Alastair Cook
Alastair Cook's (in picture) record-breaking 244* has helped England avoid a defeat in the fourth Test Getty

Alastair Cook's unbeaten double hundred for England in the fourth Test of the Ashes and poor weather on the fourth day has ended Australia's hope of a whitewash against the Three Lions.

Pat Cummins made sure his teammates were not made to stand on the field for long. The pacer dismissed James Anderson in the first ball of the day, which resulted in an end to the visitors' first innings.

Cook notched a record after his 244 not out. He became the highest scorer ever to carry his bat in Test cricket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. England were bowled out for 491, with the left-handed batsman leading the Three Lions' batting division until the end.

The previous record was held by New Zealand's Glenn Turner, who scored 223 against West Indies in Kingston in 1972. Michael Atherton was the last English batsman to carry his bat in Test, which came against the Black Caps in 1997.

Australia openers Cameron Bancroft and David Warner were hoping to turn things for the hosts. However, the former was dismissed by Chris Woakes for 27, while Anderson took the second wicket of the innings to send Usman Khawaja back to the pavilion.

Warner was accompanied by Australia captain Steven Smith in the middle. The hosts, who are leading the series 3-0, were 70/2 at lunch. They added 16 runs without losing a wicket in the next 68 deliveries, before rain interrupted.

The players got on to the field and Australia further added 17 runs to the overall tally before rain stopped the play for the second time in the day. The bad weather interrupted the play twice between lunch and tea.

There was no improvement in terms of the weather, which forced the umpires to call it a day. Australia finished the fourth day of the fourth Test with 103 for the loss of two wickets. Warner and Smith were in the middle, having made 40 and 25 runs respectively.

England's hope of sealing a consolation victory in the five-match Test series looks very slim, while Australia's chances of a whitewash now seems all but over.