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Australia win third Test to regain Ashes
Perth | December 18, 2006 11:29 IST
Last Updated: December 18, 2006 12:23 IST
Australia beat England by 206 runs in the third Test to regain the Ashes in record time after taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series on Monday.
Australia wrapped up another convincing victory with the second ball after lunch on the final day when Shane Warne bowled Monty Panesar to dismiss England for 350.
England beat Australia 2-1 at home last year to win the Ashes for the first time since 1989 but they handed the urn straight back after just 15 months, the shortest reign in the 124-year history of the contest.
"We have been very good there's no doubt about it," Australian captain Ricky Ponting said in a televised interview.
"I think all the hard work has come through in our play, we've turned it round and played some unbelievably good cricket.
"It's a huge occasion for us to win the Ashes the way we have has been unbelievable."
England captain Andrew Flintoff was generous in defeat.
"Australia played well in the three Test matches...full credit to them," Flintoff said at the post-match presentation.
"There's still two matches to go and we're playing for pride but that's one thing our team has got plenty of."
Australia set England a target of 557 to win the match but the tourists' only real hope of keeping the series alive was to salvage a draw after losing the first Test in Brisbane by 277 runs and the second in Adelaide by six wickets.
Warne, playing in possibly his last Ashes series, picked up three of the five wickets that fell on the last day to lift his career total to 699. He heads to the fourth Test in Melbourne, his home ground, poised to become the first man to reach 700 Test scalps.
England started the final day hoping for a miracle to keep the series alive but lost their last five wickets for just 14 runs after Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen stalled Australia's ruthless pursuit of victory with a stubborn 75-run partnership.
The pair pounded the Australian bowlers around the ground for the first hour before Warne triggered the collapse when he bowled Flintoff for 51.
The quick-thinking Ponting then ran out Geraint Jones for his second duck of the match when the England wicketkeeper failed to get his back foot behind the crease after surviving an lbw appeal off Warne.
Sajid Mahmood made four when he was trapped leg before wicket by seamer Stuart Clark and Warne dismissed Steve Harmison lbw to send the visitors to lunch on 349 for nine.
Pietersen, who survived a close run-out call on 46 that was referred to the video umpire, took a single off Warne's first delivery after lunch to reach 60 before the master leg spinner rattled Panesar's stumps to spark wild celebrations among the Australian players.
"It's bloody fantastic to be honest, this side deserved this," Warne said. "It hurt in 2005 and we knew we had to be ready.
"This side can do special things and we were ready right from day one. It's a pretty good feeling."