The England batting line-up disintegrated once again on the third day of the fifth Ashes Test match, allowing Australia to complete a 5-0 series whitewash.
It was a collapse much befitting of the embarrassing manner in which the tourists have played in the series to date. They were bowled out for 166 in their second innings; the sixth time they’ve been blown away for a score of less than 200 in their 10 batting innings on tour.
|5th Test: Australia vs England at Sydney|
|Australian Second Innings: 276 (61.3 overs)|
|CJL Rogers||c & b Borthwick||119||273||169|
|DA Warner||lbw b Anderson||16||30||20|
|SR Watson||c †Bairstow b Anderson||9||18||9|
|MJ Clarke*||c †Bairstow b Broad||6||25||18|
|SPD Smith||c Cook b Stokes||7||28||12|
|GJ Bailey||c Borthwick b Broad||46||109||74|
|BJ Haddin†||b Borthwick||28||39||40|
|MG Johnson||b Stokes||4||4||3|
|RJ Harris||c Carberry b Borthwick||13||14||10|
|PM Siddle||c †Bairstow b Rankin||4||12||6|
|NM Lyon||not out||6||9||10|
|Extras||(lb 14, w 2, nb 2)||18|
|Total||(all out; 61.3 overs)||276|
|England 2nd Innings: 166 (31.4 overs)|
|AN Cook*||c †Haddin b Johnson||7||8||12|
|MA Carberry||c †Haddin b Johnson||43||95||63|
|IR Bell||c Warner b Harris||16||32||19|
|KP Pietersen||c Bailey b Harris||6||20||10|
|GS Ballance||lbw b Johnson||7||34||27|
|BA Stokes||b Harris||32||36||16|
|JM Bairstow†||c Bailey b Lyon||0||4||3|
|SG Borthwick||c Clarke b Lyon||4||3||2|
|SCJ Broad||b Harris||42||35||36|
|JM Anderson||not out||1||11||1|
|WB Rankin||c Clarke b Harris||0||2||2|
|Extras||(b 5, lb 2, nb 1)||8|
|Total||(all out; 31.4 overs)||166|
|ESPN Cric Info|
It was inevitable Australia were going to win this Test match, but like they have done throughout the course of the series, they were aggressive and relentless in their attacking of an English team gripped with doubt, apprehension and downright fear.
After tucking in on Day 2, Chris Rogers completed his century in the first hour as Australia looked to score quickly. The opener eventually went for 119 after being caught and bowled by Ashes debutant Scott Borthwick. George Bailey and Brad Haddin added 46 and 28 respectively, and along with some scant contributions from the Aussie tail-enders, the hosts set England a lofty 448 to win.
But once again, it quickly became apparent this English team just doesn’t have the stomach for this kind of fight. Instead, they batted in a manner suggesting they were looking to be on the first flight out of Sydney tomorrow; Australia had the Test match won within 32 overs.
Mitchell Johnson, a player who was later named man of the series, had England skipper Alastair Cook caught behind for just seven. Not long after, man of the match Ryan Harris had Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen caught for 16 and 6 respectively, leaving England staring down the barrel of yet another measly score.
Michael Carberry offered some resistance with his 43, but it represented another failure to convert a good start into a big score from the Hampshire opener. He fell in identical fashion to Cook, before Johnson had Gary Ballance pinned LBW for seven.
Jonny Bairstow and Borthwick soon followed, both falling to the spin of Nathan Lyon for zero and four respectively, and England looked capable of being blitzed out for a double-figure total.
Resistance from Ben Stokes (32) and Stuart Broad (42) saved them from that level of embarrassment, but it was merely prolonging the inevitable. The Aussie bowling attack looked intent on notching themselves a couple of days off, and after Harris rearranged the stumps of both Stokes and Broad, the end was nigh.
Boyd Rankin was the last man out and England were well beaten again, falling 281 runs short.
Naturally, Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was delighted post-match, per BBC Sport:
It's an extremely special occasion. The support we have had from all around Australia has been sensational.
Throughout the series in England, I knew the boys would get their rewards for their hard work. They deserve to win 5-0. I told the three fast bowlers that they are the best pace attack in the world and I think they have earned that mantle.
Alastair and the England team deserve credit because it was a hard-fought series. England are a wonderful team - they were once number one in the world.
English skipper Cook was not about to assume the role of valiant loser. Instead, he accepted responsibility, but reaffirmed his belief that he is the right man to turn things round, per BBC Sport:
I feel pretty chastened. It's a tough moment for us all, we deserve nothing less.
If it was a boxing match it would have been stopped. There is a lot of frustration that we have not played very well. It's all gone pretty wrong. We have been totally outplayed and that is the hardest thing to take. The crux of the matter is our performances.
I've had the dreaded vote of confidence from the board this morning and I feel like I am the man for the job.
Fingers will be pointed in the aftermath of this series, and a shake-up of an ageing English team is surely imminent. But like Cook, England head coach Andy Flower is adamant he can help turn things around for this team, he told BBC Sport:
This does feel like the end of an era and a chance of some sort of renewal for the England cricket team.
This wasn't good enough so there should be change of some description. It needs wise people making good decisions at the top. We should take a bit of time to review it properly.
I still enjoy the job and find it fascinating. It's a great job and I'm very proud to be associated with English cricket.
The inquest into this series, which has admittedly been a disaster from start to finish, will be arduous and painstaking for the ECB.
Meanwhile, for the second time in three home Ashes series, the Australians can bask in the glory of a well-earned and fully deserved whitewash.
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