Ashes 2021-22, 1st Test: Australia beats England by 9 Wickets to Open Ashes Series

Nathan Lyon picked up his 400th test wicket and promptly added three more to destroy England’s quest to preserve the first test. Australia won the Ashes series opener by nine wickets with 1 1/2 days to spare on Saturday. England opened Day 4 at 220-2, and Lyon struck in the fourth over, precipitating an eight-wicket collapse for 77 runs, as the visitors completed the match in the same style as they had begun. The Australians just needed 20 runs to win the match after reducing England’s second innings to 297 runs.

They did it in 5.1 overs, losing only makeshift starter Alex Carey (9), and finishing off with Marcus Harris (9 not out) smashing a boundary. Lyon was the catalyst for England’s collapse, dismissing Dawid Malan for a 162-run third-wicket stand. With that, he joined Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) as the only Australians to reach the 400-wicket mark in test cricket. The 34-year-old off-spinner ranked 17th all-time in international cricket, with Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan topping the list with 800 wickets between 1992 and 2010.

Because of David Warner’s forced relegation for not fielding on Day 3, Carey was obliged to go up the order to open the second innings and collected a record eight catches for a wicketkeeper on test debut. After being removed for 147 in the first innings and losing a 278-run first-innings deficit when Australia responded with 425, England gave themselves a fighting chance in the first test when Malan and Joe Root battled the onslaught for nearly two full sessions on Friday.

Malan (82 from 195 balls) got an inside edge from Lyon to Marnus Labuschagne at bat-pad on Day 4, but the defiance didn’t last long. Lyon grabbed his 399th wicket in January, but he had to wait almost 11 months for No. 400 because Australia didn’t play another test until this week in 2021.