England crushed Australia by an innings and 71 runs after a spectacular collapse of wickets early on the final day in the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval yesterday.
The tourists ran through the Australians after snaring the important wicket of Mike Hussey with spinner Graeme Swann finishing with five for 91.
It was England’s first Test victory in Adelaide since 1995 and their first innings triumph in Australia since Mike Gatting’s team won in Melbourne on the way to winning the Ashes almost 24 years ago.
Australia now must win two of the remaining three Tests to overhaul England and win back the Ashes they lost last year, while England are in line to win an Ashes series in Australia for the first time since 1986-1987.
“We never gave them a look in the game, and we’re very pleased about what we’ve done, especially on the back of the last couple of days at Brisbane [drawn first Test],” captain Andrew Strauss said.
“We’ve got some great momentum in the series and we’ve got to keep it going,” Strauss said.
England thoroughly deserved their comprehensive victory after skittling Australia for 245 on Friday’s first day and replying with a massive 620 for five declared, to hold a 375-run innings lead.
That was their fifth highest innings in Ashes Tests and their second best in Australia, only surpassed by a 636 scored in Sydney in 1928.
It also helped salve the bitter memories of England’s collapse to lose the corresponding Adelaide Test by six wickets four years after amassing 551 for six declared batting first.
“We need to enjoy this and savor it, because it was a special victory for us, in some ways it exorcized some of the demons from four years ago here,” Strauss said.
Australia completed a wretched performance losing their remaining six wickets an hour before lunch in the extended morning session.
“No doubt it’s a bad loss for us, there’s no hiding that fact, an innings and 70-odd runs having won the toss on a good Adelaide wicket. It probably says it all,” skipper Ricky Ponting said. “I think they out-batted us, out-bowled us and out-fielded us during the entire game.”
Australia are contemplating changes for the third Test starting on Dec. 16 in Perth and will definitely be without opener Simon Katich, who is likely to be out for the rest of the series with a torn Achilles tendon.
There was only one likely outcome once the tourists broke through with the crucial wicket of Hussey and they went on to claim three wickets in four balls with James Anderson removing Brad Haddin and Ryan Harris with successive balls and Marcus North following two balls later to Swann.
Hussey, who has been Australia’s best-performing batsman in the series with 195 in Brisbane and 93 in the first innings in Adelaide, was out for 52 in the third over with the second new ball by Steven Finn.
Hussey attempted a pull shot but top-edged to mid-on where Anderson pocketed the catch to the delight of the Barmy Army fans on the scoreboard hill behind him.
Wicketkeeper Haddin, who scored 136 in the first Test, was caught behind off Anderson for 12 with the last ball before the first drinks break and the ball after the break Harris was out lbw for his second first-ball duck of the match.
North, fighting to keep his Test place, was out lbw to Swann for 22 after an England referral and England mopped up Xavier Doherty (5) and Peter Siddle (6) to claim a rousing victory.