A dominant performance from Australia in day four and five left England tasting defeat in the first Ashes Test.
Steve Smith hit back-to-back centuries to put Australia in the driving seat against a toothless England attack without star man Jimmy Anderson.
The home side knew they would need a number of heroic performances with the bat on day five of the Test, but a dismal display from the opening order left the scorecard at 88-5 after 34 overs.
England will now need to pick themselves up before the second Test at Lord’s in a week on Wednesday in order to not fall further behind in the series.
Australia, who hadn’t won an Ashes Test match at Edgbaston since 2001, won the toss and elected to bat first, with both captains claiming that they were happy with the decision.
If Tim Paine was happy initially, he certainly wasn’t three overs in as an excellent delivery from Stuart Broad dismissed opener David Warner lbw.
It got worse for the Aussies soon after, with their other opener Cameron Bancroft edging Broad to Joe Root in the slips, leaving Australia at 17-2 after seven.
Usman Khawaja was next to go in a dominant early spell for the home side, this time Chris Woakes forcing the edge.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Aussies in the early session though, with Smith and Travis Head putting together a fightback to leave the scorecard at 83-3 at lunch, while an injury to Jimmy Anderson meant he had not bowled since the fourth over.
With play resuming after lunch, Woakes struck to break the partnership in the 33rd over, dismissing Head for 35. Crucially though, Smith remained.
A brilliant review from the home side then had Matthew Wade returning to the pavilion for just one run, with Tim Paine then following him soon after. 112-6.
Broad then took his next victim in the same over, dismissing James Pattinson. While England appeared to be in a dominant position, Smith still remained and was always going to cause problems.
He reached his half century for the fall of another Australian wicket and then collected his century with just one Australian wicket to take.
Smith, almost singlehandedly, had dragged Australia to 284 before he was bowled by Broad for 144 to conclude Australia’s first innings.
With England surviving the first two overs at the end of the first day without the loss of a wicket, the home side were in a strong place to start day two.
James Pattinson was first to strike for Australia, breaking England’s opening partnership by taking Jason Roy’s wicket.
England responded well though, with Rory Burns and Root taking the home side to 53-1 before Root’s stumps were hit, but, as seen in the recent ICC Cricket World Cup, the bails were not removed.
Root had survived and he made it count, combining with Burns to both hit half centuries. This took England to 154 before the fall of the second wicket, with Root caught and bowled by Peter Siddle.
Burns converted his half century into a century, his maiden century in Test cricket, for the fall of two more England wickets, resulting in a scorecard at the end of day two of 267-4. England in control.
A useful knock from Ben Stokes and Burns collecting 133 before his dismissal, meant that a combined score of 75 from England’s last five batsmen resulted in a 90-run lead from the first innings’ scores.
With the pressure on Australia heading into their second innings, their openers knew they had to survive an early onslaught from England, something which Warner failed to do.
His disappointing first 2019 Ashes performance with the bat was brought to an end when a review was successful in dismissing him as caught behind.
Bancroft was next, caught off a great delivery by spinner Moeen Ali. This meant that the danger man Smith was at the crease again and he proved to be a thorn in England’s side once more.
The day’s play was stopped by bad light, with Smith and Head still both in, the former just four away from a half century.
Smith and Head’s partnership was proving to be a tricky one to break for England, with Head making his half century with Australia at 195-3.
However, no sooner was he raising his bat towards the pavilion he was walking back towards it, dismissed by Stokes for 51. Partnership broken.
Regrettably for England though, Smith was still in and he completed his century in the 62nd over. Again, he looked to be the one dragging Australia through this Test.
It took another 24 overs before Woakes finally dismissed Smith for 142, but was the damage already done?
Alongside Smith’s long knock, Wade had also been scoring at a quick rate and followed Smith in reaching the century mark off just 131 balls.
The Aussies declared 487-7, but not before Pattinson hit a useful 47, concluding a disastrous Australian second innings for England. 398 required to win.
England survived to the end of play but it was looking like an uphill task, with the home side rueing Smith’s brilliance and a lack of Anderson in their attack.
England knew they had a lot to do in the final day to rescue even a draw, and sadly, it was all too much for the hosts.
Wickets fell as Nathan Lyon tore through the batting order, with the help of Pat Cummins, and Root's men eventually fell to an embarrassing defeat.News Now - Sport News