Australia seal Ashes whitewash

Australia celebrate (AFP)
Australia celebrate (AFP)

Sydney - Australia have 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.

Mitchell Johnson - described by captain Michael Clarke as one of the modern-day pace greats - was named man-of-the-series for his 37 wickets over the five games at 13.97.

Fellow quick Ryan Harris took man-of-the-match for his eight wickets in the two innings in Sydney, where a hapless England endured their fifth successive heavy defeat.

The demoralised tourists capitulated after tea, losing seven wickets in 52 minutes on their way to being bundled out for 166 in 31.4 overs -- nowhere near the 448 victory target.

It was the sixth time the beleaguered tourists had been skittled for under 200 in the 10 innings of the 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.

Harris finished with five for 25 in the second innings, while Johnson claimed 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 Clarke was also involved in the previous one. The Australians have now climbed to third in the ICC rankings above England and Pakistan.

"Any time you win a Test match is an amazing feeling, but to win 5-0?" Clarke said.

"I think with this current team, the fact that it's been the rollercoaster ride, the start of 2013 didn't go anywhere near as well as we'd have liked, I think that's what feels so satisfying at the moment, that we've been able to turn things around."

Johnson's spells in the series "certainly match the greats, if not better", he said.

England's hopes vanished with the cheap dismissals of skipper Alastair Cook (7), Ian Bell (16) and Kevin Pietersen (6) 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 on 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 legspinner 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 has 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 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.

"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 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.

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.

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