England regain the Ashes
England completed another thumping of Australia to regain the Ashes.Getty Images

England completed a devastating thrashing of Australia to regain the Ashes after taking an unassailable 3-1 series lead following victory by an innings and 78 runs in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge.

Mark Wood took the decisive wicket of Nathan Lyon (4) while Ben Stokes finished with career-best figures of 6 for 36 as England took just 40 minutes to dismiss the three remaining Australia batsman to claim an emphatic win and the series with a match to spare.

Australia's 17th heaviest Test defeat in Ashes history which sees the urn return to England's grasp comes 18 months after the 5-0 whitewash Down Under and following an uprooting of the country's cricketing infrastructure.

Alastair Cook's side have been subjected to significant surgery since they relinquished the urn but can inflict upon Australia their heaviest Ashes series defeat since 1978-79 with victory in the fifth Test at The Oval.

The heavy losses in Cardiff, Edgbaston and Nottingham gives the Australian selectors food for thought regarding an ageing team, while captain Michael Clarke will retire from international cricket at the end of the series.

Despite missing out on dispatching Australia within two days for the second time in as many Tests, day three in Nottingham was expected to be a procession as England charged towards Ashes glory.

And via Stokes' second over of the morning England had the opening breakthrough as Mitchell Starc nicked to Ian Bell at second slip for a duck.

Mark Wood got in on the act as he bowled Josh Hazlewood (0) as England sensed victory in double-quick time with barely an hour of the morning session having passed.

Adam Voges (51) did go to his half century but it was his partner Lyon whose wicket led to the regaining of the Ashes, as he played on off Wood to spark scenes of wild celebration as a young England team were handed their crowning moment.