Nottingha: England regained the Ashes in convincing style today by beating Australia by an innings and 78 runs in the fourth Test, taking an insurmountable 3-1 lead in the series.
England needed 10.2 overs on Day 3 to take the three remaining wickets in Australia’s second innings, dismissing the tourists for 253 and sparking wild celebrations on the Trent Bridge field.
With minutes of the result, Australia captain Michael Clarke announced he would be retiring from Test cricket at the end of the series. It completed a remarkable transformation by England, which was beaten 5-0 Down Under 18 months ago to relinquish the urn and spark a change in coach and personnel.
“I said I wouldn’t cry but maybe I might at some stage,” England captain Alastair Cook said, welling up in an interview on the field.
“Someone told us to watch the Ashes from behind the sofa. “From where we’ve been as a side over the last 18 months, we’ve stuck to what we believe was the right thing to do. The way the lads stepped up has been unbelievable.”
Mark Wood took the series-clinching wicket when Nathan Lyon chopped the ball on to his own stumps. England’s players gathered in a huddle and jumped up and down.
England won with two days and more than two sessions to spare, for a third big win of the series. England has won five of the last seven Ashes series, and the last four at home. Clarke, whose last Test will be at The Oval starting August 20, said a rejuvenated England side “showed us how to execute good seam and swing bowling.”
“It’s not for want of trying,” Clarke said, “but the boys have been beaten by a better side.” Of his retirement, Clarke, who has scored just 117 runs in eight innings, said: “It’s the right time, there is so much talent in that changing room, the boys will be fine.”
Adam Voges and Mitchell Starc were jeered onto the pitch by giddy England supporters anticipating a quick finish to a memorable Ashes Test, which began with Australia getting skittled for 60 in 18.3 overs for the shortest first innings in Test history.
Australia resumed on 241-7 and it took 22 balls for Ben Stokes to get a nick off Starc (0), with Ian Bell taking the catch at second slip.
Josh Hazlewood (0) had his middle stump knocked out by Wood three overs later and Voges was left stranded on 51 when Lyon played on. Stokes finished with career-best figures of 6-36.