Australia has successfully reclaimed the Ashes from England, taking the final six wickets required to wrap victory at the WACA by an innings and 41 runs.
The win takes the Aussies to an unbeatable position at 3-0 up in the series, and sees them win back the urn at the first time of asking since losing it in England in 2015.
Pat Cummins was the man to take the final wicket, finding the edge of a defiant Chris Woakes’ bat to launch the celebrations just minutes before the scheduled tea break.
Josh Hazlewood was the star of the second innings, taking five wickets to do the bulk of the damage with the ball, but Australia’s famed bowling foursome all played their part in wrapping up the victory.
A farcical morning eventually turned into a sunny afternoon of cricket, offering Australia’s bowlers the opportunity to clean up England on a cracked and contentious pitch.
For a brief while on Monday morning, it looked as if England’s prayers may be answered as persistent showers — and some faulty covers — created some nasty wet patches on the deck.
Representatives of both teams fought over the dangers the damaged pitch provided, while the umpires deliberated at length and the ground staff pulled out the leaf blowers in a desperate attempt to dry the pitch.
After hours of toing and froing, a game of cricket broke out after lunch and Australia wasted no time resuming its march towards victory.
Hazlewood required one ball to remove the dangerous Jonny Bairstow, making use of the pitch’s blatant inconsistencies to send the batsman’s off stump back.
Moeen Ali very nearly followed immediately after, edging to Steve Smith at second slip who juggled and then claimed the catch — a number of replays were used to spare Ali, with the decision the ball bounced marginally before Smith’s fingers probably the correct one.
He and Dawid Malan (54) dug in for the rest of the day’s first hour of play, before Nathan Lyon again proved Ali’s downfall. The all-rounder was beaten by two consecutive Lyon straight deliveries, initially saved by a slight inside edge but then sent packing LBW one ball later.
Malan still loomed as an obstacle for Australia, and furthered his standing as one of the few highlights of England’s tour so far.
But luck was not on his side. Having survived countless good deliveries, probing away at the cracks and dead spots on the pitch, Malan fell to the slightest glove to a loose delivery down the leg side.
Craig Overton was brave to even come to the crease, with scans yesterday showing his cracked rib is getting worse, but his 21-minute cameo was ended by Hazlewood’s fifth wicket — a ball that squared the batsman up and was caught in the gully.
The batting pain of Stuart Broad continued unabated, lasting only two balls before gloving Cummins through to wicketkeeper Tim Paine, before Woakes became the last man out having tried desperately to farm the strike.
Australia’s motivation for the remaining two Tests is to turn this into another 5-0 whitewash, while the broken English are playing for nothing more than pride.