England regains The Ashes; Michael Clarke announces retirement

Aug 08, 2015, 17:56 IST | Agencies

England regains the Ashes with a match to spare in the series after dismissing Australia for 253 to win the 4th Test by an innings and 78 runs; Michael Clarke to retire at the end of the series

Nottingham: England regained the Ashes with a match to spare in the series after dismissing Australia for 253 to win the fourth Test by an innings and 78 runs at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

Australia started Day 3 on 241-7, and the English took the three wickets they needed in 10.2 overs. Mark Wood took the series-clinching wicket when Nathan Lyon played the ball on to his own stumps, sparking wild celebrations among England's players.

Australia captain Michael Clarke. Pic/AFP.England players celebrate after England beat Australia by an innings and 78 runs to win the Ashes during day three of the fourth Ashes Test cricket match, at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, England, Saturday, Aug. 8 2015. Pic/AFP

England won with two days and more than two sessions to spare, taking an insurmountable 3-1 lead ahead of the final test at The Oval. England has won five of the last seven Ashes series, and the last four at home. Adam Voges and Mitchell Starc were jeered onto the pitch by giddy England supporters anticipating a quick finish to one of the most remarkable Ashes Tests, which began with Australia getting skittled for 60 in 18.3 overs for the shortest first innings in Test history.

It took 22 balls for Ben Stokes to get a nick off Starc (0), with Ian Bell taking the catch at second slip. Josh Hazlewood (0) had his middle stump knocked out by Wood three overs later, before Voges reached his fifty with a single into the leg side. Voges was left stranded on 51, though, when Lyon got an inside edge onto his own stumps. Stokes finished with career-best figures of 6-36.

Michael Clarke set to retire after the Ashes.
Ravaged by injuries and struggling like never before for form, inspirational Australian captain Michael Clarke on Saturday announced he would retire from Test cricket after the fifth and final match of a horror Ashes series against old foes England.

England regains The Ashes; Michael Clarke announces retirement at the end of the seriesAustralia captain Michael Clarke. Pic/AFP.

The 34-year-old, whose prolific career has been marred by nagging back and ankle problems that required him to go under the knife earlier this year, has already quit ODI and Twenty20 cricket.

"I'll have one more Test and that will be the end of my career. I'm retiring from international cricket," Clarke said after Australia were hammered by an innings and 78 runs in the fourth Ashes Test in Nottingham on Saturday.

Today's defeat gave England an unassailable 3-1 lead and the coveted urn. The fifth and final match is scheduled from August 20 at the Oval and would be Clarke's 115th five-day game.

"I want to play the last Test at The Oval and give it one more crack. You never want to walk away. (But) My performances over the past 12 months have not been acceptable to me," said the right-handed batsman who broke down at the presentation ceremony.

Clarke, who took over from Ricky Ponting in 2011, has not scored a 50 in his last six Tests - a miserable stat for a player who made 12 hundreds in his first 30 matches as captain. Adding to this was the ignominy of losing to traditional rivals England away from home with two of the defeats coming inside three days.

"Test cricket is about the Ashes. We tried our best, I certainly tried my best but we got outplayed. It's time for the next generation," said the dejected skipper, who has scored 28 hundreds in his career so far with an unbeaten 329 being his best.

Clarke's 114 Test appearances so far have yielded 8,628 runs at an impressive average of 49.30. He scored 7,981 runs in 245 ODIs at an average of 44.58.

"I made a decision last night after I got home. Boys were surprised, I don't think they expected me to walk away right now. I owe the game everything. I'll take so many memories away," said the cricketer, who won over admirers with his sensitive handling of the Australian dressing room after the tragic on-field death of young batman Philip Hughes last year.

"I'm looking forward to sitting and cheering the boys on. It's the right time. Hopefully I'll get a microphone and sit beside you in the commentary box." Clarke was candid enough to admit the lack of form he was enduring for a while now. "I'll always hold myself accountable and I have been nowhere near where I want to be and certainly haven't led from the front," he said at the post match presentation.

Clarke, whose back problem severely hampered his career progress, retired from ODIs after leading Australia to a fifth World Cup title this year. Never too keen on the Twenty20s, Clarke quit the format back in 2010 after playing just 34 matches.

"Retirement isn't the hardest decision when you perform as I have performed over the last series. It's the right time to walk away now. I've been very lucky to play over 100 Tests," he said. "I've had the chance to learn from some older players and now have had the chance to give back. There's so much talent in that dressing room, the guys can bounce back. The potential is there," added an emotional Clarke.

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