Image courtesy of: Zimbio
On the final day of an exhilarating Ashes series, Australia demolished England by an innings and 123 runs to secure a dominant 4-0 series win.
The Baggy Greens had already won back the urn after winning the first three Tests, but following a draw in the fourth Test in Melbourne, Australia closed out the series in style as they were once again too much for England to handle.
Starting off the day on 93/4, England captain Joe Root did not come out to bat as he had spent the night in hospital with viral gastroenteritis after vomiting and having bouts of diarrhoea.
Instead, Moeen Ali walked out to the crease, but his time there was short-lived as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Nathan Lyon for 13.
With Moeen gone, Root strode down to the middle amid a generous applause from the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The England skipper, who finished unbeaten on 42 at the end of the fourth day, pushed on with Jonny Bairstow and even brought up his fifty as the tourists made it to lunch without losing another wicket.
Image courtesy of: Zimbio
However, following the lunch break, Root stayed in the dressing room as he was too ill to continue and Tom Curran joined Bairstow in the middle.
But, things took a horrible turn for England in the third over after lunch as Pat Cummins struck twice in three balls, first trapping Bairstow lbw for 38 before having Stuart Broad caught behind for four runs.
Cummins claimed another wicket not long after as debutant Mason Crane was also caught behind for two runs.
Josh Hazlewood finished things off seven overs later as James Anderson was caught behind off his bowling for two runs.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) January 8, 2018
With Root asleep in the dressing room, England were bowled out for 180. Root finished on 58 off 167 balls, which included a solitary boundary.
Cummins was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Lyon snapped up three, and Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc chipped in with one wicket apiece.
With Root in no condition to speak at the presentation ceremony, Anderson stepped up for him and said: “He’s asleep at the minute, it’s taken a toll on him, he’s trying to recover. We’ve been outplayed at key moments, congratulations to Steve, they’ve been the better team.
“They have a fantastic bowling attack and all the batsmen have come to the party. As a bowling group we haven’t created pressure enough of the time. We have a lot of support who travel to watch us and we are very grateful to them.”
Australia captain Steve Smith, who was named Man of the Series for scoring 687 runs at an average of 137.40, was thrilled to have won the Ashes 4-0, and said: “The cricket we’ve played has been outstanding. All the bowlers have taken over 20 wickets so we haven’t relied on one person. Scoring big runs has been key for us. The batters got through tricky periods. England had their foot in the door in all the Tests but we’ve been able to win key moments.
“It’s been a really exciting series and we have played good cricket. It’s been nice to have these Tests without any injuries, a lot of work went into it. Can be tough to take 20 wickets and the guys were outstanding. Can’t thank them enough for that, proud of everyone. I just love being in the middle, doing a job for my team. I work very hard, my mind is in as good of a space as it’s ever been. I’m really proud of being able to lead from the front.”
Cummins was named Man of the Match, and said: “I couldn’t have asked for much more. To get through the five, win the series. It’s been a lot of fun, we are all really close and have played a lot of cricket together. Nathan held up an end which means the rest of us can attack.”