Australia completed a 5-0 Ashes clean sweep against England as the hapless tourists crumbled to a humiliating 281-run defeat in the fifth Test in Sydney.
With the win on Sunday, Australia completed a remarkable turnaround after losing 4-0 in India and 3-0 in England last year, crushing the dispirited tourists with five dominant victories on home soil.
England reached the tea interval on 87 for three chasing a highly improbable 448 for victory and when four wickets fell in
the first 11 balls after the break, their miserable tour was all but over.
|Third day scorecard|
Australia first innings 326
A Cook c Haddin b Johnson 7
Extras: (b 5, lb 2, nb 1) 8
Fall of wickets 1-7, 2-37, 3-57, 4-87, 5-90, 6-91, 7-95, 8-139, 9-166, 10-166
Pacemen Ryan Harris (5-25), later named man of the match, and man-of-the-series Mitchell Johnson (3-40) did the most
damage as the hosts dismissed the tourists inside 35 overs.
Australia had already reclaimed the coveted urn after winning the Brisbane Test by 381 runs, the Adelaide match by 218 runs, in Perth by 150 runs and taking an eight wicket triumph in Melbourne.
A fifth thumping victory had always looked on the cards after Australia’s pace attack tore through England’s top-order in the first hour of day two.
A similar collapse after tea on day three made it certain and the SCG, bathed in pink in honour of Glenn McGrath’s breast cancer charity, rose to hail the Australians after Harris had ended England’s resistance by dismissing Boyd Rankin.
“It’s obviously a very special occasion. We couldn’t have foreseen the 5-0 after the England series but I said then the work we were putting in was going to get rewards,” a beaming Clarke said at the presentation ceremony.
“I think the bowlers have done a fantastic job. In my opinion we have the best attack in the world. I think they’ve earned that mantle.”
Chris Rogers had earlier recorded his highest test score with a knock of 119 to inflate Australia’s lead before they were
dismissed for 279 soon after lunch.
The tourists were always facing a monumental task given the highest successful fourth innings run chase at the Sydney
Cricket Ground was the 288 Australia achieved to beat South Africa in 2005-06, and the start to their innings did not help.
In the second over, Alastair Cook’s miserable tour continued when he prodded at a Johnson delivery and caught an edge which Brad Haddin scooped up behind the stumps.
The England skipper’s seven runs gave him 246 at an average of 24.6 for the series, a poor return compared to the 766 runs at 127 he accumulated on his last trip to Australia in 2010-11.
“It’s tough knowing you’ve played your five matches and lost them all badly,” Cook said.
“We weren’t good enough to turn it around.
“But you have to give credit to Michael and his team, they thoroughly deserved their victories.”