Australia 328 (Smith 141*, Marsh 51) and 0 for 173 (Warner 87*, Bancroft 82*) beat England 302 and 195 (Root 51, Bairstow 42) by 10 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
and Cameron Bancroft
resolved to offer England's toiling bowlers no crumbs of comfort in the closing moments of the first Test at the Gabba, as they eased Australia to a crushing ten-wicket win in just over an hour's play on the fifth and final morning.
After resuming on 114 for 0 overnight, Australia's openers resisted any temptation to gallop to the finishing line, with just 56 runs required and England's players doubtless distracted by overnight headlines concerning Jonny Bairstow's alleged altercation with Bancroft in Perth last month.
Both batsmen eased themselves back into the groove, seeing off another disciplined but unpenetrative burst from James Anderson and Stuart Broad before picking up their tempos against the second seamers, Chris Woakes and Jake Ball.
Ball did induce the day's solitary half-chance, an edge off Bancroft that flew wide of Alastair Cook, the solitary slip, but it was left to Bancroft to strike the winning runs off Woakes, in a three-boundary fusillade in the first over after the drinks break. Moeen Ali was not called upon to bowl after struggling with a finger injury earlier in the innings, with Joe Root sending down two overs of offspin before the end.
Despite Australia's justified jubilation, it was an anticlimatic end to what had been, for three and a half days, a gripping and hard-fought contest, and it was very similar, in fact, to the first Test of the 1990-91 series
, also at the Gabba, when England were again crushed by ten wickets despite having held the upper hand at times in a low-scoring contest.
Afterwards Root rued the moments in the match when Australia got away from England.
"We're very disappointed to lose the game," he said. "We came here fully confident that we could get a win, and for three days we were excellent. We probably missed a couple of chances with bat and ball in the first innings, where we should have maybe gone on and made that 400-plus score, being four-down with 250-plus on the board, you want to make that count."
Root singled out the efforts of Mark Stoneman and James Vince, whose first-innings half-centuries seemed to have set England up in the match.
"I thought Mark and Vincey in particular played outstandingly well in their first Ashes Test," he added. "To stand up like that showed great character, composure and skill. It's just about making sure they go on and make big hundreds when they get in next time.
"Similarly with the ball, we made them work extremely hard. I do think the wicket got better and better throughout, but [Steve] Smith played an unbelievable knock and if you take that out, we bowl them out for 150.
"We've got to make sure we bounce back straight away," said Root. "We've showed great resilience and character over the last year and we've got to do that again."
Smith, Australia's captain, was proud of both his team and his personal contribution to the victory, a brilliant unbeaten 141 that shored up Australia's first innings and secured a priceless lead.
"The first Test of an Ashes is always incredibly important, especially with our record here at the Gabba," he said. "So it's great to keep that intact. We played some really good cricket after losing the toss, and to get a ten-wicket win against a quality side is very satisfying.
"My hundred has got to be up there with one of my best, purely from the position we were in and that it's an Ashes series. I had to work really hard for it, dig deep and get ourselves out of that situation, so I'm really pleased with it."
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo @miller_cricket