Captain Tim Paine will take "great confidence" from Australia retaining the Ashes on English soil, according to Justin Langer.

After they were denied by Ben Stokes' heroics at Headingley in the previous match, Australia made sure they will keep hold of the famous urn with a 185-run victory over England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, the result giving them a 2-1 lead with just one match to play.

Paine's relief when the final wicket was confirmed following a review was clear, having come in for some criticism after his team's failure to get over the line in the third Test when the hosts recorded a dramatic one-wicket triumph.

Australia coach Langer has praised the way the skipper has led the team during the tour, particularly as they had not won a series overseas since a 2-0 triumph over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in 2016.

"He's very disciplined - I like that. He is very tough as well," Langer said of the wicketkeeper-batsman. "This has meant a lot to him, from where he's come from.

"The other important thing about Tim as captain is that we have not won overseas for some time. You've got to learn how to win, and that's why this result is so important to us.

"I think the big lesson from the last Test is we all wanted it so much, sometimes we want something so much you just hold on a little bit tight. Hopefully we've learned some lessons over the last week.

"Had this [Old Trafford Test] been another draw, had we not quite got over the line, then that's tough on the team. And for his captaincy, he will take great confidence from this - and so will the team."

The tourists have relied heavily on Steve Smith to hold together a faltering batting line-up during the series, though Langer feels there are mitigating circumstances for some of the rest of the team, considering their lack of experience in the Test arena.

"Steve Smith has done a lot for Australian cricket in the last few years, really. So has David Warner," he said.

"We must remember that Travis Head is new to Test cricket. Marnus Labuschagne is new to Test cricket. Marcus Harris is new to Test cricket. Cameron Bancroft is new to Test cricket. You can't just give them that experience, they've got to earn that.

"We are very thankful to have Steve Smith batting like he is. We are lucky to have him, but Test cricket takes time. We have got to respect that.

"David hasn't had a great series, but imagine how good the team will be when he starts having a great series. Hopefully, he will do that in the next Test.

"The other guys are learning as they go and this is all part of the experience. I said at the start of the series that the team that bats best will win the series, because both teams have got good bowling attacks. Ours is world class and we're really lucky – we're going to have to work on that batting."

Smith has scored 671 runs in five innings against England, cementing his place at the top of the International Cricket Council Test batting rankings.

England manager Gareth Southgate believes the road to major tournaments has become too easy and predictable for major European nations.

England are expected to maintain their perfect start to Euro 2020 qualifying when they face Kosovo, the world's 120th-ranked team, at St Mary's on Tuesday.

Southgate's men have scored 14 goals in their three Group A games after beating Bulgaria 4-0 last time out.

England are undefeated in 42 European Championship and World Cup qualifiers, a run dating back to a 1-0 loss to Ukraine in October 2009.

Not every heavyweight has enjoyed that level of comfort, with Netherlands and Italy missing last year's World Cup in Russia, but the Three Lions boss feels such shocks will become a thing of the past.

"If I look across Europe in general, you'd have to say there isn't enough jeopardy in the qualification process to make all of the groups as exciting as they could be," Southgate said ahead of the Kosovo clash.

"We saw the difference that the Nations League presented in terms of excitement for fans and the thrill of that.

"I'm taking [Tuesday's] game out of the equation, because I think it will be an enjoyable game, the way they play, the way they press, the passion and enthusiasm they've got.

"But in general, I think we have to be careful that we don't devalue [the main tournament]. It's hard because there are so many new countries now and so many countries to involve in the process, but we've got to do the right thing for the supporters as well. I think you have to maintain the highest possible quality."

The European Championships grew from 16 teams to 24 in 2016, while the World Cup will expand from 32 to 48 in 2026.

Southgate added: "I think the big thing is the number of teams that get to the finals and I understand wanting to open that up to more.

"But I just think if I'm looking at it from a football development point of view or an appeal for everybody else, then I would question whether it's the right thing."

