The Ashes: Australia crush England to seal 5-0 sweep

AustraliaThe Australian cricket team poses with their trophy following their victory over England on day 3 of their Ashes cricket test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. Australia won the match by 281 runs and the Ashes series 5-0. AP/PTI

Australia obliterated England's batting in a shade over 31 overs to claim a thumping 281-run fifth test victory with more than two days to spare and seal only the third 5-0 sweep in the long history of Ashes series on Sunday.

The triumph at a sunbaked Sydney Cricket Ground completed a remarkable turnaround for Australia, who were in disarray after being swept themselves in India and going down 3-0 in England to lose a third successive Ashes series last year.

A big clue to how Australia managed that turnaround came when paceman Mitchell Johnson was awarded the Compton-Miller medal as Man of the Series after taking 37 wickets at a shade under 14 apiece over the five tests.

Johnson's ferocious pace again played an integral part in Australia's victory in Sydney but it was no one man show and his fellow quick Ryan Harris won Man of the Match honours after taking five for 25 as England were skittled for 166 on Sunday.

"It's very special after the roller-coaster ride, the ups and downs of 2013," said Australia captain Michael Clarke, who also played in the 2006-7 sweep but clearly not that of 1920-21.

"It's been a lot of work to get us where we are today. I said to the bowlers at the start of the series that I thought they were the best attack in the world and I think they've shown that in five test matches."

Johnson's revival was even more remarkable than that achieved by Australia, turning him from a figure of ridicule for England's travelling Barmy Army into a bowler who struck fear into the touring batsmen.

It was his intervention after tea on Sunday that turned what had been a stately progression to victory into another humiliating rout for the tourists.

After finally dismissing Chris Rogers for 119 and bowling Australia out for 276, England stumbled to the break on 87 for three chasing a highly improbable 448 for victory.

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