sport

Australia regain the Ashes

A battling maiden Test century from Ben Stokes wasn't enough to stop Australia reclaiming the urn with victory in Perth.

The Durham all-rounder was finally removed for 120 as the tourists finally succumbed by 150 runs at the WACA.

And following the heavy victory in Brisbane and Adelaide, Australia have moved into an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series after the dismissed England for 353 on the final day.

The landmark moment for Stokes came when he had a hook at a Mitchell Johnson bouncer, getting enough on it to send it fine for his 16th boundary.

Having resumed on 72 not out with his side on 251-5, the 22-year-old combined with Matt Prior to frustrate Australia for the first hour of proceedings.

On a pitch with cracks wide enough to fit a hand down, luck - as well as a solid defensive technique and a cool temperament in seriously high temperatures - was always going to be required to survive.

Carbon copy

The odd delivery did misbehave off the surface, none more so than Ryan Harris' first with the second new ball that was almost a carbon copy of the delivery that knocked over England captain Alastair Cook on day four.

This time, though, Stokes survived, as the ball missed his off stump by some margin. He also edged low past gully and had the odd play-and-miss, though few could deny the left-hander didn't deserve a moment of good fortune.

Prior had battled hard himself to reach 26 when he was suckered into having a go at a wide, pitched up delivery from Johnson. His attempted drive only resulted in a thin edge through to fellow wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, ending a sixth-wicket stand worth 76.

Stokes' ton arrived not long after Prior's departure, a fine achievement considering he was playing in just his second Test. It also suggested England might have finally found the answer to the problematic position of No 6.

Having reached the lunch break on 332-6 there was a glimmer of hope that England could pull off the impossible.

Cheap

However when Stokes finally departed for 120 shorting after the resumption, England's tail quickly followed.

It was Nathan Lyon that did the damage, with Stokes feathering a bottom edge behind to Haddin.

The spinner then saw off Graeme Swann in his next over, with a inside edge hitting the pads and looping up to Steve Smith at short leg for a cheap dismissal.

Tim Bresnan had showed some resistance to reach 12 but a lovely diving catch from Chris Rogers at mid-off off the the bowling of Johnson saw Australia close in on victory.

And the end came as James Anderson was caught at short leg off Johnson (4-78)

England skipper and Australia's impressive performances had seen them slump to a third successive defeat.

"That has not been down to a lack of effort or trying from the lads or the preparation," said Cook.

"We have been out-skilled in all aspects and it is hard to say that as a player but that is the honest truth.

"We have got to keep looking at ourselves and keep doing what we can do and that is working hard to turn things around."