Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Cricket: England lose Ashes to Australia

England's Ben Stokes in action during the Ashes. Photo / AP
England's Ben Stokes in action during the Ashes. Photo / AP

A century from Christchurch-born Ben Stokes was not enough to save England from losing the 2013 Ashes series today.

Australia have reclaimed the Ashes, beating England in the third Test in Perth today to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Resuming at 251-5 on the last day of the third test, England lost only one wicket in the morning session but Nathan Lyon's dismissal of Stokes for 120 soon after the lunch break triggered the tailend collapse.

Mitchell Johnson finished with four wickets for the innings, including the last, as England was bowled out for 353 chasing 504 to win.

Stokes shared partnerships of 99 with Ian Bell (60), 76 with Matt Prior (26) and 40 with Tim Bresnan to delay the inevitable in a series that has delivered lopsided results to the Australians.

Despite the loss, Stokes managed to achieve what no other Englishman could during their increasingly difficult Ashes series in Australia - score a century.

The 22-year-old, who moved with his family to England at the age of 12, struck the milestone at the Waca in Perth this afternoon - his first ton in only his second test. It was his ninth first class century.

He was eventually dismissed for 120, but his ton came from 159 balls and in the most difficult of circumstances. With the cracks on the dry pitch widening by the day, Stokes began the morning on 72, with his team 253-5; played and missed several deliveries, and was almost run out on 90 by Ryan Harris.

Stokes, who in the last test at Adelaide was caught up in a dispute with Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, probably learned his no-nonsense attitude from his father, Ged, a former Kiwis league player who left Christchurch to coach Workington Town on the Cumbrian coast in the north of England.

Ben's skills as a cricketer quickly became apparent, the allrounder signing with Durham and batting at No4 for the county.

He has been compared with former England allrounder Andrew Flintoff due to his clean hitting, although Stokes bats left-handed, and has received praise from teammate and opposition alike.

"He was outstanding,'' Ian Bell said at stumps yesterday. The way he's shown he can play quick bowling, the way he hits down the ground. And just that attitude with the ball. There was not a lot in that wicket for us on day one. I never see him moan about anything. He just gets on with it, runs in all day, bowls good pace. The potential for the future looks massive with Ben.''

Australian allrounder Shane Watson said: "He's a very exciting prospect for England.

"To see the workload that he went through when Stuart Broad hurt himself, he sustained his pace really well, he put in the whole time. And the way he batted, he really took on the game, he batted beautifully. He certainly doesn't take a backward step at all _ and he didn't on his debut in Adelaide either.''

According to the Guardian, Stokes speaks with an accent "which he describes as `Geordie', even though it still contains traces of Cumbria and occasionally Kiwi''.

- Additional reporting AAP

- APNZ

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