On Tuesday, Australia retained the Ashes with a thumping innings and 14-run win over England in the third test in Melbourne, with paceman Scott Boland taking a fairytale debut with a six-wicket haul. Boland, the first Indigenous Australian to play in a men’s test match, walked off the Melbourne Cricket Ground turf with a stump and incredible innings figures of 6-7 as England’s batsmen were dismissed for 68 before lunch on day three.
Victorian Boland, who won the Johnny Mullagh medal as player of the match in front of his home crowd, said, “I thought we had a pretty good chance of winning but I had no idea we’d do it before lunch.”
“That’s the best figure I’ve ever come up with. Nothing could have happened so quickly.
“Obviously, I anticipated that (debuting) would be extremely difficult, a significant step up from anything I’d previously experienced. I was hoping to make an impression.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their support over the last three days; it means a lot to me,” the 32-year-old added.
After another disastrous batting collapse late on day two, England resumed on 31 for four, their faint hopes pinned on captain Joe Root and Ben Stokes building a partnership.
Mitchell Starc dismissed Stokes for 11 runs before Boland began an incredible spell of fast bowling.
Jonny Bairstow was bowled for five runs, Root was dismissed for 28, and tailenders Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson were both dismissed.
Before the stroke of midday, all-rounder Cameron Green capped England’s humiliation by bowling James Anderson for two runs.
Australia has taken a 3-0 lead in the series, with two more tests remaining in Sydney and Hobart.
“It’s been an incredible few weeks, so proud of the group here and just everything’s clicked,” said Australia captain Pat Cummins, who took over as captain after Tim Paine was injured before the series.
“It’s an amazing feeling to see Scottie perform in front of his home crowd today.”
England has nothing to play for but pride, and they appear to have little left in the tank, with their top order a major issue.
Their batsmen were dismissed for 185 in the first innings, and the series has yet to reach 300 runs.
“Credit to Australia, they blew us away last night and have outplayed us so far in this test match and series,” Root said.
“We have a lot of work to do in the last two games to make sure we come back strong.”