The Ashes: England's hopes dashed as Australia close out fourth test with a draw

England's hopes of a consolation victory in the Ashes have been dented as the Australia captain Steve Smith hit an unbeaten 102 to draw the fourth test.

The hosts can no longer achieve a third 5-0 whitewash in England's last four visits, but stay three up with one to play.

Smith - whose Ashes tally is now at 604 - lost the assistance of an equally becalmed David Warner (86) in late morning, after Australia resumed still 61 in arrears with two wickets down.

He batted throughout the final day to steer Australia to the security of 263 for four to close out the draw 99 in front.

England captain Joe Root found cause for a little optimism following the draw.

I would never question the character of our squad. The way we apply ourselves, the attitude we take is always there. We are a better team than we have shown on this trip, and that's a benchmark for us to move forward.

Joe Root

Reflecting on his team's improvement, he added: "I'm very proud of the way we went about it.

"To come off three very difficult games and put in a performance like that is very pleasing - that's what we are about as a side.

"It's a fair reflection of what we are capable of as a team.

"I'm disappointed that we couldn't quite crack it open today - and we tried absolutely everything.

"We have to try and go one better in Sydney and get that win we want."