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Australia win series in style

Perth: Australia retained the Ashes on Sunday when they crushed England by an innings and 48 runs to win the third Test inside three days.

Steve Waugh’s Australians wrapped up victory after tea on the third day at the WACA as England folded to 223 all out after resuming their second innings at 33 for one.

England finished two men down after Chris Silverwood twisted his ankle Friday and did not bat and Alex Tudor was felled by a Brett Lee bouncer.

The English paceman was stretchered from the field after ducking into a short-pitched delivery from Lee that went in through his helmet grilland opened up a gash above his eye, which needed six stitches.

He was taken to a Perth hospital for precautionary X-rays after doctors stitched up the gash. An England team spokesman said later there had been no fracture

On an eventful last day, English batsman Mark Butcher was charged with breaching the sport’s Code of Conduct after smashing his stumps in frustration when he was dismissed for a duck immediately after a terrible mix-up with Michael Vaughan leading to the opener’s dismissal. He was fined 20 per cent of his match fees and was also officially reprimanded by Match Referee Wasim Raja.

Australia’s massive victory gave them an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the series with two matches to go after their 384-run win in the first Test in Brisbane and the innings and 51-run thrashing in the second in Adelaide.

The result also ensured Australia retained the Ashes, which they have held since 1989, for a record eighth time, beating the previous mark of seven successive series wins established by England between 1884 and 1890.

Needing to make 271 to force the Australians to bat again, England looked to be heading towards defeat before lunch after losing three quick wickets in the first hour of play.

But England captain Nasser Hussain and former skipper Alec Stewart both made defiant half-centuries to stall Australia’s match towards victory.

Hussain fell for 61 after tea and Stewart finished unbeaten on 66 running out of partners.

Already a man down with Silverwood on crutches, England could not have made worse start in their bid to save the match when they lost three wickets for one run in the first hour.

Nightwatchman Richard Dawson was dismissed in the second over of the day, failing to add to his overnight score of eight, when he was caught by Waugh at point off paceman Jason Gillespie.

Opener Vaughan then departed in the fifth over when he was run out for nine after another mix-up with Butcher, their second of the match.

McGrath removed Butcher with the very next ball for a duck when the Surrey left-hander played across the line and was trapped leg before wicket.

Australia should have had a third wicket in as many balls when Gillespie found the edge of Hussain’s bat but Shane Warne dropped the catch at first slip.

Hussain made the most of his lucky escape by going on to bring up his second half-century off the series off 144 balls, reaching his 50 with a boundary off Damien Martyn.

Robert Key made 23 in a 68-run stand with Hussain before he was caught plumb in front by McGrath. Then Stewart joined his captain in a sixth-wicket partnership of 67. The pair survived to tea but then Hussain was dismissed by Warne for 61.

All-rounder Craig White threw his wicket away when he danced down the pitch to Warne and was promptly stumped. Then Lee finished off last man Steve Harmison when he bowled him with a full toss. The fourth Test starts in Melbourne on December 26.

n Steve tired of easy victories on Page 18

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