewood that bounced narrowly. Labuschenne’s wicket gave England hope on a rain-soaked fourth day.
Harry Brook 7 – Ticked his 10th 50-plus score in his 19th innings, though it lacked some of his usual panache. Australia did well to slow his progress on the second evening, but he has grown in this series.
Ben Stokes 7.5 – Lived up to his pre-match promise that England would be torn apart by the weather forecast, contributing 51 in their most destructive Ashes ever. Harsh would say he should have pushed for a three-day win.
Jack Crawley showed why England stuck with him as he dismantled a world-class attack
Jonny Bairstow also joined the team with an unbeaten 99 on day three at Old Trafford.
Jonny Bairstow 9 – He’s back! After a stunning one-handed catch to dismiss Marsh on the opening day, Bairstow’s knock electrified the third, when he scored an unbeaten 99. No one, not even Stokes, can time the ball so clearly.
Chris Woakes 8 – Picks up where he left off at Headingley, picking up his first Ashes five and taking over from Broad as Warner’s nemesis, removing him twice. England now have 106 Test wickets at an average of 22.
Mark Wood 8 – One of the stories of the series, he deserved another victory celebration after dismantling Australia’s second innings with the scalps of Khawaja, Smith and Head. His 11 wickets cost just 17 in this Ashes.
Stuart Broad 7 – Removed the sticky Khawaja in the fifth over of the game, then induced a mishit over the head to bring up 600 Test wickets. Still top in the series with 18 wickets.
Jimmy Anderson 6 – Didn’t bowl badly, but lacked nip and had to settle for the lone wicket of Cummins. His economy-rate of 2.69 is the worst for either side in this series, but Australia have restricted him to four costly wickets. Did he play his last Test?
James Anderson was far from his best on his home ground and may have played his last Test
David Warner made 6 – 32 and 28, meaning he survived Broad’s opening burst, but then fell twice to Woakes. Walked away with a laugh in previous matches: not this time. It was a missed opportunity, and he knew it.
Usman Khawaja 3 – After three Test stoical resistance, the dam finally burst, with scores of three and 18. Using a review after edging Wood compounded his second innings failure.
Marnus Labuschagne 8.5 – Finally passed 50, then added his first Ashes century in this country to lead the Australian resistance. Even after the England ball was changed, care was taken to check if it could swing more than the old one.
Marnus Labuschagne eventually scored his first 50 of the series and backed it up with a century.
Steve Smith 6 – Undoes Wood’s pace twice, and hasn’t looked himself since his first innings century at Lord’s. England managed to restrict him to a series average of 31 brilliantly. Cummins still ran the show on the field despite wearing the armband.
Travis Head 6 – Looked busy with 48 in the first innings, only to help Broad at fine leg. Wood knew nothing of the ball that bounced him out on the third evening and looked at Shaista.
Mitchell Marsh 8 – Looked like one of Australia’s most efficient operators for the second game in a row since his withdrawal. Became a brilliant catch from Bairstow on day one, then held firm in the rain on day four. Bowled nine unhittable overs.
Cameron Greene 5.5 – Couldn’t make the impact we were hoping for in this series, though he ended Crowley’s fun and removed Anderson to deny Bairstow a century. His economy-rate of 4.08 was comfortably his best, which isn’t saying much.
Alex Carey’s personality has dipped since the controversial stumping of Bairstow
Cummins suffered an all-round shock and was saved by rain during the fourth Test
Alex Carey 5 – He has had a slump since stumping Bairstow at Lord’s and seems to be playing close early on day one. Oakes confirmed that he had not been there. Later wasted the opportunity to run out Stokes.
Mitchell Starc 5 – Bats well for two hours, but then takes a beating after quickly removing Duckett. Only once in his 81 Tests has he conceded more than the 137 Tests he spent here, but he will need to put Australia behind him at the Oval.
Pat Cummins 3 – Has a captain ever held the Ashes in worse circumstances? All-round shock: scored 129, his highest in a Test innings, fell on the first ball of the second day, dropped catches, conceded overthrows and lost control of the field. Then two days of rain are needed to ensure a draw.
Josh Hazlewood 6.5 – Picks up one of the most easily forgotten five wickets in Ashes history. Root in his game and three of England’s bottom four. After a rest at Headingley, the Oval should be less tired than the team-mates.