Rampant Australia level Ashes

LEEDS: Australia thrashed England by an innings and 80 runs as they won the fourth Test at Headingley here on Sunday inside three days to level the series at 1-1 and revive their bid to retain the Ashes.

The result left the Ashes all square ahead of the fifth and final Test at The Oval starting on August 20.

England, who resumed Sunday in the dire position of 82 for five in their second innings, still 261 runs behind Australia's first innings 445 and facing the prospect of a record-breaking home defeat, were bowled out for 263.

Stuart Broad (61) and Graeme Swann (62) delayed the seemingly inevitable with an eighth-wicket stand of 108 off 79 balls that delighted home fans after the pair had come together with England on 120 for seven,

At lunch, England were 245 for eight, 98 behind, with Swann 56 not out and Stephen Harmison six not out.

But soon after the break Swann on 62, one shy of his Test-best score, was caught behind off left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson, who took five wickets for 69 runs in the innings.

Johnson then wrapped up the match in the sixth over after lunch when he clean bowled last man Graham Onions for nought.

England captain Andrew Strauss said despite the lopsided result it was important that his side retain their composure.

"We started very poorly, we've got to take it on the chin - we're not proud of what we've done this week, noe we have got to lift ourselves.

"The whole point now is to be calm and not to panic - we're still in a good position, if we win at The Oval we win the series," he told Sky Sports.

Winning captain Ricky Ponting said: "It's been an enjoyable week for us, we played some great cricket - all credit to our bowlers who bowled brilliantly on the first morning to set up the game for us."

England started the day with nightwatchman James Anderson unbeaten on nought and wicket-keeper Matthew Prior four not out.

Anderson, off Sunday's second ball, extended his world record for most consecutive Test innings without a duck to 54 thanks to a square cut four off Ben Hilfenhaus for four.

But next ball he edged to Ponting at second slip.

Prior offered brief resistance before he too fell to Hilfenhaus, for 22, well caught one-handed by diving wicket-keeper Brad Haddin to leave England 120 for seven.

Pace bowler Broad, who took a Test-best six for 91 on Saturday, was given a life on 18 when Peter Siddle at mid-off dropped a difficult chance, running back, off left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson.

Broad's four off Stuart Clark ensured England would not suffer Sunday a record home Test defeat by Australia to top their innings and 180 run loss at Trent Bridge in 1989.

Driving strongly, left-hand bat Broad struck four fours off one Clark over as he and Swann posted a fifty stand in 51 balls.

Broad then went to his fifth Test fifty in style with an off-drive off Siddle that rocketed through mid-off to the boundary, the 23-year-old reaching landmark in 78 balls with eight fours.

Broad could have gone on 53 when a drive off Siddle saw Johnson, back-pedalling at long-off, drop the difficult chance and knock the ball over the boundary for four and on 57 he was missed at long leg by Simon Katich.

He eventually holed out off Siddle to Shane Watson in the deep having faced 48 balls with 10 fours.

But Swann hooked Siddle for six to bring up his fifty in just 53 balls with 10 fours.

Siddle whose first six overs this innings on Saturday yielded just four runs, conceded 46 in his six overs before lunch on Sunday.

England, without injured stars Andrew Flintoff - the inspiration behind their 115-run second Test win at Lord's - and Kevin Pietersen, were on the backfoot after collapsing to 102 all out on Friday's first day.

Clark took three wickets for 18 runs on his return to international cricket and Siddle a Test-best five for 21.

Australia, in reply, were 151 for four, just 49 runs ahead, before a stand of 152 between Marcus North, whose 110 was his second century of the series, and vice-captain Michael Clarke (93) all but doubled the score.

England slumped for the second time Saturday, in a match where top-order batsmen Ravi Bopara, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood managed just 16 runs between them, losing five wickets for 20 runs in 44 balls.

England had a frantic build-up to this match with an early morning fire alarm at their hotel on Friday before Prior suffered a back spasm during the warm-up which forced the toss to be delayed while he received treatment.

The hosts also had to endure several days, after the end of Monday's drawn third Test at Edgbaston, of agonising over Flintoff's fitness.