Ashes: Australia beat England by innings & 123 runs to seal 4-0 series win

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport in Sydney
Fifth Ashes Test, Sydney Cricket Ground (day five of five)
England 346 (Root 83) & 180 (Root 58 retired ill, Cummins 4-39)
Australia 649-7 dec (Khawaja 171, S Marsh 156, M Marsh 101)
Australia won by an innings and 123 runs; won Ashes 4-0

England's awful Ashes ended with a huge defeat by Australia in the fifth and final Test in Sydney.

The tourists were bowled out for 180, Australia winning by an innings and 123 runs to complete a 4-0 series triumph.

England captain Joe Root spent the morning in hospital with severe dehydration from a bout of gastroenteritis and, although he resumed his innings an hour into the day, could not carry on after lunch and retired on 58.

In his absence, England lost three wickets for 12 runs to Australia pace bowler Pat Cummins, who ended with four in the innings and match figures of 8-119.

James Anderson was the last man out, unhappy to be given caught behind off Josh Hazlewood as the series concluded in the Sydney sunshine.

The Barmy Army defiantly continued to sing and were applauded by the Australia team before they left the field.

Steve Smith's side regained the Ashes by winning the first three Tests - the hosts have won seven of the past eight series down under as well as 15 of their past 20 home Tests against England.

Of the four Test victories England have managed in Australia this century, three came in the series they won in 2010-11.

By the time they return to Australia in 2021, England will have not won a Test here in more than a decade.

They will have the opportunity to regain the Ashes at home in 2019, with their next Test series coming in New Zealand in March, for which the squad is announced on Tuesday.

Root battles after hospital trip

England captain Joe Root during a drinks break
Joe Root converted his overnight 42 into an unbeaten 58 before retiring ill

Root held England together after they were reduced to 15-2 on the fourth evening, scrapping his way to an unbeaten 42 out of 93-4.

His presence seemed England's only hope of an unlikely escape, but he was admitted to hospital on Monday morning. He arrived at the ground before play began, but too late to resume his innings so Moeen Ali accompanied Jonny Bairstow to the crease instead.

They survived for an hour before Moeen was lbw to Nathan Lyon, bringing Root to the middle. Although he was clearly still struggling, taking regular drinks, he reached his fifth half-century of the series.

After his symptoms returned during the break, an "exhausted" Root did not return for the afternoon session.

In his absence, England's lower order crumbled in the face of a ferocious spell from Cummins on a pitch that showed increasing amounts of uneven bounce.

Bairstow was lbw playing across a straight one, while Stuart Broad and Mason Crane were undone by short deliveries.

Tom Curran attacked for 23 and was supported for seven overs by Anderson, who called for a review when he was adjudged to have edged a Hazlewood short ball, only to discover that England had used their two referrals.

England struggle on and off the field

Not only have England struggled on the field in this Ashes, but the tour has been blighted by off-field problems that began even before the squad was named.

All-rounder Ben Stokes was arrested for his part in an altercation outside Bristol nightclub in September and has not played international cricket since.

When England arrived in Australia, Bairstow was accused of 'headbutting' Australia opener Cameron Bancroft, while Lions batsman Ben Duckett poured a drink over Anderson - both incidents occurring in the same Perth bar.

On the field, the deficiencies that have seen England go 11 away Tests away without a win were laid bare.

Their batsmen failed to make the big scores that could have put Australia under pressure, while their attack struggled to take wickets when the ball did not move.

It may be that the tour is remembered more for Stokes' absence than anything that happened on the field, but it is hard to imagine how even his significant presence would have altered the destination of the urn.

Australia power home

Pat Cummins celebrates removing Jonny Bairstow
Pat Cummins claimed 4-39 to finish as the leading wicket-taker in the series with 23

With Australia winning the series by such a large margin, it is easy to forget the questions they faced before the first Test at the Gabba in November.

There were surprise recalls for wicketkeeper Tim Paine and batsman Shaun Marsh and a debut for opener Bancroft.

Although Bancroft failed to build on his 82 in the first Test, Paine has had a solid series and Marsh has made two centuries. When batsman Peter Hanscomb struggled for form, Marsh's brother Mitchell came in and scored two hundreds of his own.

Australia's real strength, though, is the batting of captain Smith and their relentless bowling attack.

Smith's three hundreds and 687 runs in the series have lifted him to second on the International Cricket Council's all-time batting rankings, behind only the great Sir Donald Bradman.

Pace bowlers Cummins, Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc have been fit when it mattered - Starc missed the fourth Test - and, like spinner Lyon, have taken at least 20 wickets. England have not been afforded any respite.

Australia celebrate winning the Ashes
Australia have lost only one home Ashes series since 1986-87

'4-0 is a fair reflection' - what they said

Australia captain Steve Smith: "It's incredibly satisfying. It's been a great couple of months.

"So much work goes in behind the scenes to ensure we've got the right side and we're doing everything we can to win games of cricket.

"I think 4-0 is a pretty fair reflection of how the games have gone."

England bowler James Anderson: "Australia have outplayed us. We can learn a lot from the way they played. Their batsman were patient and applied themselves.

"We did well for periods of time but 60s and 70s aren't going to win you an Ashes series. You need big hundreds, and that's what Australia showed.

"I hope the guys are hurting like I am, watching Australia celebrate. In 2019, we have to make sure we don't feel this again and put on a better show."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan: "The England side that lost 5-0 four years ago, you felt as though the white towel came out very early on the tour.

"You didn't feel that this time around. I've never felt that England have given up. They've just not been good enough."

Man of the match Pat Cummins: "It's been fun to play alongside the other bowlers. We're all really close, we've played a lot of cricket together now.

"What Nathan Lyon has done in this series has been exceptional. He has held up an end and allowed us fast bowlers to run in and attack."

England's miserable tour in numbers

  • England went through a series without taking 20 wickets in a match for the first time since the 2009 tour of the West Indies
  • The 1,003.2 overs England bowled in the series is the most since the 1994-95 Ashes, when they sent down 1,013.4 overs
  • The 58 wickets England have taken is their second lowest tally in a five-Test series in Australia, behind 57 in 1958-59
  • Australia are the first team to go through a five-Test series with only four bowlers taking wickets
  • This is the first Ashes series since 1994-95 when all five Tests have reached the fifth day
How England's Ashes unfolded
First Test, Brisbane: Australia won by 10 wickets
Second Test, Adelaide: Australia won by 120 runs
Third Test, Perth: Australia won by an innings and 41 runs
Fourth Test, Melbourne: Draw
Fifth Test, Sydney: Australia won by an innings and 123 runs
Full tour schedule

If you are viewing this page on the BBC News app please click here to vote.


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.


Top Stories

Cricket coverage


Explore the BBC