Australia claimed a one-nil series lead at the Gabba after another calamitous collapse from the visitors handed the hosts a comfortable nine-wicket win and Nathan Lyon finally claimed his 400th Test wicket.
Lyon took four wickets on the fourth morning, including that of Dawid Malan’s for his 400th to start the rot prior to the new ball being taken, while Cameron Green claimed the prized scalp of Joe Root for 89 as England lost 8 for 74 to be bowled out for 297 and set Australia just 20 runs to win.
Australia’s only concern came when David Warner did not come out to bat in the fourth innings. He did not field during England’s second innings after he was hit in the ribs by Ben Stokes during his first-innings 94.
Cricket Australia released a statement on day three saying he had bruised ribs and Warner told Channel Seven on the morning of day four that he was sore but would bat with the aid of some pain killers. However, with only 20 runs required to win Warner did not take to the crease raising concerns about his fitness for the second Test in Adelaide, with just four days to recover.
Alex Carey opened alongside Marcus Harris. It was just the third time Carey has opened in first-class cricket having opened in just his third first-class match back in 2013. He tried to play positively. He was nearly run out twice before Ollie Robinson found his outside edge with a superb delivery that nipped off the seam. Harris was far from convincing early as the new ball zipped around but played a glorious cut shot and equally good square drive to bring up the winning runs without Marnus Labuschagne having to face a ball.
Earlier, England regressed to their mean on the fourth morning after the sublime day three partnership between Root and Malan had sprung hopes of a 2010-style Gabba revival, having erased 220 of the 278-run first-innings deficit just two down.
But hope springs eternal as Lyon snuffed out any chance of a miracle removing Malan in the fourth over of the morning. Lyon had been stuck on 399 wickets for 326 days and Malan revealed to ABC radio after play on day three that Lyon should have had him out caught and bowled in the afternoon when a ball ballooned off his pad and brushed the glove on the way back to Lyon but the Australians did not appeal.
Lyon finally got him a similar manner for wicket 400 with Malan deceived in flight as he skipped down to the wrong length. He groped in defence only to get a thick inside edge onto pad with Labuschagne claiming the chance at a well-placed silly mid-off. The relief for Lyon and the Australians was palpable as he celebrated becoming the 17th Test bowler to claim 400 wickets, and just the third Australian behind Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.
But the biggest wicket of the morning came from the unlikeliest source. Green bowled a superb spell with a 70-over old ball to fill a hole for his captain Pat Cummins while Australia’s thoroughbred quicks were held back for the new ball. Green banged away at a good length at 140kph/87mph for several overs and finally found a hint of outswing, luring Root into a false prod outside off stump and catching his outside edge. Root fell 11 short of his 7th century of 2021 and is still yet to register three figures in Australia.
Lyon then picked up Ollie Pope, whose struggles against spin continue. He tried to cut a ball that bounced and spun back from outside off and succeeded in only gloving it to slip.
The game went dark for a period of five overs after Australia took the new ball as a power outage at the Gabba saw the entire television feed go down. Josh Hazlewood returned to the bowling crease after questions were raised about his fitness having only been used for eight overs out of 70 on the third day, but only those at the ground could see it.
Television pictures were restored just in time for Cummins to pick up Stokes for the second time in the match. Stokes was squared up again by Cummins, this time from over the wicket, as he closed the bat face to a ball that leapt from a length. Green held the leading edge at gully with ease.
Jos Buttler was unable to produce the same counter-attack he offered in the first innings, poking meekly wide of his off stump at Hazlewood to give Carey his seventh catch of the match. Lyon and Green cleaned up the tail handing Lyon a well-deserved four-wicket haul after toiling without reward on day three, while Carey claimed a record-breaking eighth catch to end the innings in a flawless display behind the stumps. It is the most catches on Test debut by a wicketkeeper and the equal-most dismissals alongside fellow Australian Brian Taber and England’s Chris Read.