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01-08-2011, 01:54 AM #1
England crush Australia to take Ashes series after 24 yearsDominant England claimed their first Ashes series in Australia for 24 years with their third innings victory over the home team in the final Sydney Test on Friday.
England wrapped up an innings and 83-run victory early on the last day after victory was assured when they had Australia seven wickets down on Thursday's close.
It was England's first series victory Down Under since Mike Gatting's team beat Australia 2-1 in 1986-87.
The tourists posted their highest-ever score in Australia on 644 and dismissed the hapless hosts for 280 and 281.
It was probably England's most comprehensive performance of the series with Alastair Cook (189), Matt Prior (118) and Ian Bell (115) all claiming centuries in an overpowering first innings lasting 177.5 overs and 758 minutes.
Their bowlers, led by leading series wicket-taker James Anderson, exposed the gulf between the two attacks by dismissing Australia cheaply again.
Steven Smith and Peter Siddle showed some fight with an 86-run eighth-wicket partnership before Siddle holed out to Anderson on the square leg boundary off Graeme Swann for 43 off 65 balls.
Ben Hilfenhaus fell to Anderson caught behind for seven and debutant Michael Beer was the last Australian wicket to fall, bowled by Chris Tremlett for two.
Smith remained unbeaten on 54 in 132 minutes.
England were a potent force during the series, overpowering Australia in huge wins in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, with the Australians winning the third Perth Test. The opening Brisbane Test was drawn.
Alastair Cook was the series topscorer with 766 at 127.66, second only to Wally Hammond's 905 in 1928-29 for most runs for England in a series in Australia....being a human...