Australia retain Ashes in entertaining final day at Old Trafford

Australia retained the Ashes with a thrilling 185-run victory over England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

England entered into the fifth and final day on 18-2, chasing 383; however, the hosts knew they would need to bat throughout the day to set-up an Ashes series decider at The Oval.

Having taken Rory Burns and Joe Root in successive balls on Saturday evening, Jason Roy became the third England batsman to fall victim to Pat Cummins.

After a steady beginning to the day’s play, England added 48 to their total before the Surrey right-hander had his stumps upended by Cummins’ devastating fast-bowling.

Joe Denly contributed a valuable 53 to England’s growing tally, while Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler showed brawniness along with Craig Overton – who faced 105 deliveries in front of a crowd always growing in confidence.

But Australia’s attack was too much to bare for England as Cummins ended with figures of 4-43.

Craig Overton was trapped LBW for 21 as Australia’s victory was confirmed | Credit: Bet365 / Twitter

Deep into the evening, England’s ninth-wicket pair suffered a sucker-punch. The partnership of Overton and Jack Leach had survived for 14 overs but concluded when the latter spat leg-spinner Marnus Labuschagne to short leg.

With 13.3 of the day’s 98 allocated overs remaining, Josh Hazlewood trapped Overton LBW to spark jubilant celebrations among the Aussies.

The 185-run victory means Australia will leave the UK with the urn for the first time since 2001, while England were unable to make it a complete summer of celebration after winning the World Cup in July.

England head into the final Test on Thursday, coach Trevor Bayliss’ final game in charge, knowing anything but a victory will consign them to a first home series defeat against any side since 2014.

Joe Root: England players can be ‘proud’ despite Ashes defeat

Having at one point looked like England could have produced a miracle to take it to the final Test, England captain Joe Root said he was “bitterly disappointed” to have suffered defeat.

“I’m bitterly disappointed,” he said to BBC Sport. “To come so close to taking it to The Oval is hard to take.

“The way we fought today, the character we showed – every single one of them can be proud of that today. You learn a lot about your team. Everyone stood up and played bravely.

“We have seen some wonderful Test cricket and I expect the same at The Oval. We want to level the series. We have to pick ourselves up and turn up at The Oval.”

Tim Paine, meanwhile, praised England for their competition in an Ashes series which seemed to provide everything.

“I’m pretty pumped,” the Aussie captain said to BBC Sport. “This team has been through a lot. The character we have showed says a lot about the people in our side. The boys have got what they deserved.

“It’s been an unbelievable series. Every Test has almost gone down to the wire. I’ve not slept that well!

“Steve is the best player I have ever seen. He showed that again in this Test match. He knows the game so well and reads it so well.”