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Sydney: 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 Test in Sydney.
Demoralised England capitulated after tea against the home side’s 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 target for victory.
It was the sixth time the beleaguered tourists had been skittled for under 200 in the series and the crushing defeat 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 and Man-of-the-Series Mitchell Johnson – who took 37 wickets in the five matches – had figures of 3-40.
Skipper Alastair Cook (7), Ian Bell (16) and Kevin Pietersen (6) all fell in the middle session as England limped to tea on 87-3 but it was carnage after the interval as four wickets tumbled in two overs with the tourists falling apart against inspired Australian bowling and fielding.
Michael Carberry (43) feathered Mitchell Johnson to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin just two balls after the resumption and three balls later debutant Gary Ballance was trapped plumb in front by Johnson for seven.
Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow was caught close in by George Bailey off spinner Nathan Lyon for a three-ball duck and debutant legspinner Scott Borthwick was magnificently caught by skipper Michael Clarke off Lyon for four.
Ben Stokes offered some belated resistance, punishing Lyon for 20 off one over before he played Harris on to his stumps 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 bowled by Harris, and Boyd Rankin was last man out, caught overhead by Clarke at second slip to complete the victory.
Earlier Cook, who has endured a miserable series with the bat, was caught behind off Johnson for seven and was followed by Bell, who was snapped up the gully off Ryan Harris.
Pietersen was athletically caught by Bailey close to the bat off Harris as England’s top order once again failed to fire.
The England skipper has 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.
Bell, who was impressive in last year’s Ashes series in England, and Pietersen, have 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.
Haddin, the nemesis of the English bowlers with his lower middle-order batting, finished the series with 493 runs at 61.62 to better the previous best of 473 held by Adam Gilchrist against South Africa in 2001-02.
Clarke rated Johnson among the fast bowling greats after the series.
Johnson edged Haddin as the Man-of-the-Series, and he set the tone for Australia’s domination with Man-of-the-Match honours in three of the five Tests.
Clarke said 32-year-old Johnson’s sustained aggressive bowling throughout the series was an amazing achievement.
“I hate to say I told you all so but I told you all so,” Clarke chided reporters at his post-match conference.
“Man-of-the-Series, who would have thought? Except me and perhaps Mitch. He’s been an amazing bowler for a long time. I think the way he’s come back into this team… he’s bowled with great aggression.
“To be able to do bowl at that pace is one thing, to do it for five Test matches, every single innings to be able to back it up is an amazing achievement.” (AFP)