Kosovo boss Bernard Challandes has dared his players to dream of producing an upset against England, who he labelled as the best team in the world.

World Cup 2018 semi-finalists England have won all three Euro 2020 qualifiers ahead of Tuesday's visit of Kosovo at St Mary's Stadium, scoring 14 goals and conceding one.

Kosovo also enter the match in good form thanks to an unbeaten 15-match run, but Challandes is fully aware of the size of the task facing his side in Southampton.

"We are Kosovo and we are here against one of the best teams in the world - in my opinion the best team in the world," he said at Monday's pre-match news conference.

"I think it is in my philosophy that if we don't dream it is unnecessary to play such games, we should dream and do all that is possible to disturb England."

Kosovo were only accepted as a UEFA and FIFA member in 2016 and they have gone nearly two years since last tasting defeat.

Challandes' side have drawn two and won two of their Group F qualifiers and occupy second place, sitting one point adrift of England who have a game in hand to play.

"We are a young federation - never have we played against such an opponent," Challandes said on the eve of the top-of-the-table clash.

"For me as a coach it is not easy to have a good mix for the evaluation of this game.

"If I say, 'We come to win', I think a lot of people think that is pretentious. If I say, 'It is not possible to win against England', I must change my job.

"Never did we think after four games that we play for the first place here in England.

"It is clear for me it will be a very, very hard game but it is a possibility for our very young team to show what is a very, very high level."

England maintained their impressive goalscoring form in Saturday's 4-0 win over Bulgaria, captain Harry Kane netting a hat-trick and setting up Raheem Sterling for the other.

But Challandes insisted his side will not sit back and defend against the Group A pacesetters.

"Harry Kane and Sterling and [Marcus] Rashford and, and, and, and, and..." he said.

"For me it is a wonderful team but I have only this way in my head - I don't want to say to my team, 'Okay, we stay in our own half and defend, defend, defend'.

"I hope we can play and be an opponent, not a big opponent but and opponent with intensity."

Victory over Kosovo will see England take another huge step towards qualifying for next year's European Championship finals, where a number of games - including the semi-finals and final - will be staged at Wembley.

After lifting the Champions League with Liverpool in June, Three Lions midfielder Jordan Henderson is eyeing his first piece of silverware at international level on home soil.

"It would mean a lot, any trophy that I win, I will be over the moon," he told reporters. "That is all I ever want is to win, whether that's at Liverpool or England.

"It means so much to me to win trophies or win as a team. To win a trophy in the summer was massive and huge for me and my team, for England that is what we want to achieve.

"We want to win trophies and be as successful as we can be. Hopefully one day we can do that."

England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed Harry Kane will start against Kosovo on Tuesday, but is adamant his skipper is not "undroppable".

Tottenham striker Kane scored a hat-trick as the Three Lions eased to a 4-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Bulgaria on Saturday.

It comes after he had to settle for a place on the bench in the Nations League semi-final against Netherlands after missing much of the latter stages of last season through injury.

Southgate plans to make changes for the game at St Mary's but says Kane's quality makes it difficult for him to be left out and he will resist the temptation to rest him for what will be the first ever meeting between the two nations at senior level.

"In the summer we decided that he wasn't ready to start, so I don't think you can have a player that is undroppable, because that is a dangerous route for any team and it is not a healthy position for a player," Southgate said. 

"But it is safe to say we won't be dropping him for tomorrow.

"His level of performance is so high that dropping him would be a rare occurrence.

"We might freshen the team a bit, that will be important. We don't need to, everyone is fit and available. We need to make sure we get the balance right.

"We need to get the right attacking and defending profiles to make sure we win the game."

Southgate is wary of the threat posed by a second-placed Kosovo side who have already defeated Czech Republic in Group A.

He added: "We are expecting a different sort of challenge to Saturday - but one we are looking forward to.

"It will be a very different style of game. Kosovo will be very high pressing, hard working, a more attacking threat than we faced on Saturday.

