sport

Clarke: Hard work paid off

Michael Clarke hailed his Ashes-winning bowling attack as the best in the world after Australia sealed a 5-0 whitewash over England in Sydney.

Led by Mitchell Johnson, who took 37 wickets, the attack which also includes Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, backed by off-spinner Nathan Lyon, once again blew England away on day three at the SCG, bowling them out for 166 to complete a 281-run win.

"They've done a fantastic job," Clarke said. "We had a brief conversation before the first Test match and I remember saying to those three fast bowlers that in my opinion they are the best attack in the world.

"I think Nathan Lyon complements that and they've shown that [they are the best]. They've earned that mantle."

Clarke had praise for his entire team and the work they put in during and after the recent tour of England, which they lost 3-0.

"I said throughout the England series, the work the guys were putting in behind the scenes they would get their rewards," Clarke said. "It just seemed to take a little longer than we'd have liked.

"This series is an indication of the hard work the guys have put in in the last 12 months. They deserve the reward of winning 5-0."

Johnson was named man-of-the-series after terrorising the England batting line-up.

"That's something I'm going to cherish for the rest of my life," he said. "It's very special.

"We didn't expect to be here 5-0, but after England when I came into the team the guys were happy with how they were performing and looked like they were on track.

"The way we started the series was where it all went well for us. I'm absolutely exhausted now. It's a huge relief to finish the Test series but we all feel confident we can play back-to-back cricket, we've shown that, keep our speeds up, keep our accuracy up and keep working well as a bowling unit"

Coach Darren Lehmann vowed there was more to come from his team.

"The boys have played well, they deserve everything," he told Sky Sports. "I'm really proud of what they've achieved as a group.

"They're well drilled, I'm really pleased with what they've taken on board. They stuck to their guns, bar maybe a couple of hours in Perth, they were excellent.

"This is hopefully just the start of good things to come."

Meanwhile the players revelled in the experience of a 5-0 win.

Brad Haddin, who ran Johnson close for man of the series with his lower-order runs, said: "The feeling around the group is outstanding. We deserved to finish the way we did today. The cricket we've played throughout the series has been outstanding."

Asked if he was pondering retirement, he said "No, this is too good a feeling."

Harris said: "Five-nil, How about that? It's unbelievable. To clean sweep the series - how good is it?"

Lyon added: "There's a lot of emotion out there. To beat England 5-0, it's been a massive series. It's fantastic. It's going to be one hell of a party."

Steve Smith, who made a century to set up the win in the final Test, enjoyed finishing the series off in front of an SCG ground dressed largely in pink in honour of Jane McGrath Day.

"The sea of pink in the crowd, to end it today is an amazing feeling," he said. "Five-nil - how good's that? I'm shaking at the moment.

"It's so surreal to have finished this series 5-0 - we wouldn't have thought it at the start of the series."