At 4pm on the third day of the Third npower Test match Australia duly reached their 158 run victory target to clinch the series and retain the Ashes.

Having bowled England out for just 162 during the morning session the tourists overcame the loss of the top three batsmen in their order and then saw their captain, Steve Waugh, retire hurt with a calf injury before racing to a convincing seven wicket win.

England began the day on 144-6 but lost Ian Ward in Jason Gillespie's first over. Robert Croft and Andy Caddick also fell to Gillespie, giving the pace bowler his 100th wicket in Tests and Shane Warne collected his sixth wicket of the innings when Alex Tudor's leading edge found Ricky Ponting at point.

Defending such a meagre total England needed to make quick inroads into the Australia top order. They felt that they should have had Matthew Hayden out lbw in the first over, but umpire Venkataraghavan turned down Darren Gough's vociferous appeal.

The breakthrough came when Michael Slater, who'd only made 12, edged Andy Caddick to Marcus Trescothick at third slip. The same combination almost accounted for Hayden but the fielder couldn't hold the sharp chance high to his left.

Frequent interruptions for rain disrupted the day but straight after lunch England gave themselves a glimmer of a chance as Croft dismissed Ricky Ponting in his only over of the innings. Ponting had crashed the first ball after lunch through extra cover for four but then tickled a thin edge to 'keeper Stewart.

Hayden moved swiftly to 42 but then seemed to get a raw deal from umpire Venkataraghavan, who gave him out to a Tudor delivery that appeared to pitch outside leg and also looked like going over the top.

A further blow for Australia came when their skipper pulled up sharply going for his first run. Steve Waugh had turned Tudor to leg but then had to be stretchered from the ground in obvious discomfort.

Mark Waugh and Damien Martyn denied England any further successes with a high-quality partnership which brought the scores level. England's misery was compounded when the Ashes were lost on an Andy Caddick no-ball.