Ashes 2019: Australia clinch nail-biter to retain Ashes
Australia emerged victorious in a topsy-turvy fourth Test at Old Trafford in Manchester, defeating England comprehensively by 185 runs as the hosts were bundled out for 197 in pursuit of an improbable target of 383 in the final innings.
While the visitors eventually triumphed, they were met with staunch resistance from England who persevered fiercely till the culmination.
Resuming from their overnight score, the English batsmen were kept on their toes by Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, who operated remarkably in tandem, hitting immaculate lines and lengths.
Drawing the uncertain batsmen forward, Cummins fizzed the ball past the outside edge on numerous occasions before castling Jason Roy for 31 with a beautiful nip-backer. The speedster also prised out Ben Stokes cheaply as England's hero from the previous Test feathered an innocuous delivery to the keeper.
Joe Denly appeared solid at the crease and notched up his third half-century in Tests with a firm push down the ground. The elegant right-hander then gloved Nathan Lyon to short-leg for 53, unable to control a regulation off-break that spat up from the rough. Nonetheless, Denly had already bailed out England having ground out a 66-run partnership with Roy.
Birthday boy Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow then looked to negotiate the menacing spells from Australia's lethal pace trio, but Starc terminated the latter's vigil for 31, pinning him in front of the stumps. The hosts entered the tea break at 166 for 6, requiring a colossal 217 more to win with 36 overs still left in the day.
The raucous crowd at Old Trafford yearned for a miracle as Craig Overton batted with tremendous vigor. Overton continued to test Australia's patience, but at the other end Buttler ridiculously shouldered arms to Hazlewood's inswinger only to witness his furniture get disturbed.
Lyon, who was bowling with supreme control from one end, removed Jofra Archer, who stayed back to a fuller delivery that crashed into his pads.
Jack Leach and Overton stitched together a valiant ninth-wicket partnership but their association was terminated by leg-spinner Marnus Labuschagne.
Trusted by captain Tim Paine to roll his arm over, the youngster provided the crucial breakthrough, the ball catching Leach's glove before setting into Matthew Wade's hands at forward short-leg.
Hazlewood completed the formalities by trapping Overton right in front of the stumps to seal a majestic victory and ensure that Australia retained the Ashes.
Brief scores: Australia 497/8 decl. & 186/6 decl. beat England 301 & 197 (Joe Denly 53; Pat Cummins 4-43) by 185 runs.