Aussies cruise to 277-run victory
AUSTRALIA completed an emphatic 277-run win in the opening Ashes Test after England's resistance crumbled in the first 21 overs of the final day at the Gabba.
Resuming 354 runs adrift on 293-5, the tourists had hoped to build on the momentum gained from a 153-run fourth-wicket stand between Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen the previous day.
But Pietersen, who resumed eight runs short of his sixth Test century, was unable to add to his overnight score before falling to the fourth ball of the day as England slipped to 370 all out.
Australian seamer Brett Lee, charging in from the Stanley Street end, used the opening delivery as a loosener before taking the new ball and struck just three balls later to remove England's dangerman.
Attempting to clip the ball off his legs through mid-wicket, Pietersen failed to control the shot and hit the ball in the air to Damien Martyn.
His demise was a major blow to England's hopes of surviving until late afternoon, when thunderstorms were forecast to aid their hopes of emerging with an unlikely draw.
Wicketkeeper Geraint Jones also attempted to be positive and drove several boundaries during a 29-run stand with Ashley Giles to lift England's morale.
But after progressing to 33 in 48 balls, Jones played away from his body off the back foot and got an inside edge into his stumps off a Glenn McGrath delivery which kept a little low.
Giles also contributed a useful 23, to underline why England had preferred his superior batting ability to Monty Panesar, but fell to seamer Stuart Clark when he pushed forward and edged to Shane Warne at first slip.
Clark, possibly the Australian bowler must under threat for his place at next Friday's second Test at Adelaide because of their plans to recall Stuart MacGill and play two spinners, seemed intent on making life as difficult as possible for the selectors.
Having been man-of-the-series in South Africa earlier this year with 20 wickets in three Tests, Clark claimed his sixth wicket of the match six overs later when Matthew Hoggard fell in identical fashion by edging to Warne at slip.
He followed that by finishing off the innings two overs later when Steve Harmison holed out to McGrath in the deep after pulling Clark to finish with four for 72.