Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia regained the Ashes after five long years
The five-year wait is finally over for Australia as they regained the Ashes in the most convincing fashion, thrashing arch-rivals England by 150 runs in the third Test in Perth.
Despite a magnificent maiden century by Ben Stokes, Australia’s bowling attack ripped through England’s batting line-up to give the baggy greens an unassailable 3-0 lead heading into the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Starting out the day on 251/5, Stokes and wicketkeeper Matt Prior were able to convert their 31-run partnership into a 76-run partnership before Prior was caught behind off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson for 26.
Stokes managed to bring up his maiden Test century and was frustrating the Australian bowlers until he was caught behind off the bowling of Nathan Lyon for 120.
Stokes’ fantastic innings of 120 came off 195 balls and included 18 boundaries and a six.
Graeme Swann was only able to score four runs before caught by Steven Smith at short leg to become Lyon’s second victim of the day.
Tim Bresnan was dismissed the very next over for 12 as he was brilliantly caught by Chris Rogers at mid-off off the bowling of Johnson.
Just two overs later, the Australian players and fans were going berserk as James Anderson hit a delivery from Johnson straight to George Bailey.
Johnson was the pick of the Australian bowlers with four wickets, while Lyon snapped up three and Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Shane Watson all chipped in with one wicket apiece.
England captain Alastair Cook was extremely disappointed to have lost the Ashes, but praised Stokes for his outstanding knock.
“It was a fantastic innings full of character from Ben Stokes,” Cook said. “With those cracks there it’s daunting but he played so well. You never know in sport but just as we got a partnership going we lost it, not for the first time in this series.
“It’s not for lack of effort but we’ve been out-skilled in all departments, that’s the honest truth. Everyone’s hurting now but all we can do is work as hard as we can and turn it around on Boxing Day.”
Australia skipper Michael Clarke was ecstatic to have regained the Ashes on home soil, and said: “10 out of 10, it doesn’t get much better. Team performance has been exceptional. We went through what England are feeling now in England but we’ve now got our earned reward.
“I didn’t say too much at lunch. We didn’t get much luck in the morning session but we held our chances well after lunch. No doubt Mitch deserves a lot of credit but it’s been a team performance over three matches. And there’s a lot of people behind the scenes that don’t get the credit they deserve so to those people that have stuck by us, thank you.”
Smith was named Man of the Match for his game-changing century in Australia’s first innings.