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Australia retains Ashes after England collapse

Cricket

Australia have wrapped up the Ashes in dominant style, taking an unassailable 3-0 lead after demolishing England by an innings and 14 runs at the MCG.

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Befitting their calamitous tour, England’s resistance lasted just 80 minutes on Tuesday morning as they lost their last six wickets for 22 runs to be all out for 68.

Scott Boland claimed outstanding figures of 6-7 on Test debut, with his five-wicket off 19 balls the equal-fastest in Test history.

It marks the third straight Ashes where Australia have claimed the Ashes, after winning in 2017-18 and drawing the series in England in 2019 to keep the urn.

It is also the eighth time in the past nine series in Australia that the series has been wrapped up after three Tests.

But never has England’s capitulation been as brutal as it was in Melbourne this week.

Australia’s triumph allowed them wrap up the Test in 180.4 overs, the shortest Test match on home home soil in the past 71 years.

In turn, it is the quickest of any team to seal the urn Down Under in Ashes history.

The Ashes triumph comes just over a month after Tim Paine’s resignation as captain and subsequent withdrawal from the series.

Under-pressure to hold his spot amid criticism, Mitchell Starc was frequently the man to break England’s back.

He led the way in England’s second innings, getting Zak Crawley and Dawid Malan with back-to-back balls on the second evening before bowling Ben Stokes for 11 early on day three.

Crucially, he also found a way to lead Australia’s attack in a summer where Josh Hazlewood has missed two Tests through injury and Pat Cummins one through a COVID-19 scare.

In their place, Australia’s next-in-line quicks stepped up.

Just as Jhye Richardson claimed 5-42 in the fourth-innings in Adelaide, Boland made a name for himself at the MCG in front of his home crowd.

After removing Haseeb Hameed and nightwatchman Jack Leach in one over on Monday night, he trapped Jonny Bairstow lbw for five in the first hour on Tuesday morning.

And when he had Joe Root (28) edge off for the sixth time this series, the rot was well and truly set in.

The Victorian got rid of Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood in the next over, before Cameron Green gave England their last rites when he bowled Jimmy Anderson for two and reclaimed the urn.

“We have been relentless with bat and ball when we have had to be,” captain Pat Cummins said.

“The bowlers have turned up and owned the good area around the top of off stump.

“The batters have earned their runs. Big partnerships, Marnus, Davey, they have earnt the right to bat long.

“Everyone’s performed. Everyone’s contributed.”

England’s only fight now is to try to avoid a 5-0 whitewash, but on current form that would require a miracle or intervention from the weather in Sydney and Hobart.

“Credit to Australia. They blew us away last night and have outplayed us through the Test match and series,” Root said.

“We’ve got a lot of hard work to do to make sure we come back strong in the last two games.”

-AAP

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