"Maybe there will be more space to play up front. Whatever we learned from Saturday's game this is a completely different challenge."

Southgate, meanwhile, gave praise to midfielder Declan Rice for the way he has dealt with social media abuse directed towards him and his family after switching international allegiance to England from the Republic of Ireland. 

He said: "When I spoke with Declan about the possibility of him transferring association across, I was very conscious that this was something that could happen.

"That is why I wanted to tread very carefully, to make sure him and his family had all the time they needed to make a decision.

"I never pushed, because I suspected that this would be part of the consequences of that.

"I think he has dealt with everything incredibly maturely."

Declan Rice says he and his family have been subjected to threats on social media following his decision to represent England rather than the Republic of Ireland.

The West Ham midfielder, 20, earned three caps for Ireland but, due to those being in friendlies, was able to switch allegiance to the Three Lions earlier this year.

Rice, who won his fourth cap under Gareth Southgate in Saturday's 4-0 win over Bulgaria, was born in London, yet he revealed his change of heart led to unsavoury online abuse being directed towards him and his family.

"Yeah, I've had a few bad bits," he told ITV News. "I've had people saying they're going to come to my house…yeah, online.

"There's a few bits I could go into, but I don't need to go into it, threats to my family, threats to me.

"You click on their profile and they'd just be a fake profile, so I don't know whether it's true or not.

"It was tough, there has been some abuse, it was more for my mum and dad really. They were more worried about me than anyone else

"But do you know what? I know, thinking about it now, I was never actually scared about it, because always fans are going to be giving me abuse and whatnot over it. You just kind of look at it and laugh, you think, 'Yeah, all right, as if you're going to come and do that type of thing'.

"It was tough, there has been some abuse, it was more for my mum and dad really.

"They were more worried about me than anyone else, I was always quite strong minded.

"My mum obviously with me being her youngest, she was always a bit worried. Other than that, I don't take any notice of it. I just try to keep focused."

England have named an unchanged 13-man squad for the fifth Ashes Test, despite seeing their Ashes hopes end at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Joe Root's side suffered a 185-run defeat in Manchester, the result meaning Australia - who won the 2017-18 series 4-0 on home soil - hold a 2-1 lead and are already certain to retain the urn.

However, rather than swing the axe following the fourth Test result, the selectors have opted to stick with the same group of players as they look to square the five-match series with victory at the Oval.

The show of faith gives a further opportunity to England's misfiring batsmen.

Only Ben Stokes, who made centuries at Lord's and Headingley, the second of which secured a remarkable one-wicket win, and opener Roy Burns average above 40 against Australia's potent bowling attack this year.

Jason Roy retains his place despite making just 110 runs in eight innings. After struggling as an opener, the right-hander was moved into the middle order at Old Trafford, making scores of 22 and 31.

All-rounder Stokes may yet feature as a specialist batsman in the Ashes finale, which begins on Thursday, with England to assess his injured shoulder in the coming days.

The fifth Test will be Trevor Bayliss' last as England coach - the Australian had already announced he would be leaving the role at the end of the series.

England boss Gareth Southgate expects Marcus Rashford to continue best serving club and country as a "wide raider" rather than as a central striker.

The Manchester United forward started on the left of a three-man attack and won a penalty as Southgate's men eased to a 4-0 victory over Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifying on Saturday.

Harry Kane struck a hat-trick in the Wembley win to underline his status as England's premier centre-forward amid United's attempts to use Rashford in that role.

The 21-year-old started through the middle against Southampton the previous weekend but failed to fire as his Premier League goalless streak stretched to three games.

"Although we have for a long time almost wanted Marcus to be that option as a nine, I'm still not certain that that is where he is happiest and where he does his best work," Southgate said.

"A lot of his development at United was as a wide raider and he isn't as strong as Harry with his back to goal and holding play up.

"A lot of his best work is in that inside-left channel, coming in off the line, and I don't think that's a problem.

