Sydney, January 5:

Australia completed the most crushing Ashes series victory in 86 years on Friday, sending bowling greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath into Test retirement with a 5-0 sweep of England.

Opening batsman Justin Langer (20), the third veteran retiring after the match, combined with Matthew Hayden to pick off the 46 runs needed as Australia won the fifth Test by 10 wickets after England was skittled for 147 in its second innings.

Hayden (23) hit a six off Sajid Mahmood to make the scores level, then took a single from the next ball for the winner. The Australians have now won 16 and drawn one of their 17 Test matches since the shock Ashes series loss in England in 2005, including the last 12 in succession.

Ricky Ponting, widely criticised after being the first Australian captain in 16 years to lose the Ashes when his squad went down 2-1 in England 16 months ago, guided the hosts to a clinical and ruthless series triumph this time. Warwick Armstrong’s side of 1920-21 is the only other team to sweep a five-match Ashes series. Ponting was voted player of the series after scoring 576 runs at an average of 82, including two hundreds.

“It’s a great thrill for me,” said Ponting, adding that he’d felt confident after the first hour of the first Test in Brisbane on November 23 that Australia would reclaim the Ashes.

England resumed on the fourth morning at the Sydney Cricket Ground at 114 for five and lost its last five wickets for 33 runs in just over an hour.

Warne and McGrath, ranked No 1 and No 3 on the list of all-time wicket takers in Test cricket, bowled in tandem at the last English pair. McGrath took the last wicket — No 11 James Anderson (5) scooping a catch to Mike Hussey at mid-on — to return 3-38.

Warne finished his career with a world record 708 Test wickets. McGrath have 563 Test wickets and is the leading Test paceman of all time.


ENGLAND — 1st innings: 291

AUSTRALIA — 1st innings: 393

ENGLAND — 2nd innings: (overnight 114-5)

K Pietersen c Gilchrist b McGrath 29

M Panesar run out 0

C Read c Ponting b Lee 4

S Mahmood b McGrath 4

S Harmison not out 16

J Anderson c Hussey b McGrath 5

Extras: 9 (b2, lb3, w1, nb3)

Total: 147

FoW: 1-5, 2-55, 3-64, 4-98, 5-113, 6-114, 7-114, 8-122, 9-123

Australia bowling: Lee 14-5-39-3, McGrath 21-11-38-3, Clark 12-4-29-2, Warne 6-1-23-1, Symonds 5-2-13-0

AUSTRALIA — 2nd innings

J Langer not out 20

M Hayden not out 23

Extras: 3 (lb3)

Total: 46 (without loss)

England bowling: Anderson 4-0-12-0, Harmison 5-1-13-0, Mahmood 1.5-0-18-0