Australia have successfully retained the Ashes after bowling England out to secure victory on the final day of the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
The win puts Australia 2-1 ahead in the series, with just one match to play, at the Oval next week. England could yet level the series with victory there, but as current holders, a drawn series would see Australia keep the urn. The result means Australia will leave England with the Ashes for the first time since 2001.
England had arrived in Manchester full of optimism, after Ben Stokes’ epic unbeaten 135 had guided them to an unlikely victory at Headingley in the third Test.
However, having lost the toss, they toiled in the field as Steve Smith’s double century saw Australia post a first innings total of 497/8 declared.
Half centuries from Rory Burns and Joe Root helped England avoid the follow-on, but they were bowled out for 301 as the likes of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood wreaked havoc.
Another 82 from Smith, his lowest score of the series, helped Australia set up a declaration on the evening of day four, leaving England needing to score an unlikely 383 to win, or bat out the remainder of the Test to earn a draw and keep the Ashes alive.
Cummins made that task even more difficult by removing Root and Burns with successive deliveries before stumps. That left Australia needing eight wickets on the final day for victory, and despite a dogged fifty from opener Joe Denly and determined rearguard action from Jos Buttler, Craig Overton and Jack Leach the final England wicket fell shortly after 6pm to seal the result.
London Evening Standard
BDST: 1055 HRS, SEPT 9, 2019