Australia vs England
So that's that. Australia have regained the Ashes with three straight Test wins inside 14 days. Ben Stokes did his best to delay what seemed the inevitable today, his maiden Test century offering a moment of success for England in what has been, so far, a dismal series. However, now the tourists have to pick themselves up for the remaining two matches, starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day. Please join us again on Christmas night from 10.30pm for coverage of the fourth Test.
Cook continued: "We've got some good men around us, and we're going to need them in the next week or so. The strategy doesn't change - you approach every game the same. Of course the Ashes are gone, and trust me that hurts like hell."
Michael Clarke: "Our goal is to get back to being the number one side in the world. No doubt we will celebrate hard tonight and enjoy it, we deserve that, but we have two more Test matches and we'd love to win 5-0."
Alastair Cook: "Everyone is hurting now. That happens in sport - there is a winner and a loser and at the moment we are the losing dressing room. All we can do now is work as hard as we can on our games, then come out on Boxing Day and put in a better performance."
Mitchell Johnson: "It was pretty hard running into bowl then. The emotions were really flying. I was just trying to keep them in check. It's an unbelievable feeling. I came back from injury and had a lot of doubters there. I've had the opportunity again and taken it with both hands. It was a bit nervous for a while there but we came out after lunch and gave it everything. To finally win the Ashes for the first time is very special."
A rather choked up Ryan Harris: "It's unbelievable. They're coming home...they're home. We worked very hard for these, we played well in England and didn't get them. We've got a great bunch of guys together and we wanted this so badly. It's an amazing feeling."
14 days. That's all it took Australia to get revenge for that 3-0 series defeat on English soil during the summer. Of this squad, only Michael Clarke has tasted Ashes success before. It's an emotional moment for a few of them, not least Johnson. Shane Watson looks a little tearful, too.
WICKET! Anderson c Bailey b Johnson 2
There it is! Australia have regained the Ashes! Fittingly it's that man Johnson who takes the last wicket required, getting Anderson to pop a catch up to Bailey at short leg.
Over 103 - England 352/9 (Broad 1, Anderson 1)
Anderson tries his best to give his wicket away, scooping a drive in the air towards cover and then edging just wide of Clarke at slip. Broad takes a single off the last this time, meaning Mitchell the Moustache will have him in his sights again. Surely the yorker to start with?
Over 102 - England 350/9 (Broad 0, Anderson 1)
Broad and Anderson - I'm not sure which one Australia would rather knock over to clinch the Ashes. Jimmy does well to survive two balls, knocking the second he faces away for a single backward of square. That leaves Broad one to face, and it's duly a short one. He avoids it - albeit only just - and now it's over to Lyon to see if he can complete the job.
WICKET! Bresnan c Rogers b Johnson 12
Tremendous catch by Rogers! Stokes isn't the only red head making an impression today. A slower ball from Johnson catches out Bresnan, who stops his drive and rather blocks it up in the air. Rogers does superbly well to make ground to his right and take a diving effort. Just the one left standing...
Over 101 - England 347/8 (Bresnan 10, Broad 0
Broad now in at no 10. Someone on stump mic calls him a "pea heart". Not sure if that wasn't done in a Yorkshire accent. Clarke pushes the field back for the final ball of the Lyon over, but Broad just blocks it. It's going to be Bresnan on strike to Johnson.
WICKET! Swann c Smith b Lyon 4
Tame end for Swann, and he's fuming about it. Spinner v spinner and Lyon wins, getting one to turn, take the inside edge and loop up to Steve Smith at short leg. Simple catch, simple dismissal. Australia now two wickets away from winning the Ashes.
Over 100 - England 347/7 (Bresnan 10, Swann 4)
Another example of this crater-like pitch playing tricks; Johnson bangs in a ball fairly short, then sees it deviate off the surface and over the head of wicketkeeper Haddin. Bresnan gets two off the bat, steering past gully off the back foot.
Over 99 - England 341/7 (Bresnan 8, Swann 4)
It's Swann, not Broad at number nine. He gets off the mark with a slog-sweep of his own, lamping Lyon through mid-wicket for four. The following delivery from around the wicket hits a crack and ends up going straight to leg slip. Everyone looks a little puzzled, then umpire Bowden signals a wide. To be fair, he always looks a little puzzled. Australia celebrated that wicket of Stokes like they'd just won the Ashes. In fact, they'll probably have to wait about 15 minutes to do that.
