Rejuvenated Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson blitzed England with a haul of five for 42 to lead his country to an emphatic 381-run victory in the first Ashes Test on Sunday.
It was a first win in 10 Tests for Australia after losing a series 4-0 in India and another in England 3-0 this year, and a first triumph in eight Ashes contests since the Perth Test in 2010.
The weather, which delayed play twice for more than two hours, at one stage looked like extending the sometimes fractious contest into a fifth day before Johnson stepped up to polish off the final English batsmen in the Gabba twilight. England's hopes of any kind of result at Brisbane had been slim at best when they were set a record 561 to win and lost two second innings wickets for only 24 runs on Saturday evening.
They were shattered when the dismissal of captain Alastair Cook for 65 triggered a collapse from 142 for four to 160 for eight in the 45 minutes between the two weather disruptions.
The victory was a confirmation of a renewed sense of confidence in the Australia team after a miserable year and will strengthen their belief that they can stop England winning a fourth successive Ashes series.
“As a team, we've copped a fair bit of criticism of late, and our performances have probably deserved that,” said Australia captain Michael Clarke.
“The win is very important, very special to us, it's a great way to start the series. We'll enjoy it, no doubt about that, but we're seven or eight days away from the second test match and we know England will come back harder.”
Left-arm quick Johnson, who took 4 for 61 as the tourists were skittled for 136 in their first innings and contributed 103 runs with the bat, was named Man of the Match after claiming his eighth Test five-wicket haul.
Cook said England would regroup and come out fighting in the second Test in Adelaide but needed to take a long, hard look at how they dealt with Johnson. “We're going to have to be really honest with ourselves about how we go about trying to play him,” he said. “We can't brush the issue, he's hurt us in this game and we're going to come back and show our ability in the next game.”
“It's just one loss, it's a five-match Test series so there's plenty of time to fight