The urn returns: Australia claims the Ashes in tense conclusion

Heaven help us Third Test hero Stokes looks to the skies after being dismissed for one with England in deep trouble

No more miracles England can’t repeat Headingley heroics as Aussies retain Ashes by David Gurney Published

This is Smith's first Test series since he completed a 12-month ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa that cost him the Australia captaincy.

Australia has retained the Ashes with a 185-run victory against England in a tense final day of the Fourth Test at Old Trafford.

The elation of retaining the Ashes urn overflowed in the form of emotions and Nathan Lyon took the lead as the whole team sang John Williamson's True Blue to celebrate the historic occasion which came after 2001. That would mean a bowling allrounder in Sam Curran or Chris Woakes coming in for a batsman, determined by head coach Trevor Bayliss and the captain, Joe Root.

Victory ensured Australia kept hold of the Ashes at 2-1 up with one to play in the five-Test campaign.

England's batsmen struggled to impose themselves at Old Trafford, with only three scoring half-centuries, and former fast bowler Bob Willis said Jason Roy should be dropped for the final Test after a string of failures. He was demoted down the order in the fourth Test to avoid facing the new ball but was castled in both innings for 22 and 31 respectively.

Winning roar Australia celebrate keeping hold of the urn
Winning roar Australia celebrate keeping hold of the urn

Before lunch on the final day he dismissed Jason Roy and Ben Stokes for his 23rd and 24th scalps of the series leaving the hosts with a mountain to climb to save the match. He now has 671 runs in the four Test and is an unbackable shoo-in for top series batsman.

However, the 28-year-old was adamant he was the right man to lead the side despite failing to win an Ashes series for the second time after he also oversaw a 4-0 defeat Down Under in 2017-18.

England's batsman simply couldn't compete and, in spite of some resilience at the crease as they tried to save the game, Australia retained the Ashes.

"Against certain sides you can come back from that, but from nought for two last night against this Australian attack, you can't come back from that". In the end, Overton and batting partner Jack Leach combined for a scrappy fourteen overs, giving the home crowd fleeting hope in a Ben Stokes-esque comeback.

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