England surrendered the Ashes in embarrassing fashion in Melbourne, blitzed for 68 all out in their second innings to slump 3-0 behind in just 12 days of cricket.

A tour that has lurched from disappointment to disappointment literally since ball one – when Rory Burns lost his leg stump – plumbed new lows as England capitulated on the third morning of the third Test.

The final margin of defeat, an innings and 14 runs, was an indictment on every level given they had restricted the hosts to a modest 267.

Veteran seamer Scott Boland (32), who was seventh choice just a few weeks ago, was their unlikely destroyer claiming remarkable figures of six for seven as a procession of batters queued up to give up their wickets.

There was no fight, no quality and no respite as England resumed on 31 for four and lost their next six for another 37, failing to even make Australia bat again.

Much of the damage had been done on the second evening, when 12 overs of shock and awe with the new ball, left them 31 for four and circling the drain of yet another damaging defeat.

But they still had their high-class captain Joe Root, on the back of his career-best year and their some time miracle worker Ben Stokes at the crease, with two players fighting for their Test futures – Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler – still to come.

None could summon a fightback worthy of the name. Root top-scored, as he almost always does, but managed 28 and will not be happy with the manner of his own dismissal.

Stokes and Bairstow were taken care of far too easily, with Buttler finishing not out as the tail fell to pieces in short order.

The continuation of the match had been in doubt due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the England camp, which has now seen six positive cases split between family members and backroom staff, but both squads received the all-clear and play began on schedule.

Despite the dramatics of the previous night, where Pat Cummins, Mithcell Starc and hometown favourite Boland worked the MCG into a frenzy, there was still a sliver of hope that the tourists might mount some form of fightback with Root and Stokes at the crease.

Salvaging the game had long since passed as a realistic ambition but a couple of sessions of steel were not impossible. Things even started positively as three straight drives disappeared to the boundary, two from Stokes and one from his skipper.

But that was as good as it got for a side who lost track of how to compete Down Under after 12 defeats from their last 13 Tests on Australian soil.

Stokes, whose much-anticipated comeback to the side has given little cause for celebration, was gone for 11 when Starc fizzed one between bat and pad and nailed his middle stump.

Jonny Bairstow was next to the crease and he had a brief but torrid time.

He fended a ball just in front of the cordon on three, was dropped by Cameron Green in the gully on four and then fell lbw for five. It was the most marginal of calls by umpire Paul Wilson in Boland's favour, but the shot was poor and at 60 for six England were circling the drain of a dismal defeat.

Boland’s dream start to life in the Baggy Green just kept getting better as England made his ability to pound out a challenging length around off stump look like a super power.

England captain Joe Root

Root became just the third player in history to make 1,700 Test runs in a calendar year, but hopes of going past Viv Richards or Mohammad Yousuf faltered. He will not remember the achievement fondly.

He aimed a half-hearted drive at a ball angled into the stumps and sprayed a catch to David Warner at slip.

Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson both fell for nought – taking England’s duck tally in a miserable year to a staggering 54, equalling their world record low from 1998. Boland took care of both, Wood with a brisk caught and bowled while Robinson nicked off in the channel.

James Anderson did just enough to make sure he would not make it 55 zeroes in 2021 but he did not linger long, seeing his off stump flattened by Green, who thrust his arms out in celebration to kick off a party for the 40,000 fans in attendance.

Australia captain Pat Cummins said his side's emphatic victory was "what dreams are made of" as he toasted a famous triumph less than five weeks after being given the job.

Cummins was hastily promoted from his position as Tim Paine’s right-hand man after the latter resigned in the aftermath of a sexting scandal.

The new era began in style with a nine-wicket victory over England at The Gabba, before Cummins was forced out of the second Test due to close contact with a Covid case.

Steve Smith took care of another heavy win in his absence and Cummins was fresh to help make it 3-0 on the third morning of the third Day Test.

Cummins said: "Winning early on day three doesn’t happen at the MCG. It’s a fantastic result.

"It’s what dreams are made of, how we played. It’s the first Ashes victory for a lot of guys and it doesn’t just feel like a 3-0 victory, it feels like we’re really setting ourselves up for the next few years as well.

"It hasn’t fully hit me but when I think of what it means, I think more of what it means for us as a group of players. This really consolidates that we are a really good, strong cricket side."

Pat Cummins (C) applauds the crowd after winning the Ashes

Cummins even had a word for the man who might have been lifting the urn in different circumstances.

"Losing Painey, that was not ideal," he said. "We felt for Tim, we wish he was there playing alongside us but as soon as that wasn’t the case we had a job to do."

England captain Joe Root says it would be "selfish" to focus on his own future after losing the Ashes in crushing fashion, but accepts widespread changes are required to fix the Test side.

England self-destructed on the third morning in Melbourne to hand Australia victory by an innings and 14 runs as well as a decisive 3-0 series lead, turning in their worst batting display yet in a trip littered with limp performances.

Their humiliating total of 68 all out was their lowest on Australian soil since 1904, as debutant seamer Scott Boland tore through their line-up.

The result capped a dreadful run of results for the Test team under Root, who have become the first England side to lose nine games in year. Having kicked off 2021 with three successive wins in Sri Lanka and India, they have now triumphed just once in their next 12 Tests.

Root now sits level with predecessor Alastair Cook with the most matches as England captain, 59, and it would be no surprise if he comes to the conclusion that he has come to the end of the road. But with two more games to go, in Sydney and Hobart, he is focused on lifting his side off the canvas.

"I can't be selfish and start thinking about myself," he said when quizzed about his future.

"I’m in the middle of a very important series. My energy has to be all about trying to win the next game. The series isn’t over yet: we’ve got two very big games and, more than anything, it would be wrong to look past that. That’s all we have to focus on and that applies to me as well, as captain of this team.

"We need to put some pride back into the badge, to give people back home something to to celebrate from this tour. It’s bitterly disappointing to be a 3-0 down but with two Test matches to go we have to come away from this tour with a couple of wins."