Some lightning fast bowling from Mitchell Johnson on a hail-hit Gabba ground helped Australia to a 381-run win over England with a day to spare in the Ashes series opener.

After two rain interruptions, including a hail storm that scattered the crowd on day four, Johnson took five wickets as Australia dismissed England for 179 in the second innings late Sunday to claim its first test victory in 10 tests matches.

There were some heated verbal exchanges and finger pointing between opposing players, setting up what should be a hotly contested five-test series.

England came to Australia aiming to win the "old urn" for a fourth straight series for the first time since the 1800s , only three months after clinching the Ashes 3-0 at home in August.