AUSTRALIA COMPLETED A 5-0 Ashes clean sweep in the early hours of Sunday morning as England fell to a humiliating 281-run defeat in the fifth and final test in Sydney.
It was yet another batting collapse from the tourists as they lost seven wickets in a 52-minute spell after tea to fall from 87 for 2 to 166 all out in just 31.4 overs.
It was the sixth time England have scored less than 200 in the five-match series and meant they got nowhere near their victory target of 448.
Paceman Ryan Harris finished with five for 25 to be named man-of-the-match, while man-of-the-series Mitchell Johnson — who took 37 wickets in the five matches — had a relatively quiet day by recent standards recording figures of 3-40.
The crushing defeat for England comes just months after they beat Australia 3-0 at home, a result that prompted some pundits — notably Ian Botham — to predict a 5-0 win for Alastair Cook’s men.
It is the third time Australia has achieved a 5-0 series clean sweep over England, after 1920-21 and 2006-07, and the result means the Australians have now climbed to third in the ICC rankings above England and Pakistan.
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 they limped to tea on 87-3.
But the result was inevitable after the interval as four wickets tumbled in two overs, with the tourists falling apart against inspired Australian bowling and fielding.
Earlier in the day, former Ireland cricketer Boyd Rankin claimed his maiden Test wicket as he bowled Peter Siddle to end the Australian innings.
Additional reporting from AFP.