Ricky Ponting’s team has gone into the history books to become only the second Australian side to win the Ashes 5-0. The last time and the only time this whitewash was achieved dates back to 1920-21!
England were done and dusted in the morning session of the fourth day’s play. They were bowled out for a paltry 147 in their second innings which left a target of 46 for the Aussies which they did without any loss for a 10-wicket win. This match is the last Test for Justin Langer, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath who bid goodbye to the game with this memorable series victory. While Justin Langer and Shane Warne will disappear out of International Cricket, Glenn McGrath will continue to play the ODIs till the completion of the World Cup.
Justin Langer’s last innings for Australia was a 20 not out. England at the start of their second innings were trailing behind by 102 runs. Their second innings lasted only 58 overs. Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath picked up three wickets each while Stuart Clark and Shane Warne picked up two wickets and one wicket respectively. Warne could bowl only six overs in his last bowl for his country. England had resumed the fourth day’s play at 114 for 5, their last five wickets fell for just 33 runs in 15 overs.
The toss for this fifth and final test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground was won by Andrew Flintoff who opted to bat first. His side put on a promising 234 for 4 at the close of the opening day with Ian Bell scoring 71. But in the second day’s play, it was a typical batting collapse with six wickets going for 57 runs in less than a session. Andrew Flintoff managed to score a series best 89. The three fast bowlers Lee, McGrath and Clark took three wickets each and Shane Warne took the wicket of Panesar. Having bowled out for 291, England fought back by reducing the Aussies to 188 for 4 at the end of the second day’s play.
Autsralia having overcome the early loss of Hussey on the third day’s morning session was determined to bat England out of the game. They did so through Adam Gilchrist who made 62 and Shane Warne smashing a 65-ball 72. Warney will end his career with a highest score of 99! The Aussies got to 393 which gave them a 102-run lead. James Anderson took three wickets for his side while Harmison and Panesar took a couple each.
The Man of the Match award had gone to Stuart Clark for taking 5 wickets and scoring a useful 35. The Player of the Series had been given to the Australia Skipper, Ricky Ponting who saved his side from tricky situations.