The Ashes: Australia crush England at the MCG
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Chris Rogers struck a sparkling century to fire Australia to a dominant eight-wicket win in the fourth Ashes Test on Sunday, leaving an insipid England staring down the barrel of a humiliating series whitewash.
The victory, completed before tea on day four, pushed Australia to a 4-0 series lead and the prospect of sweeping England in the fifth and final Test in Sydney seven years after Ricky Ponting's team whitewashed the tourists in 2006-07.
Needing quick wickets to have any chance of salvaging pride at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, England were let down badly by their captain Alastair Cook, who put down two catches at first slip in the first half-hour to reprieve Rogers on 19 and his opening partner David Warner for 22.
Though Warner lasted only three more runs, Rogers combined with number three batsman Shane Watson to flog a demoralised attack, their carefree partnership of 136 putting the hosts within 31 runs of victory before the opener succumbed for 116.
Australia captain Michael Clarke (six not out) joined Watson (83 not out) to administer the last rites for England, who played out the final sessions with a deflating weariness that allowed the hosts to mow through the 231 runs required for victory without breaking sweat.
Watson whipped a boundary square to secure the win in style, and charged down the sun-bathed pitch with arms raised as a crowd of more than 38,000 roared their approval.
"We've had our ups and downs. There's no doubt that the winning feeling is back in our camp," Clarke told reporters after his team finished a tough year that started with nine straight Tests without a win on a high.
"Today could have went one or two ways.
"We could have just got over the line but I think because the boys just have so much confidence in their own ability and in the work that they've been putting in, we ended up winning quite convincing today."
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