PERTH, Australia // Michael Clarke’s Australians regained the Ashes just four months after the last series defeat in England by completing a third comprehensive Test victory on home soil.
Resuming at 251 for 5 on the last day of the third Test, England lost only one wicket in Tuesday’s morning session but Nathan Lyon’s dismissal of Ben Stokes for 120 soon after lunch triggered the tailend collapse and England was all out for 353, giving Australia a 150-run win.
Fittingly it was Mitchell Johnson, the man-of-the-match in the first two wins in Brisbane and Adelaide, who took the last wicket to secure an unbeatable lead in the five-match series.
“What an amazing performance,” Clarke said. “We got ‘em back, so it’s a fantastic feeling.”
Johnson finished with 4 for 78 and Lyon returned 3 for 70, the pair wrapping up the five wickets Australia needed on the last day.
Stokes shared partnerships of 99 with Ian Bell (60), 76 with Matt Prior (26) and 40 with Tim Bresnan to delay the inevitable in a series that has delivered lopsided results to the Australians.
He batted for more than four hours before he under edged an attempted sweep to Lyon and was well caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
England started the day defiantly, adding 27 runs in 13 overs to get to 278 for 5 before Ryan Harris took the new ball and hit a big crack on a good length first up.
The ball was hitting the cracks in the pitch and deviating at angles but Australia’s bowlers could not produce the cluster of wickets they were expecting in the morning session – with England losing only Prior, who was caught behind off Johnson.
The first-session defiance raised England’s hopes of hanging on for a draw to keep the Ashes alive, but England’s tailend batsmen – including a hobbled Stuart Broad – provided little resistance after Stokes went, having scored England’s first century of the series.
The remaining two Tests are in Melbourne starting December 26 and then Sydney.
The highest successful fourth innings run chase was 418 for 7 that the West Indies scored to beat Australia in Antigua in 2003. No 2 on the list is South Africa’s 414 for 4 against Australia at the WACA in 2008.