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Australia were celebrating another memorable Ashes victory after condemning a shambolic England to the latest defeat in an excruciating tour.
England arrived on the third morning in Melbourne with little more than pride to play for but came nowhere near to saving face. They went from 31 for four overnight to 68 all out, to lose the Boxing Day Test by an innings and 14 runs.
Joe Root’s side looked down and out as they came and went in a procession and, at 3-0 down, look ripe for a whitewash.
45 (Sydney, 1887)
61 (Melbourne, 1902)
61 (Melbourne, 1904)
65 (Sydney, 1895)
68 (Melbourne, 2021)
Pick of the pics
England’s duck hunt
When Scott Boland earned his Baggy Green this week he became just the fourth Indigenous Australian to play Test cricket, and the second man after Jason Gillespie. After taking his first wicket, the 32-year-old Victorian spoke about the important of inspiring youngsters in that part of the community and what better way than by turning in astonishing figures of six wickets for seven runs? That was enough to earn him the second ever Johnny Mullagh Medal – named after the renowned 19th century Indigenous cricketer. Even English fans could hardly begrudge him the broad smile he wore as he collected his prize.
Tweet of the day
This is so great to watch…. England losing the Ashes in fine style.. No heart or fight. Captain and coach can’t survive this. Go Australia 🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺😁😁😁😁😁😁 #ashes
— Damien Martyn🏏 (@damienmartyn) December 28, 2021
Relations between the sides have been unusually good natured, inspired perhaps by the temperate characters of rival captains Joe Root and Pat Cummins. But Damien Martyn, a veteran of more bitter battles over the urn, showed there was still plenty of mongrel among the past players.
Root’s genius year goes uncelebrated
1,788 - Mohammad Yousuf (Pak, 2006)
1,710 - Viv Richards (WI, 1976)
1,708 - Joe Root (Eng, 2021)
The England captain has been in wonderful touch with the bat in 2021, scoring six centuries (and two doubles) while averaging 63.25 in a team that has hit the skids. He even came close to a record many thought was untouchable. He ends up taking bronze medal position in the all-time list but will probably remember the pain of defeat more than his personal success.
Australia celebrates, England commiserates
While England made a hasty retreat for the pavilion after the formalities were over, Australia took the chance to enjoy their afternoon off. Once the crowds had dissipated and the presentations were made, the squad, coaches and attending family members made their way back on to the MCG outfield for an impromptu celebration. Beer and wine were enjoyed, commemorative pictures were taken, children played with bats and balls and a speaker blasted out a feelgood playlist including Bruce Springsteen’s Glory Days, A Ha’s Take On Me and Bryan Adams’ Summer of ’69.
The losing habit