Australia retained the Ashes after a crushing innings an 14 run victory over England at Melbourne. The victory was sealed shortly before lunch on the third day and summed up Australia’s superiority over their rivals in this series.
England started the day starring down the barrel of another heavy defeat. Despite some early from resistance from Joe Root, wickets began to fall steadily with Scott Boland the star of the show.
The Victorian was unplayable and demolished any hopes of England had of trying to stop the Aussies from winning the Ashes.
England ring the changes
England made four changes going into the MCG test, knowing that they had to win the test or would see Australia hold on to the Ashes. Zak Crawley, Jonny Bairstow, Mark Wood and Jack Leach returned back to the side.
Australia won an important toss and elected to put England in to bat. England quickly lost Haseeb Hameed for a duck to the second over of the day. Crawley(12) edged Pat Cummins to gully to give the skipper his second wicket.
Once again it was down to Root and Dawid Malan to bail England out of trouble. The pair looked to be surviving until lunch when Malan(14) became Cummins third victim to fall.
Captain Root to the rescue again
A patient half century from Root and 35 from Bairstow enabled England to reach 185 with both Cummins and Nathan Lyon finishing with 3 for 36.
Before the close Australia lost David Warner for 38 to close on 61 for 1, trailing by 124 runs.
England fought back on the second morning by making early inroads. The visitors removed nightwatchman Lyon(10) and the big wicket of Marnus Labuschagne(1). Jimmy Anderson removed Steve Smith(16) as Australia slipped to 110 for 4. However useful contributions from Cummins, Travis Head and Mitchell Starc enabled Australia to build a first innings lead of 82, after being bowled out for 267.
Anderson again showing his class
Jimmy Anderson was rewarded for a superb spell of bowling to finish with figures of 4 for 33, with the hosts holding the edge.
As in the past, any first innings deficit normally amounts to another poor second innings from England. A horrible hour saw England subside to 31 for 4 at the close. Starc was on a hat trick after dismissing Crawley(5) and Malan(0). Hameed(7) then completed a miserable test after edging Boland behind.
Two deliveries later nightwatchman Leach(0) offered no stroke to Boland to leave England in tatters and the Ashes all but remaining in Australia.
Not long now until Aussies retain the Ashes
On a gloriously sunny day in Melbourne, the question on everybody’s lips would have been, how long will the days play last. Root and Stokes briefly offered some resistance before Starc bowled Stokes(11).
Boland trapped Bairstow(5) leg before. The newcomer Boland struck the final nail in England’s coffin when Root(28) edged to slip before wrapping up the tail top finish with figures of 6 for 7 off 24 balls.
It was down to Cameron Green to have the final say when Anderson(2) was bowled to secure another comprehensive win and keep a strangle hold on the little ern.