Australia crushes England in the first Ashes Test
ENGLAND has crashed to a humiliating defeat in the first Ashes Test, losing the match by 251 runs as Australia ripped the hosts' batting order to shreds.
Chasing 398 for victory or, more likely, needing to bat out the final day to salvage a draw, the Poms never looked like getting close to either of those two objectives as they slumped to a first Test loss at Edgbaston since 2008 after being bowled out for 146.
No English batsman was able to play the heroic knock required to avoid defeat - the likes of which Steve Smith produced twice in the same week - as Joe Root's men crumbled meekly.
Chris Woakes top scored with 37 but he played a lone hand as the Aussies secured a memorable come-from behind win.
It was a result nobody saw coming when Australia found itself in a huge hole at 8/122 on day one, and was described by veteran cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle as "astonishing".
"Then the last two days we played superb cricket.
"There's still four Tests to go. We aren't here to win the first Test at Edgbaston, we're here to win the Ashes and we've been really clear on that for some time.
"We're obviously happy to win the first Test, it's a huge step in the right direction, but we're certainly not satisfied with that."
Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins were the destroyers for Australia and with his third wicket of the day, having Ben Stokes caught behind for six with a ball that spat off the pitch, the off-spinner became the fourth Aussie to reach the magical 350-wicket milestone.
Lyon finished with six second-innings scalps as he spun Australia to victory on a wearing pitch that took plenty of turn.
Cummins ended with four wickets in the innings as he made the most of the variable bounce on offer, using the short ball to good effect to get rid of Rory Burns and Jonny Bairstow, who were in two minds about how to play deliveries banged into the surface by the talented speedster.
The Ashes opener was played at "Fortress Edgbaston" because it was expected to give the home team a boost to start its campaign on the right foot but a vocal crowd wasn't able to provide the spark needed to overcome an Australian team welcoming the ball tampering trio back into the fold.
The victory will go down as one of Australia's best in the five-day format given the context surrounding the match and the position it found itself in early in the contest.
The baggy green brigade collapsed on the opening day but Smith came to the rescue with 144, receiving valuable support from Peter Siddle and Lyon to push the total to what was still a modest 284.
Things were looking dire when England cruised to 4/282 in reply but the Aussies stuck to their task to grab the last six wickets for less than 100 runs and England finished with a 90-run first innings lead.
It was looking like more than enough when David Warner and Cameron Bancroft fell early in their second dig and the Aussies went from 2/27 to 3/75 when Usman Khawaja was out. But Smith solidified his reputation as the best batsman since Don Bradman with another ton (142) and Matthew Wade's comeback century (110) put Australia in the box seat for an unlikely victory.
Day five went exactly to script for the visitors, who started on a high when Cummins got rid of first innings century maker Burns for 11. He was going to duck under a bouncer but the ball didn't get up as high as he expected so he was forced into a late decision to play, and the ball ballooned off his glove to Lyon at point.
Jason Roy was next to go for 28 when he played a horrible shot. Roy looked to still be in World Cup mode as he charged Lyon and tried to slog him over cow corner, but he missed the ball completely as it spun back sharply and clattered into his stumps.
Joe Denly's position in the side will come under scrutiny after his second failure of the match, caught at bat-pad off Lyon. Bizarrely, Denly reviewed the decision but it was clear he got an inside edge.
Root (28) was out in identical fashion then Cummins hit Jos Buttler's off stump in the first over after lunch, before Lyon dismissed Stokes the very next over.
Woakes and Moeen Ali defied the tourists for a brief period but Lyon got rid of Ali and Stuart Broad in consecutive deliveries, bringing No. 11 Jimmy Anderson to the crease.
It was all over when Woakes gave Smith an easy catch in the slips from another Cummins short ball.