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Australia v England - 3rd Test
Perth: 14-18 December, 2006

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THIRD TEST, PERTH, DAY FIVE:
AUSTRALIA 244 & 527-5 dec beat ENGLAND 215 & 350 by 206 runs, lead series 3-0

By Anna Thompson

Australia celebrate victory
Shane Warne was overjoyed after taking the final wicket
Australia have recaptured the Ashes after bowling England out for 350 on the final day of the Perth Test.

They won the match by 206 runs for a 3-0 lead in the series to regain the Urn at the earliest opportunity after England had held them for 463 days.

Shane Warne took four wickets in the second innings to take his Test career total to a record 699 scalps.

Kevin Pietersen was the last man standing on 60 not out while Andrew Flintoff hit a 64-ball 51.

But as soon as the England captain was bowled by Warne after 90 entertaining minutes at the crease, the writing was on the wall.

We played well at times but they never let us take the initiative and always came back hard

Andrew Flintoff

Wicket-keeper Geraint Jones, picked ahead of Chris Read because of his perceived batting prowess, had never failed to get off the mark in 51 Test innings but he recorded his first ever duck in the first innings.

And it went from bad to worse for him when he was run-out by the quick-thinking Ricky Ponting without troubling the scorers again as the rest of the Australian team were appealing for an lbw decision.

Australia celebrated the needless dismissal and with England on 336-7 they scented the Ashes, out of their possession for just 15 months, would be returning very soon.

Sajid Mahmood lasted 10 balls and hit four before succumbing plumb lbw to Stuart Clark and then Steve Harmison fell in the same fashion, this time to Warne.

Monty Panesar survived until lunch but was only delaying the inevitable and two balls after the break he was bowled by Warne to signal the end of England's short-lived reign as Ashes holders.

TMS BLOG
Jonathan Agnew

It sparked wild scenes of jubilation by Australia who had been ruthless in plotting their Ashes revenge after the 2-1 loss in 2005.

England knew it would take a miracle for them to survive the final day after resuming on 265-5 and needing a record 557 to win.

But after a nervous start by the tourists it was Australia's turn to get twitchy as Flintoff decided to fight fire with fire.

He smashed three successive fours off one Clark over and hit Brett Lee for 13 in another and then launched him over midwicket for six.

Pietersen had been subdued compared to the belligerent Flintoff and survived a run-out by the skin of his teeth on 46 when Mike Hussey hit the stumps from close range.

It took TV umpire Steve Davis an age but he gave the batsman the benefit of the doubt and Pietersen and England breathed a sigh of relief.

To win the Ashes back the way we have done is unbelievable

Ricky Ponting

He brought up his eighth Test fifty in 128 balls and minutes later Flintoff reached his half-century in half the deliveries.

The pair had batted for an hour and a half and England fans started to believe the impossible was possible in reaching the world record 557 to win - but spin wizard Shane Warne had other ideas.

Flintoff, driving, was yorked to leave England on 336-6 - and an out-of-form Jones headed to the crease.

Brilliant work by Ponting at silly point led to his second duck of the match and his Test career is left hanging by a thread.

Pietersen was left helpless at the other end as the tail caved in to Warne and Clark, but he has the consolation of a series average of 79.60, with 398 runs in all.

After being 336-6, England lost the last five wickets - and the Ashes - for 14 runs.



SEE ALSO
Cook ton keeps Australia waiting
17 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Awesome Gilchrist savages England
16 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Australia fightback stuns England
15 Dec 06 |  The Ashes
Panesar makes dream Ashes debut
14 Dec 06 |  The Ashes


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