"I just think we have to be aware that's probably his profile and to get the best out of him they are the areas of the pitch that we need to get him into regularly."

England captain Kane is enjoying a more prolific start to the season, the Tottenham talisman having netted six goals in five competitive appearances for club and country.

The World Cup Golden Boot winner is up to 25 in 40 games for the Three Lions and Southgate thinks he could threaten Wayne Rooney's all-time record of 53.

He said: "There's a reason that only Bobby [Charlton] and Gary [Lineker] and Wayne have got [to around 50 goals], because it's such a hard challenge to stay fit, the number-one choice, focused and motivated for the long period that you need to be able to get the games and get those goals.

"But if anybody has that strength of mentality, it's Harry."

Tim Paine never doubted Australia's ability to overcome their Headingley heartbreak after his side beat England at Old Trafford to retain the Ashes on Sunday.

After Ben Stokes' heroics completed a miraculous comeback for England in the third Test in Leeds, Paine's Australia claimed a 185-run victory in Manchester to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series, which concludes at The Oval.

Steve Smith's sensational displays with the bat in both innings had put Australia in command heading into day five of the fourth Test, with England having been reduced to 18-2 after Pat Cummins dismissed Rory Burns and Joe Root in a disastrous evening session for the hosts on Saturday.

Despite respectable efforts from Jason Roy, Joe Denly and Jos Buttler, England's batting order was whittled away through the day - Craig Overton and Jack Leach offering some late resistance before Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Hazlewood struck.

Paine's captaincy was called into question following Australia's failure to retain the Ashes at Headingley, but the wicketkeeper insisted he always trusted his side to hold their nerve this time around.

"A few nervous moments no doubt, coming off Headingley, we didn't want to be in that position again," Paine told a news conference.

"I thought we learned from that, held our nerve, bowled really well against a team that fought really hard like we knew they would.

"From where we came from last week, that was a loss that could break a lot of teams but I was confident we weren't one of those teams.

"I could feel it and I thought we handled that week superbly, turned up here and did what we needed to like good cricket teams do.

"When you get a bunch of people together who have worked so hard for a common goal, to be able to carry it out over here with the pressure and the crowds and everything that's been thrown at us and I couldn't be more proud of the way the group have handled it."

While Smith has undoubtedly been the star of the series so far, Labuschagne - originally introduced as a concussion substitute for Australia's former captain - has settled in seamlessly after coming in at Lord's.

Though much of his work has been with the bat and in the field, Labuschagne made the breakthrough when he ended Leach's stubborn stand, and Paine lauded the 25-year-old's impact.

"Marnus has been working really hard on his leg-spin bowling. He's bowled a lot of overs for Glamorgan which has helped him, he's improving all the time," Paine said.

"He's just one of those cricketers, if you tell a youngish part-time spinner to warm up at that stage in a Test match, I don't think many of them would want to bowl. Marnus wanted to bowl and he wants to bat in the games when the best bowlers are on. 

"He's a really exciting cricketer for us and one we can build our team around in the future."

Australia retained the Ashes on Sunday as a 185-run loss at Old Trafford dashed England's hopes of regaining the urn.

For the first time since 2002-03, Australia ensured the Ashes will remain in their grasp - Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Hazlewood dealing the final blows in a drawn-out defeat for the hosts.

While one Test remains for England to level the series, talk has already turned to where it all went wrong for Joe Root's side - Steve Smith's supreme batting aside.

The World Cup triumph, and even Ben Stokes' Headingley heroics, now seem distant memories, and here are three key areas England must address if they are to ensure this Ashes defeat does not derail their Test side for a long stretch.

TOP-ORDER TRIBULATIONS

An elephant in the room heading into the series was England's crippling lack of options at the top of the order. Jason Roy, impressive in England's World Cup campaign, was shoehorned in alongside Rory Burns, who - with high scores of 133, 53 and 81 - has proved his worth as an opener.

Roy has failed to do so, with the aggression which serves him well in one-day cricket proving his downfall in the longest form.

