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21 Sep 2019 6:02
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Cricket

    Australia retains the Ashes after beating dogged England by 185 runs at Old Trafford

    Australia retains the Ashes on English soil after taking an unassailable 2-1 series lead at Old Trafford, winning the fourth Test by 185 runs on a tense fifth day.

    Australia has retained the Ashes on enemy soil after taking an unassailable 2-1 series lead at Old Trafford, beating England by 185 runs on the final day with one Test still to play.

    The tourists came into the final day needing to take eight wickets, and they eventually managed to do just that despite some firm England resistance, with under an hour left to play.

    Steve Smith, whose magnificent double century and second innings 82 were the key factors in this win and whose batting throughout the series has ensured the Ashes remain in Australian hands, was delighted.

    "It feels amazing to know the urn is coming home," he said.

    "I've been here a few times when things haven't gone our way.

    "This was always one to tick off my bucket list. It's extremely satisfying."

    Australian captain Tim Paine added: "I didn't think it would be this emotional.

    "The amount of work that's gone in to retain the Ashes has been enormous and I'm really proud of this group and how we bounced back from Headingley."

    Cummins makes life difficult for England

    England started the day on 2-23, with survival the primary goal rather than scoring an unlikely 383 runs for victory, but Australia's strike bowler Pat Cummins soon made their job even harder.

    Cummins had taken two wickets to close out day four, and took two more before lunch on the final day.

    His brilliant delivery to remove Jason Roy for 31 was the spitting image of the one that skittled Joe Root the day before, moving just enough to miss the bat before rattling into the top of off stump.

    As Joe Denly built a patient 53, Cummins removed dangerman Ben Stokes with a ball that tickled the bottom of his bat on its way through to Tim Paine behind the stumps.

    Stokes shook his head and walked after umpire Marais Erasmus appeared to be unmoved by the appeal.

    Denly was finally dismissed in the 40th over when he popped a ball up to bat pad Marnus Labuschagne after persistent pressure from Nathan Lyon.

    That left England with two remaining recognised batsmen in Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler, and those two put on 45 runs over 14 overs before Starc trapped Bairstow in front for 25.

    But England looked to be causing some butterflies in the Australian camp as Buttler and Craig Overton began to hang on in a partnership that ate up 21 overs.

    But soon after the tea break, Josh Hazlewood struck with a ball short of a length that jagged back off the pitch, nibbling the top of off stump as Buttler opted to leave.

    Jofra Archer didn't last much longer, trapped LBW by a low-hanging Lyon delivery.

    Jack Leach threatened to repeat his Headingley heroics with some staunch defending, but the gamble of bringing Labuschagne into the attack with 16 overs remaining in the day paid off, as he spun one out of the rough and had him caught by Matthew Wade close in.

    England captain 'bitterly disappointed'

    Hazlewood finished the job when he caught Overton LBW with just under an hour of play remaining — with a DRS review offering an unusual ending to an Ashes Test.

    When the graphic confirmed the win, the Australians began their celebrations in earnest.

    "I'm bitterly disappointed," England skipper Root told the BBC.

    "I thought the way we fought today, the character we showed, every single one of them can be proud of that today.

    "To come so close to taking it to The Oval is hard to take. We've still got to look forward and make sure we level the series."

    Even if England wins the final Test and levels the series at 2-2, Australia will retain the urn by virtue of having won the previous series.

    A win would make Paine's men the first Australian side to win an Ashes series in England since 2001.

    Look back at how the action unfolded in our live blog.

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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