agencies
Sydney, 5 January
Australia completed a 5-0 Ashes clean sweep against England today as the hapless tourists crumbled to a humiliating 281-run defeat in the fifth Test in Sydney.
Demoralised England capitulated after tea against the home side’s pace attack, losing seven wickets in 52 minutes on their way to being bundled out for 166 in 31.4 overs — getting nowhere near the 448 target for victory. It was the sixth time the beleaguered tourists had been skittled for under 200 in the series and the crushing defeat is expected to have major ramifications for English cricket just months after they beat Australia 3-0 in England.
Paceman Ryan Harris finished with five for 25 and man-of-the-series Mitchell Johnson — who took 37 wickets in the five matches — had figures of 3-40.
Skipper Alastair Cook (7), Ian Bell (16) and Kevin Pietersen (6) all fell in the middle session as England limped to tea on 87-3 but it was carnage after the interval as four wickets tumbled in two overs with the tourists falling apart against inspired Australian bowling and fielding. Michael Carberry (43) feathered Mitchell Johnson to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin just two balls after the resumption and three balls later debutant Gary Ballance was trapped plumb in front by Johnson for seven.
Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow was caught close in by George Bailey off spinner Nathan Lyon for a three-ball duck and debutant legspinner Scott Borthwick was magnificently caught by skipper Michael Clarke off Lyon for four.
Aussies ready:
Michael Clarke said Australia will take the greatest bowling attack in world cricket to South Africa next month in a bid to challenge the number one Test side, after securing a 5-0 Ashes whitewash. The  skipper knows that Graeme Smith’s Proteas will give his side an idea of where they stand in Test cricket after a lopsided series against England, which culminated in a three-day final Test win.
Cook&’s role:
Captain Alastair Cook said today he knows what it takes to rebuild shattered England from the rubble of their 5-0 Ashes series humiliation against Australia.
Cook said he has been given the vote of confidence from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to continue on as captain as England look to rebuild after sliding to fourth in the ICC rankings below Australia at three.