Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 5th day

Australia seal emotional victory to regain Urn

The Report by Daniel Brettig

December 17, 2013

Comments: 273 | Text size: A | A

Australia 385 (Smith 111, Warner 60, Haddin 55) and 6 for 369 dec (Warner 112, Watson, Rogers 54) beat England 251 (Cook 72) and 353 (Stokes 120, Bell 60, Johnson 4-78) by 150 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

As the Barmy Army sang mournfully of their desire to take the Urn home, Australia completed a pounding of England in Perth to regain the Ashes lost in 2009. Mitchell Johnson was a fitting taker of the last wicket, a short ball to James Anderson an equally fitting manner in which to take it. England have been bullied and battered from the second afternoon in Brisbane when Johnson blew the touring middle order away.

In all it has taken only 14 days for Australia to end four years of torment. Of the current team only Michael Clarke had experienced an Ashes victory before. The overwhelming margin of victory was the culmination of a campaign that began in England earlier this year, a series loss away from home used to gather intelligence on England and generate confidence within a team rejuvenated by the appointment of the new coach, Darren Lehmann.

There were tears among Australia's players at the WACA Ground after a morning on which they were made to wait by the admirable Ben Stokes, who sculpted a maiden century on a pitch that had become patchworked with deep and wide cracks. Johnson's dismissal of Matt Prior opened up one end, then Nathan Lyon defeated Stokes after lunch to begin the final drive to victory. Johnson's wickets gave him 23 for the series so far, a major marker of the gap between the teams.

Stokes and Matt Prior had begun with the target of getting through to the second new ball, something England's middle order had failed to do on the third morning. They managed this despite the odd ball deviating dramatically off the pitch's widening cracks, as Stokes crept closer to a century.

'Stability has helped Australia'

Australian nerves were evident in the fidgets of the fielders, while Ryan Harris' brow furrowed more deeply with every ball to beat the bat. Stokes was unperturbed by it all, mounting his tally steadily as Michael Clarke called for a fresh missile to hand to his bowlers. Prior flicked a pair of leg-side boundaries, the second of which drawing a huge divot in watered turf as Johnson dived. He got up with a muddy trouser leg but no sign of injury.

The stand was worth 76 and more than an hour had been negotiated when Johnson homed in on Prior. A few balls had reared up at the wicketkeeper's ribs, and eventually he lost composure, swishing at a ball angling across him and edging through to Brad Haddin. Australian celebrations indicated as much relief as joy.

But Stokes was far from finished. A pair of pull shots for two from Johnson took him to the cusp of a century, then a glove down the leg side scuttled to the fine-leg boundary for his hundred. England's first of the series was also only the third by an Englishman in Perth since 1987 - Graham Thorpe and Alastair Cook the other two. Stokes raised his bat proudly, then rounded off the session by twice clattering Lyon down the ground.


Ben Stokes pumps a fist after reaching his hundred, Australia v England, Test, Perth, 5th day, December 17, 2013
Ben Stokes progressed to his maiden Test hundred but couldn't deny Australia © Getty Images
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Following a nervous lunch, Australia resumed their quest for the final wickets. Clarke persisted with Lyon, and had rich reward when Stokes attempted to sweep. A thin bottom edge was the result and Haddin did wonderfully to stay low with the ball and claim the catch. Instantly any tension among the hosts was relieved.

In Lyon's next over Graeme Swann completed a forgettable match by squeezing a catch to short leg. The edge was so apparent and the ball's parabola so gentle that Billy Bowden appeared to raise his finger before the ball settled into Steven Smith's hands. The end was coming quickly now, and a well disguised Johnson slower ball resulted in a checked Tim Bresnan drive and a brilliant catch at mid-off by Chris Rogers.

Stuart Broad batted bravely despite his badly bruised foot but it was merely a token gesture. Anderson soon fended Johnson to short leg and Australia rejoiced.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (December 19, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

Here we go .......India lost with England in India, Australia lost to India in India, now England lost to Aussys in Australia ........

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge-Needs-A-Hug on (December 18, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

People are saying that the difference between the sides is Johnson? Ok he has been great with bat an ball but we have 7 tons to 1, have taken screamers in the field, all our bowlers have taken wickets at critical times, we always had a partnership when we needed one, Clarke has captained well, we have had great plans for their batsman, we sledge well, our run rates are excellent and Haddin has been superb behind the stumps. I'd say there's a lot more differences between the sides than Johnson.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2013, 6:59 GMT)

@Beertjie Paine is really unfortunate as he got injure at very wrong time of his carrier, i have saw him batting in tests in India during 2010 season, by that i can see that guy really have something in him to be a test player (wk) and Wade should not be consider over him. The problem of Hughes is that he was Flopped in India, but it was alien land for him and it was his first tour, he would have definitely gained some experience from that tour that he will do better in future subcontinents tour. So Hughes should start opening from next season will be the best idea once rogers is retired. @ no 3 position keep Watson till 2015-16 season and than put Maddinson over there.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (December 18, 2013, 4:54 GMT)

Fantastic team effort from our boys. They should all be very proud, as I am. Also, massive congratulations to Darren Lehmann and to Craig McDermott, our bowling coach. They have done a wonderful job! Let's go on and make a clean sweep and bury the memories of the last three Ashes series. And yes, those English fans who were predicting that they'd hammer us again - funny, they all seem to have disappeared!!! I do want to pay tribute to Alastair Cook, a dignified and capable captain, and to young Ben Stokes with his century in his second Test.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (December 18, 2013, 4:53 GMT)

Fantastic team effort from our boys. They should all be very proud, as I am. Also, massive congratulations to Darren Lehmann and to Craig McDermott, our bowling coach. They have done a wonderful job! Let's go on and make a clean sweep and bury the memories of the last three Ashes series. And yes, those English fans who were predicting that they'd hammer us again - funny, they all seem to have disappeared!!! I do want to pay tribute to Alastair Cook, a dignified and capable captain, and to young Ben Stokes with his century in his second Test.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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