After making just 57 runs from the first three Tests, Roy shifted to four at Old Trafford, switching with Joe Denly, who showed his ability to adapt with an admirable display in the second innings. Roy made 22 and 31 and was bowled twice.

The question now is whether to stick or twist with one of Roy or Denly while Ollie Pope, who scored an unbeaten 221 for Surrey in August, could be reintroduced with the view to becoming Burns' long-term partner.

ROOT GAMBLE HAS NOT PAID OFF

Given the frailties at the top of England's batting order, it was decided captain Root would bite the bullet and move up from his preferred slot at four, coming in at three instead.

It is a risk which has failed to pay dividends, with Root having been dismissed for ducks in three of the four Tests so far.

Though he played captain's knocks at both Headingley and Old Trafford, after a decent 57 in the first Test, Root does not seem comfortable coming in at three, having had less time to rally himself - not to mention the dressing room - following what has typically been the loss of an early wicket.

TWO WICKETKEEPERS, TOO MUCH

A star of limited-overs cricket, Jos Buttler's ability with the bat cannot be called into question, but the Lancashire wicketkeeper had scored over 30 only once in the series prior to the fourth Test.

Buttler perked up with 41 and 34 at Old Trafford. His ability behind the stumps has not been called upon, with Jonny Bairstow handed the gloves for the series, and it has been an underwhelming series for the former Test vice-captain.

Yorkshireman Bairstow has also struggled with the bat - scoring a high of 52 in the first innings at Lord's.

Given England's issues higher up the order, now might be time for a more streamlined approach, and one - if not both - of the keepers may have to make way, especially with Ben Foakes waiting in the wings.

England have savoured the most glorious of Sunday triumphs over the last two months but they paid the price for their shortcomings at Old Trafford.

A fortnight after Ben Stokes' astonishing century gave them a one-wicket win to level the series at Headingley, and eight weeks on from winning the Cricket World Cup at Lord's, England's hopes of retaining the Ashes were shattered in Manchester.

Starting the final day in deep trouble on 18-2, Joe Root's side needed to bat all day for a draw against a potent Australia bowling attack to keep the Ashes within reach.

A win was highly unlikely after being set a mammoth 383, but England hung in there with a draw their goal until the final hour - roared on by a raucous, partisan crowd in Manchester.

New opener Joe Denly dug in for a half-century, while Jason Roy - down to number four - hung around longer than usual before Jos Buttler, Craig Overton and Jack Leach frustrated Australia with an old-school approach to Test batting.

There were textbook forward defensive shots, leaves and dot balls galore as a lively, packed crowd sensed another great escape.

It was not to be on this occasion, though, as with the clock having ticked into the final hour, Josh Hazlewood trapped Overton leg before to end England's resistance.

All out for 197 after soaking up 91.3 overs, their battling display of application was in vain as Australia, who began the series as Ashes holders, celebrated taking a 2-1 lead with just one match to play at The Oval next week.

A dejected Root said in his press conference: "The guys fought extremely bravely, really dug in, made it very difficult for Australia, put a really strong price on a wicket and that almost makes it a little bit harder to take.

"But at the same time, I couldn't be more proud of how we fought today."

Had they demonstrated the same patience with the bat before this tense last day, there may have been a chance of putting icing on the cake at the end of the English summer by lifting the urn.

While Australia were ruthless - holding their catches, with their pace attack showing relentless intensity and Steve Smith simply irrepressible - England were far too charitable in the penultimate Test.

Smith's magnificent first-innings double-century came after he was dropped by Jofra Archer and called back when Leach had him caught by Stokes at first slip, but overstepped.

Tim Paine made a half-century after being dropped twice as England continued to let Australia off the hook.

There have been head-scratching selections throughout the series, with the batting order changed time and again, and captain Root making some puzzling decisions at key times.

England might be able to salvage a series draw, but as the Australia squad celebrated with a beer on the outfield long after they sealed a deserved win, knowing they will retain the urn come what may, Root's men must go back to the drawing board.

