England have one hand on the Ashes after Graeme Swann bowled them to victory with a five-wicket haul in Adelaide, where neither rain nor the lower order could save Australia on the fifth morning. The significance of the win cannot be underestimated, as it gives England a 1-0 advantage heading in to the third Test in Perth, which starts in a week and a half.
The triumph came when Swann turned a ball through the gate to bowl Peter Siddle, completing his five-for and confirming the margin of an innings and 71 runs. It was a devastating morning for Australia, who began the day hopeful that they could survive for a draw with six wickets in hand, but it took England less than 90 minutes to skittle the remaining Australians.
Last time England took a series lead in Australia, it was 1986-87, and they did not give it away. And as the holders of the urn, Andrew Strauss and his men will retain the Ashes unless Australia can win at least two of the remaining three Tests, a monumental task given that they have now gone five Tests without tasting victory, stretching back to the series against Pakistan in England.
There will be changes for both teams at the WACA, with England forced to look to Chris Tremlett or Tim Bresnan, due to a series-ending abdominal injury to Stuart Broad. Australia will have to find a new opener as Simon Katich's Achilles tendon problem has ruled him out of the rest of the series, while Xavier Doherty and Marcus North will also face a nervous wait to see if they keep their places.
North could have saved his position by salvaging a draw for Australia on the final day, but he was one of the wickets to fall cheaply as England wrapped up the contest before lunch. The visitors knew a thunderstorm was expected later in the afternoon, and after they made the initial breakthrough by getting rid of the established Michael Hussey for 52, they tightened the noose on Australia's lower order.
Hussey and North resumed at 4 for 238 after the loss of Michael Clarke from the last ball of play on Monday, and it took only six overs for England to get a sniff of victory. Hussey was dropped by Matt Prior off the bowling of Swann but didn't survive a second chance when he top-edged a pull off Steven Finn and was comfortably taken at midwicket by James Anderson.
There was a roar from Anderson as soon as he had the ball safely in his hands, knowing that the in-form Hussey was the big breakthrough England required. Brad Haddin followed soon afterwards for 12 when he edged behind off Anderson, and England were in to Australia's long tail, with North carrying the home team's slim hopes at the other end.
Anderson quickly found himself on a hat-trick when Ryan Harris made unwanted history by completing a king pair, leaving a ball that swung back in and struck him in line with the stumps. Out of desperation more than belief, Harris asked for a review, but there was no way he was going to be saved, and neither were Australia.
There was no hat-trick for Anderson when he began his next over but he didn't really mind, as in the meantime Swann had removed North, the last of Australia's specialist batsmen, for 22. This time the review system did overturn a decision; Tony Hill gave North not out as he came forward with bat and pad close together, Swann wanted a referral, and the replays showed it was pad first, hitting the stumps, and a potentially career-busting blow for North.
Swann bowled outstandingly on the final day, and deserved his 5 for 91. In the absence of Broad for much of the innings, he sent down 41.1 overs, and collected the final two wickets when he sneaked the ball under the bat of Doherty for 5 and then finished off Siddle.
And it all happened under the most perfect, sunny skies. If Australia were hoping for storms, their prayers were not answered. In truth, they never recovered from the hurricane that struck on the first morning when they were 3 for 2. And now, England need only one more victory to retain the Ashes.