Perth - Australia won back the Ashes after bowling England out cheaply despite rain delays and a pitch controversy to secure an innings win on the final day of the third Test in Perth on Monday.
AS IT HAPPENED: Australia v England, 3rd Test - Day 5
Having confirmed his status as the world's best batsman with a
match-winning double century, Steve Smith added victorious Ashes captain
to his ever-expanding resume as England were dismissed for 218 in their
second innings in the last Ashes Test to take place at the WACA Ground.
That gave the home side an innings-and-41-run win and an unbeatable
3-0 lead in the five-match series, having won the opening two Tests in
Brisbane and Adelaide.
Pat Cummins secured the famous urn for the home side when he had
Chris Woakes caught behind for 22, prompting Australian celebrations.
But while it was a comfortable win, there was high drama on the final day courtesy of yet another WACA pitch controversy.
Victory seemed assured for Australia when they had England 132 for
four at the conclusion of the fourth day, still 127 runs behind with
Australia yet to bat again, but a rain-damaged pitch threatened to end
the match without a ball being bowled on the final day.
Showers had caused play to be abandoned early on the fourth day and
they continued through to Monday morning, forcing a scheduled early
resumption to be cancelled, with Australia needing just six more wickets
to win the match and regain the Ashes.
Complicating matters further was a damp spot on the pitch, just outside the popping crease at the southern end of the ground.
WACA staff worked furiously with leaf blowers to try to dry the patch
out as more showers passed through and the covers came on and off at
regular intervals throughout the morning.
How the water got onto the wicket was unclear, although there was
speculation it might have been linked to strong winds lifting the
But umpires Chris Gaffaney and Marais Erasmus would not allow play to
resume until they believed the pitch had been returned to the same
condition as at the end of day four.
Play did not get under way until after lunch, and even then to the
chagrin of an English camp who felt the conditions were dangerous.
England's batsmen also had to contend with balls jagging violently
off cracks on the pitch in a contentious end to 47 years of Ashes
cricket at the WACA Ground.
Wickets tumbled quickly for England upon the delayed resumption, with
overnight batsman and first-innings centurion Jonny Bairstow bowled for
14 by the first delivery he faced for the day from Josh Hazlewood,
which kept low.
Hazlewood removed England's last hope Dawid Malan - who backed up
his first innings century with a fighting 54 before being caught behind
- to finish with figures of 5-48.
Malan's first day heroics, when England appeared to be in a dominant
position at 368/4 from which an innings defeat would be almost
impossible, seemed a distant memory as he trudged from the field.