Nathan Lyon precipitated an England collapse with four wickets to set up a crushing nine–wicket victory for Australia to go one up in the Ashes series on the fourth day at the Gabba.
Lyon snared 4-91 to trigger an anaemic England batting performance, with the tourists losing eight for 77 in the morning session to be all out for 297 and leave the Australians just 20 runs to wrap up a dominant victory.
David Warner did not come out to bat as he nursed sore ribs, and it was left up to Alex Carey and Marcus Harris to see out the runs for victory. Carey was out caught behind off Ollie Robinson with four runs left and Harris hit the winning runs.
Lyon led the Australians off the field at luch, vindicated in the face of his critics and job done. He made the early breakthrough – broke a dangerous century-plus partnership – and claimed his 400th Test wicket, all in a personal milestone session.
England captain Joe Root again missed out on his first Test century in Australia, dismissed this time for 89 after starting the day on 86 and his batting partner Dawid Malan also missed out on 82.
After Lyon removed Malan in the fourth over of the morning for his 400th Test wicket it was all one-way traffic for Australia with a steady procession of Englishmen heading back to the pavilion.
It was also a red-letter day for wicketkeeper Alex Carey taking five catches in the innings and eight for the match for the most dismissals on a Test debut.
Young all-rounder Cameron Green also had a morning to remember, snaring the prized wicket of Root and capturing the last wicket of Chris Woakes for 2-23 along with a smart catch of Ben Stokes in the gully.
Lyon had been waiting almost a year but finally claimed his 400th Test wicket when he struck to break the threatening Root-Malan 162-run partnership in the fourth over of day four.
“It was an amazing morning,” said Lyon. “Our new skipper is all about being calm and ruthless when we get our opportunity.
“I’ve been thinking about the 400 a lot and I wanted tom play my role. The next wicket is always hardest to get no matter vwhat number it is.”
Malan on 82 advanced down the wicket only to pop a catch to Marnus Labuschagne at silly mid-off to give the Australians the crucial breakthrough.
His teammates wildly celebrated Lyon’s milestone with the off-spinner becoming only the 17th bowler in Test history to take 400 wickets.
But the big wicket came three overs later when Root failed to convert his overnight 86 into his first Test century in Australia.
It came from an unlikely source with giant young all-rounder Green coaxing a faint edge off an outswinger for Carey to take the catch and send the England skipper on his way for 89 – for now his highest Test score in Australia after his previous best 87.
Root threw his head back in despair after looking in fine touch on day three and now has 1,544 runs at 64.33 for 2021.
It was only 22-year-old Green’s second Test wicket and his biggest scalp after snaring Ollie Pope in the first innings.
After the promise of an England comeback at stumps on day three with Root and Malan at the crease, England’s resurgence hopes were quickly doused on the fourth morning.
It got worse with Pope cutting away from his body and caught in the slips by Steve Smith for four to give Lyons his second wicket and 401st in his Test career.
Much depended on Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler to put the tourists in front and get enough runs to give themselves something to bowl at in Australia’s second innings.
But Stokes fell for 14 when Pat Cummins brought himself back into the attack and startled him with a brute of a rearing delivery with the fourth ball of the over.
Stokes was squared up but the extra bounce and speared a leading edge to Green in the gully.
Buttler was out three overs later nicking Josh Hazlewood to Carey with a ball he could have left.
Problem for England is when they have a bad session they have Test Match losing sessions with the Bat .. It’s been happening for too long against the better teams .. #Ashes
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) December 11, 2021
Ollie Robinson gave away his wicket cheaply reverse-sweeping Lyon to a waiting Travis Head at backward point for eight.
He was followed by fellow paceman Mark Wood, cleaned bowled by Lyon for six.
It was left to Green to finish off the English wreckage giving Carey his eighth catch to dismiss Woakes for 16 and leaving the Australians with the formality of chasing just 20 runs to complete an emphatic victory and head to Adelaide for the second day-night Test, starting next Thursday.
Rapt for Hobart and everyone in Tasmania that we get an Ashes Test. Can't wait to get back to my home state next month for what should be a great week and hopefully a quality game.
— Ricky Ponting AO (@RickyPonting) December 11, 2021