Melbourne: Australia retained the Ashes with a series-sealing innings and 14-run win over England in the third Test in Melbourne on Tuesday, with paceman Scott Boland finishing with a six-wicket innings haul in a stunning debut.
The 32-year-old Victorian strolled off the Melbourne Cricket Ground with a stump and astonishing figures of 6/7 as England’s batsmen capitulated for 68 before lunch on day three.
“I thought we had a pretty good chance of winning but I had no idea we would do it before lunch,” said Boland.
“That’s my best ever figures … Nothing happened that quickly.”
England had resumed on 31/4, their faint hopes pinned on captain Joe Root and Ben Stokes building a partnership after another calamitous batting collapse late on day two.
But it all went up in smoke as paceman Mitchell Starc bowled Stokes for 11 before Boland started an incredible spell of fast bowling.
He had Jonny Bairstow lbw for five, Root out for 28 and tailenders Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson each out for ducks.
All-rounder Cameron Green capped England’s humiliation by having James Anderson bowled for two before the stroke of midday.
Australia sealed the series 3-0 ahead of the remaining two Tests in Sydney and Hobart.
England have only pride to play for but appear to have little left in reserve, with their top order a massive problem.
Their batsmen were skittled for 185 in the first innings and have yet to reach a total of 300 in the series.
“Credit to Australia, they blew us away last night and they’ve outplayed us in this test match and in this series so far,” Root said.
“We’ve got a lot of hard work to do to make sure we come back strong in the last two games.”