Abysmal England crumbled yet again on an entertaining second day of the fifth and final Ashes Test in Hobart as an incredible 17 wickets fell during a thrilling day of Test cricket at the Bellerive Oval.
Australia resumed day two on 241/6 before being bowled out for 303, more than the tourists have managed in any innings this series.
Chris Silverwood’s sorry side slumped to 188 all out after another calamitous collapse as they frustratingly handed the Aussies the advantage once more.
England meekly lost their last eight wickets for just 110 runs as hosts’ captain Pat Cummins finished with fine figures of 4/45.
The visitors picked up two quick wickets to leave Justin Langer’s unit tottering at 5/2, and they struck again as the hosts finished the day on 37/3 — with a growing 152-run lead.
Mark Wood struck twice early in the day, removing Mitchell Starc and Cummins, as Australia found themselves on the brink of being shot out at 252/8.
But Nathan Lyon brutally plundered three sixes in a handy 27-ball 31 to drag the hosts over 300.
England’s response got off to the worst possible start as returning opener Rory Burns was run out by a Marnus Labuschange direct hit for a duck.
Burns has been the victim each of the last three times an English opener has been run out in a Test match. First in Galle against Sri Lanka in 2018 and then against New Zealand in Hamilton a year later. It’s a level of consistency he’s struggled to find with the bat.
Zak Crawley was Cummins’ first before Dawid Malan and skipper Joe Root steadied the ship with a 49-run third-wicket partnership.
Malan’s soft dismissal sparked a dismal spell of four wickets for just 32 runs as England fell to 110/6. Australia sensed blood, and an emphatic 4-0 series win.
England lost their three best players Malan (25), Root (34) and Ben Stokes (four) for seven runs as the hosts blew away the middle order in the searing Aussie heat.
Disappointing Ollie Pope was the sixth wicket to go as he inexplicably pushed at a ball he could have easily left outside the off stump.
Debutant Sam Billing and Chris Woakes, who was dropped twice on zero and five, stopped the rot with a 42-run stand for the seventh wicket before the former was caught pulling at fine leg.
Woakes top scored with 36 but his dismissal, being strangled down the leg side on review, started a late flurry of wickets as England lost their last three for a paltry six runs.
Veteran Stuart Broad, who took Australia’s last wicket in the first innings, was back bowling within four hours after another abject batting performance.
But he picked up from where he left off as his hold over opener David Warner continued, to end the series with a pair. The 35-year-old dismissed the aggressive left-hander seven times when Australia were in England in 2019. And he gave the Aussie a parting shot with another wicket to his name.
It was a special moment for Broad as Pope’s brilliant diving catch at point saw him become England’s most successful Ashes bowler with his 129th scalp — overtaking legend Ian Botham’s impressive haul of 128.
No 1 ranked Test batter Labuschange, who fell flat on his face as he was bowled yesterday, was out in more conventional fashion in the second dig as he nicked Woakes behind for five.
A fiery Wood delivery accounted for uncomfortable Khawaja, who failed to back up his twin hundreds in the last game, as Australia slipped to 33/3.
England have every chance of pulling off an unthinkable win to finish their torrid tour on a Hobart high. But anything above 250 will be a tough target after their batting woes on the trip.