Jacob Birtwhistle crosses the line to complete an Australian victory ©Getty Images

A superb second-half from Australia saw them win an absorbing see-saw battle with England to claim the Commonwealth Games gold medal in the mixed relay triathlon here today.

Teams featuring two men and two women raced over four legs each consisting of a 250 metres swim, a 7 kilometres cycle and a 1,500m run in a format due to make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

England and Australia quickly opened a big lead over the rest of the field early in the first leg and never looked back.

Vicky Holland and Gillian Backhouse traded blows before double Olympic silver medallist Jonathan Brownlee proved unable to break clear from Matthew Hauser of leg two.

A third leg dual between Jess Learmonth and Ashleigh Gentle then proved the decisive contest within the contest.

Learmonth, the individual silver medallist here on Thursday (April 5), emerged out of the water 15 seconds clear in what seemed like a key moment.

Gentle quickly made up the gap on the bike, however, and then entered the transition in the lead after Learmonth appeared to stumble on entry.

The battle between Jessica Learmonth of England and Ashleigh Gentle of Australia on leg three proved key ©Getty Images
The battle between Jessica Learmonth of England and Ashleigh Gentle of Australia on leg three proved key ©Getty Images

The Briton was visibly tiring on the run and fell to the ground after completing her run in 5min 25sec, the slowest time recorded by anybody on her leg as Australia built a 39 second lead.

Jacob Birtwhistle had won an individual silver medal two days ago and, even though he was up against two-time Olympic champion and perhaps triathlon's greatest ever athlete, Alistair Brownlee, he never looked like being caught.

The Briton is currently short of fitness and had laboured to 10th place in the individual event.

Brownlee swum and rode hard to reduce the gap slightly but Birtwhistle accelerated again on the run and was even able to slow down and celebrate with the Australian flag, triumphing by 52 seconds as his team set a total time of 1 hour 17min 36sec.

Nicole van der Kaay, Ryan Sissons, Andrea Hewitt and Tayler Reid of New Zealand took the bronze medal in 1:19:28 after holding off Canada by just seven seconds.

A Bermuda team featuring individual women's gold medallist Flora Duffy finished an impressive fifth, 3:08 behind the winners.

A South African quartet including men's individual winner Henri Schoeman finished eighth and last after Simone Ackermann suffered cramp problems late on the first leg.