WICKET! Stokes c Haddin b Lyon 120
Having nearly edged the previous delivery from Lyon, Stokes definitely gets some bat on an attempt to slog-sweep the off-spinner. Haddin takes the chance behind the stumps and England's centurion is gone. The door was ajar - it's now wide open.
Over 98 - England 336/6 (Stokes 120, Bresnan 8)
Johnson now, Australia have posted a leg gully and also have fine leg very fine. No prizes for guessing what's coming to Bresnan, and the first ball is duly dug in short. BresiLad manages to get enough of a glove on it to get it down to that fine leg man for a single. There's a run for Stokes too, a pull shot being hit out towards square leg and forcing umpire Billy Bowden to take evasive action. Crowd loved that, with Billy rolling around on the deck. He didn't see the funny side. Perhaps it made him forget how many deliveries there'd been in the over.
Over 97 - England 334/6 (Stokes 119, Bresnan 7)
Lyon continues after lunch. There's flight, and there's turn. Stokes rocks back to cut away for a couple. Meanwhile, the lunch break saw the groundstaff come out and fill in the crack around the crease, as it was causing issues for batsmen in their stance. Could make a joke here about the relief that Ian Ward is no longer an England cricketer, as they'd have definitely lost him this morning.
England now 13/2 with Sky Bet to pull off a ridiculous victory in this Test. Australia remain long odds-on at 1/7. The draw is 28/1. Bresnan is 13/2 to score a 50, while Stokes is 7/4 to reach 150.
England win a session. Just the one wicket for Australia, and Stokes going through to a quite brilliant maiden Test century. England have found one among the wreckage of this dire series. Australia still almost certain to win this, but they've been made to work for it, which was not the case on day three and yesterday morning.
Over 96 - England 332/6 (Stokes 117, Bresnan 7)
Siddle gets one to go like an off-break off one of the WACA cracks, and the ball jags from an off-stump line past Bresnan's backside and away for four byes. Haddin no price.
Over 95 - England 328/6 (Stokes 117, Bresnan 7)
Three maidens in a row as England play for the lunch break, which is now an over away.
Over 94 - England 328/6 (Stokes 117, Bresnan 7)
Maiden over from Siddle, Jags one past Bresnan's outside edge, and the Yorkshire all-rounder is annoyed with himself for playing at that one. Leaves the next one.
Over 93 - England 328/6 (Stokes 117, Bresnan 7)
Close!Stokes props forward to Lyon and gets a thick inside edge that loops off the pad but out of Steve Smith's reach at short-leg.
Over 92 - England 328/6 (Stokes 117, Bresnan 7)
Bresnan slaps a cut shot past point for four more as Siddle drops short. England clinging on by their fingernails here, but clinging on they are.
Over 91 - England 324/6 (Stokes 117, Bresnan 3)
Nathan Lyon into the attack, and Stokes goes after him. Skips down the ground twice in the over to hit him down the ground. Nails the first one and gets six, gets a thick inside edge on the second and still almost gets six. England need 180 to win.
Over 90 - England 312/6 (Stokes 106, Bresnan 2)
Siddle back into the attack with a good maiden over, but Stokes will keep the strike after a leg-bye from the final ball.
Over 89 - England 311/6 (Stokes 106, Bresnan 2)
Bresnan off the mark with a thick edge along the ground that brings two. Bresnan's other job here, as well as scoring runs and not getting out, is making sure Stokes keeps his head on. Refocus, job to do. Well batted, though.
Over 88 - England 309/6 (Stokes 106, Bresnan 0)
A pair of pull shots - the first more convincing than the second - bring Stokes a pair of twos to take him to 98 and England past 300. The next ball is full and Stokes drives it sweetly straight back, and Johnson gets his hand on the ball and deflects it into Marais Erasmus. But Stokes will not be denied, and he hooks the last ball of the over down to the fine-leg boundary. After celebrating England's first century of the series, Stokes then chases the final ball of the over and edges it in the air but in the gap between slips and gully for four more. Brilliant innings, but the job's bot done yet, Ben...
