NOTTINGHAM: England ripped out the last three Australia wickets for 12 runs to win the fourth test by a crushing innings and 78 runs and regain the Ashes at a euphoric Trent Bridge today.

Ben Stokes had Mitchell Starc caught by Ian Bell at second slip for nought and Mark Wood bowled Josh Hazlewood for a duck.

Wood produced another ferocious full-pitched delivery to shatter Nathan Lyon's stumps for four and complete the rout, sparking wild celebrations on the pitch and around the ground.

The England players celebrated in a huddle before going on a lap of honour to strains of "Rule Britannia" and "Land of Hope and Glory" as the crowd basked in the sunshine.

"It's unbelievable. I couldn't be happier," England captain Alastair Cook told reporters.

England were whitewashed 5-0 in the last Ashes series in Australia in 2013-14 and the touring side had been strong favourites to retain the famous urn.

"For what we've been through over the last 18 months, to play like we did has been fantastic," Cook said.

"I'm so proud of this young team and the way they've taken this opportunity."

Adam Voges was left unbeaten on 51 in Australia's total of 253 and Stokes finished with test-best figures of 6-36.

"Our goal was to come here and try and have some success," Australia captain Michael Clarke said at the presentation ceremony after announcing he will retire from international cricket at the end of the final test in the series.

"Alastair Cook and the England team deserve a lot of credit -- they've shown us how to execute good swing and seam bowling.

"It's not for want of trying but the boys have been beaten by a better side.

"England when they've had momentum have grabbed it with both hands and run with it. James Anderson and Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes in this game showed what you need to do in games like this.

"Once you find the edge you need to hang on to those chances and England have done that really well."

England won the first test in Cardiff by 169 runs but Australia bounced back to level the series with a crushing victory by 405 runs at Lord's.

The hosts dominated the third test at Edgbaston and won by eight wickets inside three days before dismissing Australia for 60 on the first day at Trent Bridge to set up another overwhelming victory.

"When you lose 5-0 there's a big turnaround and a new side develops pretty quickly," Cook said. "There's a lot of talent and the guys have come in and done incredibly well.

"It all comes down to hard work. A lot of that work has been done over the last 18 months," Cook said.

"I had to take a big step forward as captain. I am quite stubborn and it took a while. But ultimately you are only as good as the other 10 players."

England lead the series 3-1 with one match to play at the Oval starting on Aug. 20.