Stokes ton in vain as Oz regain Ashes

Australia

Australia won the third Ashes Test by 150 runs on day five in Perth, despite a maiden century from England rookie Ben Stokes, and thus went three-nil up and won the Ashes for the first time since 2006.

Australia won the third Ashes Test by 150 runs on day five in Perth, despite a maiden century from England rookie Ben Stokes, and thus went three-nil up and won the Ashes for the first time since 2006.

Only Australia captain Michael Clarke remained from the side that won nearly seven years ago, and the final wicket went to Mitchell Johnson, who claimed four in the innings, capping a remarkable turn-around by the Baggy Green.

Meanwhile, Durham all-rounder Stokes scored England's first century of the series, an even more impressive achievement considering the match situation and the huge, ever-expanding cracks in the WACA pitch. But once he departed after lunch, the rest of the wickets tumbled.

England began the day with five wickets in hand and 253 runs behind, chasing a target of 504 runs. Stokes was on 72 and Matt Prior on single figures and struggling to regain some batting form.

The Australia pacemen bowled well all morning, not really looking to pitch on the dangerous cracks but still managing to extract some variable bounce. Prior was particularly uncomfortable, copping more than one to the body.

His misery came to an end when Johnson drew him out with a wider one, and Prior edged it behind for Brad Haddin to catch. Stokes was on 93 at the time, spending quite while in the Nervous Nineties.

Tim Bresnan joined the second-Test rookie in the middle and helped guide him to his maiden ton, off 159 balls. Stokes thought he had the milestone with his shot on 98 but umpire Marais Erasmus got in the way. The next ball went for four though.

Australia looked slightly less upbeat as they walked into lunch, as the lead was suddenly under 180 and four wickets were still to remove. But they would have reminded themselves of Stuart Broad's foot injury, even though he was padded up to bat.

The afternoon session went from resistance to rubble for England, as Stokes was removed by Nathan Lyon for 120. Get swung wildly at the spinner and got a faint bottom edge, and Haddin did well to hold on to the catch.

Graeme Swann departed soon afterwards, also to Lyon, getting a bat-pad to Steve Smith at short leg. Johnson then added Bresnan to his tally, with the help of a superb diving catch by Chris Rogers at mid-off.

The final wicket, that of James Anderson, was caught by George Bailey off Johnson and prompted mad scenes in the middle. The win prevented England from retaining the Ashes for a record third time in a row.

The fourth Test will be played in Melbourne from Boxing Day (26 December) onwards, so England have more than a week to gather their wits and give Stuart Broad time to recover from the foot injury Johnson laid upon him.

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