SYDNEY: Australia romped to an innings and 123-run victory over England after dismissing the tourists for 180 on the final day of the fifth Test on Monday to complete a 4-0 Ashes triumph that fell short of a whitewash but was little less emphatic.
England captain Joe Root raced from his hospital bed, where he had been treated overnight for gastroenteritis, to try to rescue a face-saving draw but when he failed to reappear after lunch the die was cast for the tourists.
Australia’s bowling attack - the potency of which has been one of the main points of difference between the two sides - mopped up the last four batsmen at the cost of just 36 runs after the break at Sydney Cricket Ground.
“The cricket we have played has been outstanding,” said Australia captain Steve Smith, whose batting was another major factor in the triumph.“This team has been magnificent in this series, the cricket we’ve played has been great so I think the more we play together the more we are going to get better as a group. We have just got to keep getting better and improving as a team.”
All four of Australia’s main bowlers took more than 20 wickets over the series, with quick Pat Cummins coming out top with 23 after removing Jonny Bairstow (38), Stuart Broad (4) and Mason Crane (2) on Monday.
Cummins was named man of the match for his total haul of 8-119 while Josh Hazlewood performed the coup de grace when he had James Anderson caught behind for two.Nathan Lyon (3-54) had taken the only wicket of the opening session as he continued his dominance of Moeen Ali (13), who has fallen seven times in nine innings to the off spinner in the series.
Australia’s batsmen also played a full part in the return of the coveted urn, with Mitchell Marsh, his brother Shaun and Usman Khawaja all getting into three figures as the hosts made 649 declared in their reply to England’s first innings 346.
“Everyone’s had an impact and that’s what has been so special about it, it hasn’t just been one or two guys stepping up and doing the job,” Smith added.
Despite Smith’s determination to share the credit, he was the inevitable selection as player of the series after scoring 687 runs at an average of 137.4, backing up his status as the world’s top batsman.
“I am really proud of the way that I have played in the series and led from the front,” he said.“My mind is probably in as good a space as it has been with my batting.”England managed only three centuries to Australia’s nine over the series, with Smith alone matching their tally.
The tourists will also take pride from refusing to buckle despite being outclassed in four of the five Tests and Root’s determination to bat on Monday typified their fighting spirit. —Reuters
England won toss
England 1st Innings 346 all-out (J Root 83; P Cummins 4-80)
Australia 1st Innings 649 dec (U Khawaja 171, S Marsh 156, M Marsh 101; M Ali 2-170)
England 2nd Innings
A N Cook b Lyon 10
M D Stoneman lbw b Starc 0
J M Vince c Smith b Cummins 18
*J E Root retired hurt 58
D J Malan lbw b Lyon 5
†J M Bairstow lbw b Cummins 38
M M Ali lbw b Lyon 13
T K Curran not out 23
S C J Broad c Paine b Cummins 4
M S Crane c Paine b Cummins 2
J M Anderson c Paine b Hazlewood 2
Extras (lb 2, pen 5) 7
Total (all-out; 88.1 Overs) 180
Fall: 1-5, 2-15, 3-43, 4-68, 4-93, 5-121, 5-144, 6-144, 7-148, 8-156, 9-180
Bowling: Starc 16-4-38-1; Hazlewood 17.1-6-36-1; Lyon 35-12-54-3; Cummins 17-4-39-4; Smith 2-0-6-0; Marsh 1-1-0-0
Result: Australia won by an innings and 123 runs
Series: Australia won the 5-match series by 4-0
Man of the Match: P Cummins (Australia)
Man of the Series: S Smith (Australia)
Test debut: M Crane (England)
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) Joel Wilson (West Indies). TV umpire: Sundaram Ravi (India). Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)