Joe Root fended off questions about his future as England captain after Australia retained the Ashes by winning the fourth Test at Old Trafford on Sunday.

England showed great defiance to take it to the final hour on day five as they sought a draw that would have kept the series alive with one match remaining at The Oval next week.

New opener Joe Denly top scored with 53, while Jos Buttler, Craig Overton and Jack Leach also frustrated the tourists before England were finally bowled out for 197 to lose a gripping encounter by 185 runs.

A defiant Root stated in no uncertain terms that he is still the right man to lead his country in the longest format and stressed the importance of salvaging a 2-2 draw in London.

Asked if he thinks he should stay on as skipper, the batsman simply replied: "Yes."

He added: "Whenever you lose a series it obviously hurts. You have to take that on the chin, you have to look at areas you want to get better at both from yourself and as a team.

"Most importantly I've got to look at next week, we've got an important Test match against Australia. Every game against Australia counts and we've got to make sure we finish this summer strongly.

"We've got the Test Championship to play for and have to make sure we don't lose this series, so it's vitally important we turn up and win that game."

Root said England's World Cup triumph earlier this summer was no excuse for failing to regain the urn.

"I don't think that's an excuse. When you play in an Ashes series you turn up and put everything into it, everyone has done that." Root stated.

"At times we've not done our absolute best, we've played against a very good side that has performed well in this series."

 

England captain Joe Root remained proud of his side after their Ashes hopes ended with a "bitterly disappointing" Old Trafford defeat.

The 185-run loss to Australia in Manchester saw England miss out on a chance to regain the urn.

Craig Overton and one of England's Headingley heroes, Jack Leach, kept Australia waiting for the winning moment with a determined lower-order alliance.

But Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Hazlewood struck the final blows in the evening session, sparking joyful celebrations among the tourists.

Australia lead the series 2-1 heading into the final Test at The Oval, with Tim Paine's side, as holders, retaining the Ashes with a match to spare.

England must lick their wounds ahead of a possible reshuffle of the Test squad, but Root believes the dramatic moments throughout the series have shown the spirit within his side.

"We showed great character, great fight and belief in what we wanted to achieve, and I couldn't be more proud of the effort," a clearly emotional Root said at the post-match presentation.

"[It was] a really resilient performance, but unfortunately it wasn't quite enough. We always believed, always fight right until the end.

"Another great Test match, we've had fantastic support once more. It is bitterly disappointing but we've got to make sure we turn up for a big game for us at The Oval.

"You can always sit back and look at different areas of the game where you could have done things slightly differently, but today I'm really proud of the guys here.

"To get ourselves into a position like that, fight as hard as that, you learn a lot about the characters in the team, everybody stood up and played bravely. They should be proud of that."

Despite Ben Stokes' incredible match-winning innings at Headingley, the series has belonged to Australia's Steve Smith, who returned from his concussion-enforced absence in style.

Smith hit 211 in the first innings before stalling England's momentum with the ball in his second knock, scoring 82, and Root conceded the former Australia captain has proved the difference.

"Every batsman has been put under pressure, bar maybe Steve Smith, through the entire series," Root said.

"That's Test cricket at its best, you expect it to be challenging, expect guys to make life hard for you. It's been a series where batting has been quite difficult and you've got to keep trying to score runs.

"[Smith] has been hard work to get out. You look back at moments which could have gone differently and ultimately he's probably been the difference this Test match."

Captain Tim Paine hailed team-mate Steve Smith as "clearly the best player we've seen" after Australia retained the Ashes on Sunday.

Australia moved 2-1 up in the series with one match to play following a 185-run win over England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

Central to their success on English soil has been the stunning form of former skipper Smith, who lit up Manchester with 211 and 82 in his two innings.

Speaking to the BBC, Paine said: "He's clearly the best player we've seen; there's no doubt about that. His ability to go anywhere in the world and score runs against all types of attacks is just phenomenal."

