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Ashes: Australia thrash feeble England to retain Ashes at Melbourne

Third Ashes Test, Melbourne (day three of five)
England 185 Root 50; Cummins 3-36, Lyon 3-36 & 68 Boland 6-7, Starc 3-29
Australia 267 Harris 76, Warner 38; Anderson 4-33
Australia win by an innings and 14 runs; lead series 3-0
Scorecard

England surrendered the Ashes on the morning of the third day of the third Test as Australia crushed them by an innings and 14 runs to take an unassailable 3-0 series lead.

Resuming on 31-4, England were meekly dismissed for just 68 inside 81 minutes, with debutant Scott Boland taking an astonishing 6-7.

Their final five wickets fell in the space of 29 balls as England offered the weakest of resistance in front of a jubilant home crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

England’s 68 all out is their lowest total in Australia since March 1904 and their ninth lowest score against them in Tests.

The result means Australia have retained the Ashes after just 12 days of cricket and will be eyeing a 5-0 series win.

The fourth Test will begin in Sydney on 4 January.

Same old for England

Even by the low standards England have shown on this tour, this was an abysmal performance.

After being blown away on the evening of the second day, England were always facing a tough task even to make Australia bat again. But no-one could have seen this capitulation coming.

The match was done before the lunch break, England’s batters undone the night before by Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins’ pace before succumbing to the 32-year-old Boland’s relentless accuracy.

England arrived in Australia short of match practice but that is no excuse. They, simply, have not been good enough with the bat.

Root, as he has done all year, has carried England. During the second innings at Melbourne, he went past 1,700 Test runs for the calendar year. England’s next best, Rory Burns, has managed 530 in the same period. Relying on one man, who is also captain, was never going to be enough.

England made four changes for Melbourne and still put in their worst batting performance of the series. Their bowling on the second day was the one bright point, with the indefatigable James Anderson and Mark Wood’s pace unsettling Australia.

However, the same problems that have plagued England with the bat remain. And there seems to be no solution.

Boland rips through England

As bad as England’s batting has been, Australia’s bowling has been superb, with every change they make working in their favour.

It was Boland, brought into the squad as a replacement for the injured Josh Hazlewood, who took them apart at the MCG, albeit he was helped by England’s rhythmless batting.

Root and Ben Stokes hit a smattering of boundaries as the first 15 minutes passed without incident, before a wicked Starc delivery jagged back to bowl Stokes for 11.

When Jonny Bairstow was trapped lbw by Boland, England were 60-6, still trailing by 22 runs and it was then that an innings defeat became more of a reality.

Root, the exhaustion of a long year clear, played a loose shot to send a catch to David Warner at first slip and depart for 28 – which would prove to be England’s highest score of the innings.

The rest felt inevitable. Mark Wood chipped a fuller ball back to bowler Boland, Ollie Robinson edged the same player to third slip before Cameron Green bowled James Anderson to ensure Australia kept their grip on the Ashes urn.

As Australia set off on a socially-distanced lap of honour, England’s players retreated to the sidelines, aware that it will take a mammoth effort to avoid an Australia clean sweep.

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