ASHES LIVE: Australia v England - day four in Perth as it happened

Ashes essentials

Match Summary

Australia won by 267 runs

Australia 268 & 309

England - 187 & 123

*England won the toss and chose to field


England blown away inside 50 minutes on day four. Abysmal. Australia are cock-a-hoop out there, jumping for joy and embracing Harris and Johnson, their heroes. And Ponting is now out on the field, huge smile beaming across his face. Will he be able to play any further part in this series? We'll see, but if not, what a way to bow out - dishing out a brutal beating to the old enemy.

Phew. Well after a breathless morning session England now head to Melbourne reeling from this crushing loss but still level in the series with two to play. It's going to be a straight shoot-out for the Ashes now.

Stick around for a report on today's play from Lawrence Booth and further analysis from Paul Newman, plus all the main talking points from the match. And don't forget to join us again for more over-by-over coverage of the fourth Test, starting on Boxing Day - Christmas night for those in the UK. Cheerio one and all.


WICKET!!! Finn c Smith b Harris 2

That's it! All over, humiliation for England. Another awful collapse here at the WACA, Australia have destroyed the tourists - and Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson with nine wickets in the match each, have been the tormentors in chief.

Finn the last man to go then , pushing at a length ball outside off and third slip takes a regulation chance.

This one's for you, skip: Ricky Ponting (left) joins match-winner Mitchell Johnson on the field after missing the day's play due to an injured finger

This one's for you, skip: Ricky Ponting (left) joins match-winner Mitchell Johnson on the field after missing the day's play due to an injured finger

Paul Newman at the WACA writes: It's all sliding to a pretty grizzly ending now. What a turnaround from Australia, inspired by Mitchell Johnson, after a miserable first day and first 40 minutes of the second for them. Time for clear heads from England. This is not the time to panic. They hit back after losing heavily at Headingley last year to win the Ashes and they can do it again. Conditions will be very different in Melbourne and Sydney.

36th over: England 120-9 (Tremlett 0 Finn 0)

Australia rampant - just one wicket from victory. Johnson has nine wickets in the match. How quickly things can change.

WICKET!!! Swann b Johnson 9

Ouch. This is painful to watch. Swann looks to play some shots, and grabs a streaky four over the keeper's head from a top-edged pull. But Johnson pins him back with some short stuff before pitching one up, swinging in, and taking the inside edge. Timber! Swann holds the pose of his drive but doesn't need to look round - he heard the death rattle of stumps splattering.

35th over: England 114-8 (Tremlett 0 Swann 3)

WICKET!!! Prior c Hussey b Harris 10

Dear, oh dear, oh dear. This is all rather dispiriting for England I'm afraid. Prior goes now, Harris has five-for for the first time in Tests. Back of a length ball takes the shoulder of the bat and a diving Hussey takes a wonderful catch. Australia, suddenly, look like the Australia of old. And how ominous does that sound? England sliding towards a huge defeat at the WACA.

Graeme Swann the new man in, and he opens his account with three through midwicket.

WICKET!!! Bell lbw b Johnson 16

But, for all Johnson's bluster, it's the man at the other end who profits. Harris snares Bell with a straight one, Bell looks to whip to leg but misses and he's smacked plumb in front. Hitting middle of middle. The despairing batsman calls for a review, but he's a dead man walking.

Man of the match: Mitchell Johnson is congratulated after taking the wicket of Ian Bell

Man of the match: Mitchell Johnson is congratulated after taking the wicket of Ian Bell

34th over: England 111-6 (Prior 10 Bell 16)

Fascinating stuff this. Bell drives beautifully again but Hilfenhaus saves two with some smart work on the boundary. The batsman now gets beaten by another belter by Johnson - more swing into the right handers. Top class fast bowling. But Bell's having none of it and whacks through the covers for four.

Paul Newman at the WACA writes: And the big question in the batting is that Ian bell is clearly wasted at the moment at six. I would move him to five and bring Paul Collingwood down to six. Disregard Collingwood at your peril despite his poor form. England will need his gutsiness in the last two Tests.

Top form: Ryan Harris celebrates another wicket

Top form: Ryan Harris celebrates another wicket

33rd over: England 104-6 (Prior 10 Bell 9)

Well, Matt Prior's certainly not going to die wondering! A clip through midwicket gets him off the mark before he hooks wildly over the wicketkeeper's head. Lucky boy. But such is the extraordinary bounce at the WACA that the edge flies all the way over the ropes for a streaky six!

Paul Newman at the WACA writes: England need to stay out there for as long as possible now to regain a bit of momentum. This defeat should certainly not be terminal for their Ashes groups. They will be much better suited to Melbourne. But they do have some thinking to do. Are four bowlers enough? Is Steven Finn feeling the pace of his first Ashes series? They have a week to find the answers.

32nd over: England 94-6 (Prior 0 Bell 9)

Hints of shape and swing for Johnson, that's where he's most dangerous. And he even manages to beat Bell's defence, a really devilish delivery whistling past the edge. Another maiden.

