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Ashes whitewash

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Monday, January 06, 2014

SYDNEY - Australia's blazing Ashes whitewash is complete, after Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson finished England off inside three days of the fifth Test at the SCG.

England collapsed in humiliating circumstances to hand Australia a comprehensive 281-run victory and the third 5-0 clean-sweep in Ashes history.

After England won 3-0 to secure the urn for a third consecutive series in the UK last year, Australia have answered four months later with the most emphatic turnaround imaginable under the leadership of Michael Clarke and Darren Lehmann.

Johnson was named man-of-the-series ahead of keeper Brad Haddin after taking 37 wickets at 13.9, while Harris was named man-of-the-match for his eight wickets across two innings.

"It's something I'll cherish for rest of my life, very special," said Johnson.

Set an improbable target of 448 to win in Sydney after another Chris Rogers century, England were all out for 166 late on Sunday.

When Harris took the last wicket of Boyd Rankin to complete a five-wicket haul, the Australians converged in a huddle in front of a packed house and Nathan Lyon led an early rendition of the team song, before the team performed a lap of honour.

"5-0 how about that," said Harris.

"The feeling in Perth was unbelievable but to clean sweep a series, far out how good is it.

"Wanted to make sure we kept it going the whole series and we did ... it's amazing we were able to do that and keep the faith of selectors.

"It's different (singing the team song on field). It's what Lyno wanted, it's what we do. We're going to enjoy this I'll tell you now."

Johnson (3-40) took two wickets in the over afer tea, and pave the way for pace ally Harris (5-25) to do the rest.

Harris played a superb support act this series with 22 wickets at 19.3

With more than two days left in the match, England surrendered meekly, with their three best batsmen Alastair Cook (7), Ian Bell (16) and Kevin Pietersen (6) rolling over to leave the tourists precariously placed at 3-87 at tea.

Any hope of England showing fight and taking the game into a fourth day were dashed when they lost 4-8 in 17 balls at the hands of Johnson and Lyon after tea.

Australia won 5-0 in 1920-21 and 2006-07, but the charge led by Michael Clarke's men was arguably the most ruthless of all.

It's the first time Australia have taken all 100 wickets in a five-match Ashes series, and they maintained an unchanged XI from start to finish, for the first time ever in five matches, to do it.

Johnson and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin have been the runaway stars for Australia.

The left-arm fast bowler went from enigma to unstoppable force by taking the most wickets by an Australian fast bowler in a five-match Ashes series, placing him ninth on the all-time list.

Haddin was another who not so long ago thought he'd played his last Test - only to defy his 36 years and save Australia on countless occasions.

The wicketkeeper finished second on the run-scoring list, scored a half century in every first innings of the series.


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