5-0: Australia crush woeful England to complete Ashes whitewash
Australia completed a 5-0 Ashes clean sweep against England on Sunday as the hapless tourists crumbled to a humiliating 281-run defeat in the fifth cricket test in Sydney.
Demoralised England capitulated after tea against the home side’s formidable pace attack, losing seven wickets in 52 minutes on their way to being bundled out for 166 in 31.4 overs – getting nowhere near the 448 victory target.
It was the sixth time the beleaguered tourists had been skittled for under 200 in the five-match series.
The crushing defeat – with more than two days to spare – is expected to have major ramifications for English cricket just months after they beat Australia 3-0 in England.
Paceman Ryan Harris finished with five for 25 to finish man of the match, while man of the series and fellow fast bowler Mitchell Johnson – who took 37 wickets in the five matches – had figures of 3-40.
It was the third time Australia had achieved a 5-0 series clean sweep over England, after 1920-21 and 2006-07, and Michael Clarke was also involved in the previous one. The Australians have now climbed to third in the ICC rankings above England and Pakistan.
“It’s extremely special for a number of reasons, I guess the same 11 [for the five tests] is certainly a fantastic achievement and a lot of credit has to go to the support and medical staff to be able to keep the players [fit to play],” Clarke said.
“It’s very special. The roller-coaster ride, the ups and downs of last year, it’s been a lot of work to get us where we are today.”
England’s hopes vanished with the cheap dismissals of skipper Alastair Cook (seven), Ian Bell (16) and Kevin Pietersen (six) in the middle session as England limped to tea on 87-3.
But the rout turned to carnage after the interval as four wickets tumbled in two overs, with the tourists falling apart against inspired Australian bowling and fielding.
“I think today was a culmination of being under the cosh for four and a half games,” Cook said. “Credit to Australia, I can’t even count how many sessions we won in the series. That’s a pretty daunting stat to take but a very realistic statistic.”
Michael Carberry (43) feathered Johnson to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin just two balls after tea and three balls later debutant Gary Ballance was trapped plumb in front by Johnson for seven.
Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow went for a three-ball duck and debutant leg-spinner Scott Borthwick was magnificently caught by Clarke off Lyon for four.
Ben Stokes offered some belated resistance, punishing Lyon for 20 off one over before he was bowled by Harris for 32 off 16 balls with three fours and two sixes.
Stuart Broad also went down swinging, with four sixes and three fours in his 42 off 36 balls before being bowled by Harris. Boyd Rankin was last man out, caught overhead by Clarke at second slip to complete the victory.
Earlier, Cook, who endured a miserable series with the bat, was caught behind off Johnson for seven and was followed by Bell, who was snapped up in the gully off Ryan Harris.
Pietersen was athletically caught by Bailey close to the bat off Harris as England’s top order yet again failed to fire.
The England skipper scored just 246 runs at 24.60 in this series, in sharp contrast to the last tour of Australia in 2010/11 when he amassed 766 runs at 127.66.
“When you strip everything down, every single player now has to go back and have a look at themselves, have a look at their techniques,” Cook said.
“Have a look at the way they’ve bowled and start rebuilding again. And that hunger has to come from within to do it.”
Bell, who was impressive last year’s Ashes series in England, and Pietersen, both averaged less than 30 in the series.
Australia were dismissed for 276 in their second innings shortly after lunch, with Chris Rogers top-scoring with 119.
Haddin became the highest-scoring Australian wicketkeeper in a test series with his breezy 28 off 40 balls.
The keeper, the nemesis of the English bowlers with his aggressive lower middle-order batting, finished the series with 493 runs at 61.62 to beat the previous best of 473 by Adam Gilchrist against South Africa in 2001-02.