31st over: England 94-6 (Prior 0 Bell 9)

Oh dear. England now just four wickets from defeat. But, hey, guess what? Only 297 runs to win!

WICKET!!! Anderson b Harris 3

Gone! Dreadful start for England, but at least it's just the nightwatchman. Harris, who's made a real difference to this Aussie attack, strikes with a dead-straight ball that clipped the off bail. Too good for a tail-ender.

Castled: James Anderson is bowled by Ryan Harris

Castled: James Anderson is bowled by Ryan Harris

Yep, Bell is purring already. Harris appeals for a rather hopeful lbw against the Warwickshire man - hit him high on the pad after missing a middle-stump delivery - but Bell responds with a terrific back cut for four more.

30th over: England 89-5 (Anderson 3 Bell 4)

Pontingwatch: Australia's skipper is observing events from the dressing room - looks unlikely he'll be out in the field today after fracturing his little finger on day three. He did take part in a full fielding warm-up before play though, looking pretty sprightly, but he probably doesn't want to risk it.

Maiden for Johnson as Anderson wafts and misses.

29th over: England 89-5 (Anderson 3 Bell 4)

Ryan Harris resumes his attack. Crunch! Bell, who looks a million dollars in every innings right now, greets him with a perfect cover drive for four. Hint of swing for Harris there, but Bell's immaculate forward defensive holds firm.

28th over: England 85-5 (Anderson 3 Bell 0)

Wow! Anderson kicks things off with a confident push through the covers for three - he's got a bit of making up to do after declining a run off the penultimate ball on day three, leaving Collingwood exposed and, ultimately, out. Not what you want from your nightwatchman.

2.29am: Right, Ian Bell and nightwatchman James Anderson stride out into the middle, Mitchell Johnson grabs the ball - we're all set.

Come rain or shine... England are on the verge of defeat but the Barmy Army still turned out in force at the WACA

Come rain or shine... England are on the verge of defeat but the Barmy Army still turned out in force at the WACA

2.25am: A deflated (yet forward-looking) England fan writes in: Maybe we got carried away following seven fantastic days in Brisbane and Adelaide? Maybe we've over estimated our abilities? Maybe?

We'll walk away from this one beaten by a better side, safe in the knowledge that the next venue, the MCG, is the nearest we have to a happy hunting ground. If that exists in Australia for an Englishman?

Here's to Boxing Day... 

A better side? Maybe over this Test, Deflated England Fan, but I'm not so sure overall. Although the Aussies attack certainly looks far more menacing than it did just a few days ago.

But if you want a happy hunting ground in Oz, how about Bermagui, that beautiful spot down on the New South Wales coast and big-game fishing hotspot. If you're into that sort of thing, which I'm not. Oh, and my Grandad happens to live down there too. Nothing to do with cricket, of course.

2.15am: And if you're still hungry for more, why not chew on this bit of Beef in the Sky commentary box, courtesy of the Mail on Sunday's Cricket Correspondent, Peter Hayter.

2.10am: And while Paul Collingwood's dismissal to the final ball on day three may have had you choking on your cornflakes, Brigadier Block himself reckons that all is not last in the quest to retain the Ashes. Quite right too, sir. Although three batting collapses in three Tests now suggests Colly and his colleagues had better put some practice in before Melbourne...

Penny for your thoughts? Shane Warne (right) talks to England's Kevin Pietersen before the start of play on day four

Penny for your thoughts? Shane Warne (right) talks to Kevin Pietersen before the start of play on day four

2.00am: So, the return of bad old England with not just one but two batting collapses in this Test leaves Andrew Strauss and co on 81-5 chasing a victory target of 391.

And, despite skittling the Aussies for 268 and 309 at the WACA, that Shrek-a-like and champion log-chopper of yesteryear, Peter Siddle, reckons England's bowlers are on the verge of exhaustion and consequently the urn is there for his side to take. Read his thoughts here.

1.45am: Michael Vaughan on Twitter: Should be great viewing this morning.. Jimmy will need his ear plugs in.. I think he has ruffled a few Aussie feathers..

1.30am: Good morning/evening everyone, play on the fourth day will be underway within the hour with England just five wickets away from a big defeat at the WACA... or 310 runs shy of the most remarkable victory in Test history, depending on how much of the amber nectar you may have imbibed this Saturday evening.

We'll kick off with some breaking news from Perth.

Peter Hayter at the WACA writes: Breaking news, sadly for Ricky Ponting, literally so. Cricket Australia has confirmed x-rays have shown that the Aussie skipper has suffered a small fracture to the little finger of his left hand. No decision has yet been made as to whether he will take the field this moning.  


Breaking news 2. The Sunday tabloid that brought us news of Shane Warne's affair with Liz Hurley has now releaved the affair is over... exactly seven days later. Liz has apparently dumped the orange one over his texts to a blonde - presumably, though not necessarily someone other than himself. Sigh.

Clouds gathering: England face a battle for survival on day four


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