The Final Ashes Test: England 3 : 1 Australia
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Paul Collingwood could not have wished for a better stage to retire from Test Cricket. The Ashes retained in Sydney after 24 years with a 3-1 series win alongside the wicket of Michael Hussey with his final ball in Test Cricket.
The final margin of victory was an innings and 83 runs and it was the first time Australia had lost three games in a series by more than an innings.
Australia made 281 in their first innings and it was the story of the series with batsmen getting in before throwing it away on a pitch helpful to both sides.
Mitchell Johnson made 53, Shane Watson 45, Usman Khawaja 37, Michael Hussey 33, Ben Hilfenhaus 34 and Phil Hughes 31, but Australia needed these players to go on, which just didn't happen.
James Anderson, who misses the Twenty20 matches and a couple of the ODIs as he rests at home, took 4-66. Graeme Swann claimed 1-37 and Collingwood, 1-5.
Even England's replacements stood up as Tim Bresnan (3-89) and Chris Tremlett (1-71) shared wickets.
England then proceeded to take the game away from Australia as man of the match and series Alastair Cook amassed 189, Matt Prior hit 118 and Ian Bell made 115 in a total of 644.
Mitchell Johnson took 4-168 at 4.66 runs per over, Hilfenhaus 3-121, Shane Watson 1-49, debutant Michael Beer 1-112 and Peter Siddle 1-111.
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The home side were well beaten by this point, but at least took the match into Day 5 as they scored 280 second time around.
Steven Smith (54 not out) and Peter Siddle (43) at least frustrated England on that final morning, along with the weather, but it was only a matter of time before the tourists claimed a thoroughly deserved victory.
Anderson again among the wickets with 3-61, Tremlett 3-79, Bresnan 2-51 and Swann 1-75.
In the short term, both sides can look ahead to the Twenty20 and ODI matches as they build towards the World Cup.
In the long term, England will look to keep the nucleus of this side as they host Sri Lanka and India in the hope of becoming the number one test team, with the only questions being who will replace Paul Collingwood and will Stuart Broad and Steven Finn come back into the team.
For Australia, the questions are much tougher to answer. Captain in this game Michael Clarke has retired from Twenty20 cricket meaning Cameron White will skipper that side but whether Ricky Ponting will even make a return to the test side, let alone captain it, is unclear.
The home side used 17 players during the series, only Michael Hussey who averaged 63.33 with the bat, Shane Watson 48.33 and Brad Haddin 45 can say personal performances were decent.
The bowlers didn't look potent enough, Mitchell Johnson ended leading wicket taker with a 36.93 average but was often belted around the park. Peter Siddle was better with 14 wickets at 34.57 but the pick was injured Ryan Harris with 11 wickets at 25.54.
Australia leave the test arena behind for now and will look to salvage something out of this tour with victory in the Twenty20s or ODIs but in the main event they were soundly beaten.
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