Sydney: Australia romped to an innings and 123 victory over England after dismissing the tourists for 180 on the final day of the fifth Test on Monday to complete a 4-0 Ashes triumph that fell short of a whitewash but was little less emphatic.
England captain Joe Root raced from his hospital bed, where he had been treated overnight for gastroenteritis, to try to rescue a face-saving draw but when he failed to reappear after lunch the die was cast for the tourists.
Australia’s bowling attack — the potency of which has been one of the main points of difference between the two sides — mopped up the last four batsmen at the cost of just 36 runs after the break at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Paceman Pat Cummins removed Jonny Bairstow (38), Stuart Broad (4) and Mason Crane (2) to finish with figures of 4-39, while Nathan Lyon (3-54) had taken the only wicket of the opening session as he continued his dominance of Moeen Ali.
Josh Hazlewood performed the coup de grace when he had James Anderson caught behind for two.
Australia’s batsmen also played a full part in the return of the coveted urn, with Mitchell Marsh, his brother Shaun and Usman Khawaja all getting into three figures as the hosts made 649 declared in their reply to England’s first innings 346.
England managed only three centuries to Australia’s nine over the series, with home skipper Steve Smith single-handedly matching their tally.
The tourists will, however, take pride from refusing to buckle despite being outclassed in four of the five Tests and Root’s determination to bat on Monday while clearly unwell typified their fighting spirit.
The 27-year-old was 42 not out with England 93 for four — still 210 runs from forcing Australia to bat again — at close of play on day four but experienced diarrhoea and vomiting overnight and was taken to hospital for treatment.
England initially said he was treated for severe dehydration but later revised the diagnosis to viral gastroenteritis that had nothing to do with Sunday’s high temperatures at the ground.
The skipper reached the ground in time for the start of play but out-of-form Moeen went out to bat in his stead, making 13 before almost inevitably falling lbw to Lyon.
Off spinner Lyon dismissed the all-rounder seven times in nine innings over the series with four of those leg before decisions.
Root received an ovation when he came out to resume his innings and had soon secured his 37th test half century with three runs to fine leg.
He suffered a recurrence of the symptoms during the lunch break, though, and Tom Curran, who finished the day 23 not out, came out to bat in his place for the second session, leaving Root retired hurt for 58.