England’s hopes of reclaiming the Ashes finally disappeared after an 11th-hour resistance against Australia came up short on a nerve-racking final evening at Old Trafford.
Charged with the improbable prospect of nullifying the touring attack for 98 overs on the fifth day, the home side bristled with determination only to end in disappointment for the English.
Australia finally dismissed them for 197 at 6.15pm, with a 185-run win giving them an unassailable 2-1 lead that means they will retain the urn regardless of events at The Oval next week.
That makes Joe Root the first England captain not to see off the old enemy on home soil since Nasser Hussain in 2001, and means outgoing head coach Trevor Bayliss will end his World Cup-winning reign on a sour note in the longer format.
Australia celebrated joyously on the outfield when Josh Hazlewood claimed the decisive lbw against Craig Overton, but they had been made to wait for their party by a gutsy batting performance.
Overton was one of three batsmen to face 100 or more deliveries on the day, joining Joe Denly (53) and Jos Buttler (34), but their collective efforts were not enough to conjure a sequel to Ben Stokes’ miracle of Headingley last time out.
- Press Association