A visibly emotional Paine praised the English crowds and says the atmosphere they created makes the victory even sweeter.

Australia arrived in England as holders of the Ashes urn, meaning that to retain it they only needed to avoid a series defeat.

"I didn't think it would be this emotional," Paine said. "I'm really proud of this group and how we bounced back from [defeat at] Headingley.

"The atmosphere, I was just saying to the guys, at every ground has been unbelievable.

"The noise they make here and the passion they have for cricket makes this moment all the more special.

"We're thrilled. This is what we came here to do, to take the Ashes home. We'll have a bloody good night tonight together and celebrate, but we'll be back on deck next week [for the fifth test at the Oval]. We want to win the Ashes 3-1."

Steve Smith ticked an item off his bucket list after inspiring Australia to retain the Ashes.

Smith has been the star of the series, and after missing the Headingley Test due to concussion, he returned to lead the way for Australia at Old Trafford.

The 30-year-old scored 211 in the first innings, before taking the match away from England with a superb knock of 82 in his second spell at the crease.

Craig Overton and Jack Leach held Australia at bay on day five after England's top order again failed to impress, but Marnus Labuschagne and Josh Hazelwood clinched the wickets needed to claim a win which gives the visitors a 2-1 lead in the series and sees them retain the urn for the first time since 2002-03.

"It feels amazing to know the urn's coming home," Smith - who has 671 runs from his five innings in the series so far - told Sky Sports.

"I've been here a few times where things haven't quite gone our way, [and] we didn't perform to the best of our ability in 2013 and 2015.

"It was always one I wanted to tick off my bucket list, to get the urn over here. There's another game left and we'd love to win [the series] but to know the urn's coming home is extremely satisfying.

"I'm incredibly proud of the way I've performed throughout this series and help the team achieve what they've achieved today."

While the odds were stacked against England throughout the final session, Smith acknowledged the spectre of their defeat at Headingley was not far from Australia's minds.

"The boys were getting a little bit tight out there," Smith added. "But at the start of the day we thought we'd get our eight chances and it proved to be the way.

"[England] fought incredibly hard, I thought Overton was exceptionally good at the end there, showed great courage. Fortunately, the boys got the job done."

Labuschagne has proved to be another star for Australia, having initially replaced Smith as a concussion substitute, impressing with the bat before taking Leach's wicket at the end, and the 25-year-old believes this series will live long in the memory.

"It's hard to put into words what it means to bring the urn back for Australia," Labuschagne told Sky Sports. 

"You think of some of the great series, like 2005 when England obviously won, this has been up there with one of the best there has been, especially in England. 

"We know England just keep coming, as they showed in the last Test. It was really nice to be on the right end of it today."

Josh Hazlewood struck the final blow as Australia beat battling England by 185 runs on a tense final day of the fourth Test at a raucous Old Trafford to retain the urn.

England resumed on Sunday in deep trouble on 18-2 and needing a highly improbable 383 to win, but more realistically to bat out for a draw which would give them the chance of a series victory with one match remaining at The Oval next week. 

The outstanding Pat Cummins (4-43) removed Jason Roy and Headingley hero Ben Stokes before lunch, but England had hope of saving the match when they were six wickets down at tea, with Joe Denly (53) one of only two men to depart in the afternoon session.

England continued to show resistance as Jos Buttler made 34 off 111 balls on his 29th birthday, while Craig Overton and Jack Leach also dug in with the backing of a packed crowd in Manchester.

Overton and Leach fended off 14 overs in a gritty ninth-wicket stand before part-time spinner Marnus Labuschagne got rid of his fellow tweaker - who soaked up 51 balls after being promoted above Stuart Broad - to silence a lively crowd.

After the clocked ticked into the final hour with 13.3 overs remaining, Hazlewood ended Overton's defiant knock of 21 off 105 deliveries to dismiss England for 197, sparking wild Australia celebrations as they avoided more final-day agony and took a 2-1 lead. 

 

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