UK & World News
Ashes: Australia Thrash England In 5-0 Sweep
England's cricket captain has apologised after Australia crushed England by 281 runs to claim a 5-0 Ashes series whitewash on the third day of the final Test in Sydney.
Alistair Cook said sorry to England fans who had travelled to Australia only to see the team "hit rock bottom".
"It's tough knowing you've played in five games and been beaten badly in five games," he told the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
"We weren't good enough to turn it around.† When you hit rock bottom the only way is up. We have to look at ourselves, look at where we want to go.
"We have a huge amount of talent in England. We haven't shown it in these five games."
Addressing the England fans, he added: "I'm sorry we've let you down, we haven't played very well but we really do appreciate your support."
The 5-0 series sweep was only the third in the history of Ashes encounters after Australia's 1920-21 and 2006-07 triumphs.
The humiliating defeat for England is expected to have major ramifications for English cricket after they beat Australia 3-0 just months ago.
Sky's Australia correspondent Jonathan Samuels, in Sydney, said: "When England arrived here they were over-confident and they under-estimated how angry and determined Australia was going to be.
"England were riding high on the back of three Ashes wins, but their batsmen haven't performed; even Graham Gooch, who has been coaching the batsmen has been questioning the techniques he's been passing onto them.
"It wasn't the most exceptional side Australia put out, but their bowlers have been quite remarkable."
England coach Andy Flower conceded his team "underperformed badly" throughout the Ashes series, but he paid tribute to the Australian team.
"We've underperformed in the first innings for quite a long period of time. We haven't scored many runs, haven't scored any first innings above 400 for a long†time, and people lost confidence early on in this tour.
"The pace rocked the batting order in the first Test and we never quite recovered.
"I would like to pay tribute to the Australia camp. Their bowling attack has been outstanding.
"We've seen a sustained style of bowling, exceptional pressure and (Mitchell) Johnson's pace has been a huge difference between the two sides."
During the game England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow was caught by George Bailey off a ball from spinner Nathan Lyon for a three-ball duck and Scott Borthwick was magnificently caught by skipper Michael Clarke off another Lyon ball for just four runs.
England skipper Alastair Cook, Ian Bell,and Kevin Pietersen all fell in the middle session as England limped to tea on just 87-3.
Cook, who has endured a miserable series with the bat, was caught behind off Johnson for seven and was followed by Bell, who was snapped up the gully off Ryan Harris.
Things got worse after the interval as Australia took four wickets in just two overs, England despairing against inspired Australian bowling and fielding.†
Stuart Broad managed to hit four sixes and three fours to take 42 runs off 36 balls before he was bowled by Harris, and Boyd Rankin was the last man out, caught overhead by Clarke at second slip to complete the victory.
The tourists capitulated against the home side's attack by losing seven wickets in under an hour and were beaten for 166 in 31.4 overs; which was not even close to the 448 target they needed for a win.
It is the second time in three away Ashes series that† England has lost all five test matches. The last time was in 2006 to 2007 when Australia were considered a much†stronger side.
Today's result also means Australia have overtaken England in the International Cricket Council rankings as the England team dropped to fourth place.
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