Over 87 - England 297/6 (Stokes 94, Bresnan 0)
Stokes just one biff away from a century now as he helps a short ball from Harris down to fine-leg for a single.
Over 86 - England 296/6 (Stokes 93, Bresnan 0)
Wicket-maiden for Johnson to break through England's stubborn resistance. Tim Bresnan plays out the rest of the over, mainly by taking evasive action as the ball hurtles past his face and head.
WICKET! Prior c Haddin b Johnson 26
It's taken an hour and 20 minutes, but Australia do have that breakthrough now as Prior chases a wide ball that's not full enough to drive and can only nick it through to Haddin.
Over 85 - England 296/5 (Stokes 93, Prior 26)
Stokes solidly plays out a maiden over from Harris. Still no breakthrough for Australia this morning. England need another 208. Just think of it.
Over 84 - England 296/5 (Stokes 93, Prior 26)
Johnson showing no ill effects from that nasty tumble in the last over. Still steaming in and sends a bouncer down the legside and over Haddin's head for four byes.
Over 83 - England 292/5 (Stokes 93, Prior 26)
Back-to-back boundaries for Prior, first an outside edge as he defends on the back foot that runs along the ground between slips and gully followed by a clip off the toes that looks set to be cut off by Johnson running round from long-leg but his knee gets stuck in the turf as he slides to make the stop. Nasty. Really nasty. Could've been Simon Jones nasty, but Johnson is back on his feet and the only damage done appears to be the giant divot on the WACA outfield. Prior gets a single to keep the strike via a miscued pull.
Over 82 - England 283/5 (Stokes 93, Prior 17)
Well, England have made it through the first hour unscathed. There's been the odd near miss, but these two have truly dug in to keep Australia's seamers at bay. Stokes gets two more to move to 93 as we take DRINKS at the WACA.
Over 81 - England 280/5 (Stokes 91, Prior 16)
Harris starts with the second new cherry just as he did with the first - sending down a delivery that looks to shape in, then hits the pitch and moves away late. The only difference this time is it moves too much, meaning Stokes survives whereas Cook didn't. Stokes then nearly runs himself out off the next ball, setting off for a run despite not having clue where an inside edge onto his pad has ended up. It's at gully, Ben. You best turn around and dive to make your ground. The final ball of an excellent Harris over beats Stokes outside off. Immediately you see the difference that harder ball makes to things.
Over 80 - England 278/5 (Stokes 90, Prior 16)
Prior whips Siddle away for a couple to fine leg, then nearly gets cut in half by one that jags back quite sharply off this worn surface. That's 80 overs done in this England second innings - Clarke immediately takes the second new ball and also summons Ryan Harris back into the attack.
Over 79 - England 276/5 (Stokes 90, Prior 14)
Stokes has played some glorious shots, as previously mentioned, but there's nothing wrong either with a thick edge that runs away past gully, either. His 15th boundary takes him into the 90s, and now also means he's recorded the highest score by an England batsman in this series so far.
Over 78 - England 272/5 (Stokes 86, Prior 14)
Stokes brings up the half-century partnership for the sixth wicket in glorious fashion, standing tall and driving Siddle straight down the ground for four. He has hit some quite beautiful strokes in this innings, but none more so than that. Prior does well to drop his hands on a delivery that lifts off a length, though there's no short leg in place now anyway. Two more overs and then Australia can take that new cherry.
Over 77 - England 267/5 (Stokes 81, Prior 14)
Prior plays nicely off the back foot, steering a short ball from Watson past the diving Lyon at backward point to open his boundary account not just for today but also in this innings. Not often Prior bats 45 deliveries before reaching the rope.
Over 76 - England 263/5 (Stokes 81, Prior 10)
Siddle now locates one of the corners of the cracked plates on the pitch, resulting in one keeping ridiculously low to Stokes. The left-hander is fortunate it wasn't straight, instead clipping his pad and going down leg. Time for another change in the Australia attack - Watson's on for Harris as the new ball fast approaches.
Over 75 - England 263/5 (Stokes 81, Prior 10)
Stokes pushing a single into the covers, then props on his bat as Prior sees out the rest of the Harris over. Just seen the one ball really misbehave so far on day five, and that moved so much Stokes missed it by half-a-yard. England need another 241. Just saying.
