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England crushes Australia for Ashes

Claims the series in Australia after a gap of 24 years

— PHOTO: AP

FABULOUS FEAT:England players' joy knows no bounds after completing a comprehensive Ashes series victory in Sydney on Friday.

SYDNEY: Dominant England claimed its first Ashes series in Australia for 24 years with its 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 it 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.

Overpowering batting

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.

England 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.

Huge wins

England was 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 top scorer 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. Anderson finished the series with 24 wickets, the most by any England bowler since Frank Tyson took 28 in 1954-55 and wicketkeeper Matt Prior took 23 catches in the series.England was the last team to beat Australia at the SCG in 2003 when Andy Caddick claimed 7-94 after Michael Vaughan had amassed 183 in the second innings to pull off a massive 225-run triumph.

England has now won 22 times in Sydney in 54 Tests.

Pretty special: Strauss

Andrew Strauss acclaimed England's emphatic first Ashes series triumph as “pretty special. “It feels pretty special if I'm honest,” skipper Strauss said.

“Until an Ashes series is finally over you've got half an eye on what's to come, so even in Melbourne (fourth Test) we were still very conscious that we wanted to finish on a high and show people that we deserved to win this series. — AFP

England — 1st innings: 644.

Australia — 1st innings: 280.

Australia — 2nd innings: S. Watson (run out) 38, P. Hughes c Prior b Bresnan 13, U. Khawaja c Prior b Anderson 21, M. Clarke c Prior b Anderson 41, M. Hussey c Pietersen b Bresnan 12, B. Haddin c Prior b Tremlett 30, S. Smith (not out) 54, M. Johnson b Tremlett 0, P. Siddle c Anderson b Swann 43, B. Hilfenhaus c Prior b Anderson 7, M. Beer b Tremlett 2; Extras (b-11, lb-4, w-3, nb-2) 20. Total (in 84.4 overs) 281.

Fall of wickets: 1-46, 2-52, 3-117, 4-124, 5-161, 6-171, 7-171, 8-257, 9-267.

England bowling: Anderson 18-5-61-3, Tremlett 20.4-4-79-3, Swann 28-8-75-1, Bresnan 18-6-51-2 .

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