Australia retain Ashes after being England at Old Trafford

Australia have retained the Ashes after beating England by 185 runs at Old Trafford to end the hosts’ hopes of a historic summer double.


Tim Paine’s side moved 2-1 up with one match to play after bowling England out for 197 on the final day of the fourth Test – but were held up by Craig Overton (21) and Jack Leach (12), who delayed Australia for an hour before they claimed the ninth wicket.

Pat Cummins bagged 4-43, including Headingley hero Ben Stokes for just one, to take his tally of wickets in the series to 24, while Josh Hazlewood snared the final wicket of Overton.

Australia will now become the first touring team to leave England with the Ashes since Steve Waugh’s 2001 side, having lost away series in 2005 and 2009 under Ricky Ponting and in 2013 and 2015 under Michael Clarke while trying to either retain or regain the urn.

England’s dream of adding a second trophy to their World Cup win in July were slim but alive as they resumed on 18-2 – Joe Root’s men needing to bat out day five for a draw to leave the series at 1-1 heading to The Oval.

But they have not managed that feat since a Matt Prior-inspired rearguard against New Zealand in Auckland in 2013, after being toppled in 91.3 overs by Australia – Joe Denly top-scoring with 53.

Jos Buttler (44) helped England to 166-6 at tea, only to then be bowled leaving a superb delivery from Hazlewood (2-31), and while Overton and Leach threatened a great escape, Australia would not be denied.

The fifth Test, which starts on Thursday, will now be about trying to earn a series draw and World Test Championship points but a win will still feel hollow, with the Ashes sticking in Australia’s grasp until at least 2021-2022.

Cummins deflated the host before lunch when he castled Jason Roy (31) – a wicket that ended a third-wicket stand of 66 with Denly – and then picked up the key scalp of Stokes, who walked after snicking behind.

Denly and Roy had repelled the Australia attack for the best part of 80 minutes on Sunday morning, taking England to 66-2, before Cummins’ quick-fire double strike.

Denly pressed on to his third Test fifty and first from the opening spot, having switched roles with Roy ahead of the match – the 33-year-old reaching the milestone from 112 deliveries with a sumptuous drive for four through mid-off off Cummins.

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The Kent man’s determined innings ended when he gloved a Nathan Lyon ball with extra bounce to short leg 25 minutes after lunch as the score tumbled to 93-5, yet Buttler kept England afloat, adding 45 with Jonny Bairstow (25) and 34 with Craig Overton (21).

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