Australia hails 'unlikely heroes' for complete Ashes win

The Ashes AustraliaAustralia cricket players Ryan Harris left, Mitchell Johnson center, and Nathan Lyon walk together after Australia won the fifth and final Ashes Test in Sydney (AP)

Australia hailed the most complete Ashes triumph in nearly 137 years of cricketing rivalry with England on Monday, the media paying tribute to the "unlikely heroes" who claimed a 5-0 series sweep.

"Legends", read the banner headline on the front page of the popular Daily Telegraph, "How sweet it is" splashed the Sydney Morning Herald, while The Australian went with "'Unchangeables' begin new era with whitewash".

Despite being only the third such Ashes sweep, there is a recognition inside and outside the team camp that the current Australia line-up cannot yet be compared with the last team to do it, Ricky Ponting's star-studded 2006-7 outfit.

While that team featured the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke's party is largely made up of rejuvenated veterans like Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin and honest triers like Peter Siddle and Chris Rogers.

"This five-Test whitewash was special because nothing remotely similar was expected of this lot," Peter Lalor wrote on the front page of the Australian.

"In 2006-07 a team of champions did as champions do, while in 2013-14 a group of good cricketers touched greatness."

It was a triumph born in pace bowling with Johnson, Ryan Harris and Siddle helping Australia, unchanged for all five Tests, achieve what the 1920-21 and the 2006-7 teams could not manage - take all 100 England wickets for the first time.

"The spine will tingle even as the memory fades," Malcolm Knox wrote in the Herald of a series which he said would be long remembered.

"There has been one common refrain: that shiver of excitement when Australia's fast bowlers get going.

"Misty-eyed veterans talk of Lillee and Thomson, or Lindwall and Miller.

"Since the original whitewash, in 1920-21, the summer of Jack Gregory and Ted McDonald, the dangerous thrill of very fast bowling has been the animating spirit of Australian cricket."

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