Over 74 - England 262/5 (Stokes 80, Prior 10)
Siddle on in place of Johnson. And so begins the conversation about him eating a million bananas a week. His opening over of the day finishes with a play-and-a-miss by Prior outside off stick.
Over 73 - England 262/5 (Stokes 80, Prior 10)
Harris finds the crack with the first ball of the over, resulting in an 88mph, sharp-spinning off-break. To say Stokes missed it by a long way is an understatement - bowler and batsman just look at each other and smile. Stokes looks a little rattled at anything pitching in that region afterwards, but his eyes light up when he gets one on his pads to work through mid-wicket for the first boundary of day five.
Over 72 - England 258/5 (Stokes 76, Prior 10)
Prior decides to take on the short ball from Johnson, only to get himself into a bit of a pickle about halfway through the pull shot. In the end he does well to slow his bat down, allowing him to just deflect it out towards the fielder at backward square leg. Another bouncer ends the over, this time the right-hander ducking underneath.
Over 71 - England 256/5 (Stokes 75, Prior 9)
Stokes strikes the ball straight into this well-worn pitch, lobbing it over the head of the bowler for a couple of runs. He's beaten by the last from Harris when defending towards cover. Stop that Stokesy, no need.
Over 70 - England 254/5 (Stokes 73, Prior 9)
Stokes off the mark on day five, just about dropping his bat down in time to squeeze out a Johnson yorker backward of square leg. England happy to win this in ones and twos...just another 250 needed now.
Over 69 - England 253/5 (Stokes 72, Prior 9)
Prior gets the first runs of the morning, blocking an inswinger from Harris out into a sizeable space at mid-wicket for a couple. Movement in the air for Rhino with this old ball - the Australian seamers looked a little weary last evening and will be grateful for a bit of rest. "Get round!" shouts Michael Clarke at his players. Another scorching hot day at the WACA.
Over 68 - England 251/5 (Stokes 72, Prior 7)
"The fat lady has got the microphone and she's warbling," says Bumble. "But she's not singing yet." That about sums it up, even if it is harsh on the slightly obese female who likes to warble. Johnson begins proceedings, short spell for him in case he's needed to take that second new ball later in this session. Stokes looks confident leaving and defending, then gets beaten by a beauty fifth up that cuts back off the deck. In the end, it's a maiden.
Stuart Broad will bat today "if required". I suspect we'll see Tim Bresnan certainly and Graeme Swann probably bat ahead of him. If they've not managed to knock off the 253 required, in comes a hobbling Broady to hit the winning runs in storybook fashion. If, as seems more likely, the first three wickets fall quite quickly, then we may not see him at all. Depends on your definition of "required".
Cracks. So many cracks. They've widened again. There were mobile phones being dropped down them yesterday. There are 1980s mobile phones going down them today. New ball will be key but, while we've seen balls misbehave off the cracks, we've not seen one of them get a batsman out yet.
Today's the day when, barring something vanishingly improbable, Australia will have possession of the Ashes for the first time since 2009. Hard to say they don't deserve it. If anything, they've gone up another level again here in Perth with something close to the perfect performance. They've a new ball 13 overs away should they need it to help them on their way today, while for England the only realistic target is a first Test century of Ben Stokes' career and of the tourists' campaign. Which says much.
- 13th - 17th Dec 2013
- Australia won the toss and elected to bat.
- WACA Ground
- B F Bowden, M Erasmus
- TV Umpire
- A L Hill
- Match Referee
- J J Crowe
- Reserve Umpire
- M D Martell
england BATTING CARD
|A.N. Cook||b Harris||0|
|M.A. Carberry||lbw Watson||31|
|J.E. Root||c Haddin b Johnson||19|
|K.P. Pietersen||c Harris b Lyon||45|
|I.R. Bell||c Haddin b Siddle||60|
|B.A. Stokes||c Haddin b Lyon||120|
|M.J. Prior||c Haddin b Johnson||26|
|T.T. Bresnan||c Rogers b Johnson||12|
|G.P. Swann||c Smith b Lyon||4|
|S.C.J. Broad||Not out||2|
|J.M. Anderson||c Bailey b Johnson||2|
|Extras||6w, 13b, 13lb||32|
|Total||All Out, 103.2 Overs||353|