Read takes six but it's all in vain!
ENGLAND careered to a humiliating innings defeat inside three days in the fourth Ashes Test today with Shane Warne narrowly missing out on another milestone in his final Melbourne Test.
Having become the first cricketer in history to claim 700 Test wickets in the first innings, Warne needed the final wicket of the match to claim his 1,000th international victim.
But the 37-year-old had to settle for 999, with Brett Lee bowling last man Matthew Hoggard to dismiss England for 161 and wrap up a convincing innings and 99-run triumph shortly before the close on the third evening.
England had earlier begun their innings with a 260-run first-innings deficit after dismissing Australia for 419 inside the first hour of the day.
Their reply had begun comfortably, with Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook sharing a 41-run opening stand before suffering a collapse similar to those that have been features of their previous defeats in the series.
They never recovered from the loss of three wickets in six overs shortly after lunch with Cook, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen all falling in the space of 37 balls.
Cook crashed an edge into his stumps from Stuart Clark, Bell lasted 20 minutes before Glenn McGrath hit him on the pads in front of his stumps and persuaded umpire Rudi Koertzen, who had enraged England by his failure to give a number of lbw appeals, to finally raise his finger (one of four lbw decisions in the innings).
Pietersen, promoted to the number four position he had occupied before the start of this series, lasted just eight balls when Clark knocked back his off-stump with an inswinger.
Paul Collingwood, dropped back to number five to accommodate Pietersen's promotion, battled hard for nearly an hour but shortly before tea became Brett Lee's first victim when he drove straight to short extra cover off the front foot.
Strauss had battled for nearly three hours for his 31 runs, but played a weary shot to the fifth ball after lunch and edged Lee behind and, despite a breezy 25, captain Andrew Flintoff followed when he was given lbw.
Warne edged Australia a step nearer in the next over by winning an lbw decision against Sajid Mahmood, and quickly took his international tally of victims to 999 when he won another lbw decision against Steve Harmison.
But he was denied the fairytale finish from the MCG and Lee instead finished the match with an inswinging yorker which crashed into Hoggard's leg-stump, leaving gutsy Chris Read unbeaten on 26 and out of partners.
Australia had resumed 213 runs ahead overnight, but lost all-rounder Andrew Symonds, unbeaten on 154, in the fourth over of the day.
Warne hammered an unbeaten 40, while wicketkeeper Read claimed six catches on his Ashes debut.