The Ashes: Australia seal victory in first Test after England collapse again in Brisbane

Australia completed a comprehensive nine-wicket win in the opening Ashes Test after another England batting collapse on day four at The Gabba.

Having started the day on 220-2, cautiously optimistic with Joe Root and Dawid Malan at the crease within sight of hundreds, England proceeded to lose their last eight wickets for 77 runs in the morning session to leave Australia needing just 20 to win.

After finding himself stuck on 399 Test wickets for the majority of the year, Nathan Lyon finally got No 400 to remove Malan (82) and break the 162-run stand for the tourists’ third wicket.

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Cameron Green had Root (89) caught behind soon after as the England skipper’s wait for a century in Australia goes on and with the middle and lower order unable to stop the slide, the visitors were bowled out for 297 before lunch.

Ollie Robinson claimed the consolation wicket of Alex Carey (9) but Australia needed just 5.1 overs to knock off the runs to take a 1-0 series lead and inflict a seventh defeat in nine visits to Brisbane on England.

While Australia remained firm favourites, the efforts of Root and Malan on day three had opened up the possibility of a thrilling finish to the match. However, that relied on England batting for the best part of another day and it quickly became evident that that would be far easier said than done.

England had added just three to their overnight total when, in the fourth over of the morning, Lyon ended his 11-month wait for his landmark wicket as Malan advanced down the pitch, edged the ball into his pad and was caught by Marnus Labuschagne at silly point.

That increased the pressure on Root and before the opening half hour was out, so was the England captain. Green so nearly dismissed Root late last evening and this time he got his man as the world No 1 batter flirted at a delivery in the channel and feathered behind.

Ollie Pope (4) gave Steve Smith catching practice off Lyon in the next over and from thoughts of setting Australia a tricky total to chase, the away side suddenly faced a battle to even make them bat again.

Ben Stokes (14) and Jos Buttler (23) briefly stopped the rot to take their side to within 12 of parity before falling to Pat Cummins (2-51) and Josh Hazlewood (1-32), respectively, as England’s hopes faded.

They did get past the Australian’s first-innings total before Lyon (4-91) accounted for Robinson (8) and Mark Wood (6) and it was left to Green (2-23) to finish off the innings as Chris Woakes (16) nicked behind trying to keep himself on strike for the next over, handing Carey a Test record eighth catch on debut.

The wicketkeeper was then promoted to open the batting with David Warner protecting a bruised rib but was dismissed by fellow Ashes debutant Robinson, the ball before Marcus Harris (9no) hit the winning runs.

The teams now move to Adelaide for the second Test – a day-nighter – where James Anderson and Stuart Broad could return as England bid to come from behind to win an Ashes series in Australia for the first time since 1954-55.

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