Australia beat England to seal series win

England’s awful Ashes ended with a huge defeat by Australia in the fifth and final Test in Sydney.

The tourists were bowled out for 180, Australia winning by an innings and 123 runs to complete a 4-0 series triumph.

England captain Joe Root spent the morning in hospital with severe dehydration from a bout of gastroenteritis and, although he resumed his innings an hour into the day, could not carry on after lunch and retired on 58.

In his absence, England lost three wickets for 12 runs to Australia pace bowler Pat Cummins, who ended with four in the innings and match figures of 8-119.

James Anderson was the last man out, unhappy to be given caught behind off Josh Hazlewood as the series concluded in the Sydney sunshine.

The Barmy Army defiantly continued to sing and were applauded by the Australia team before they left the field.

Steve Smith’s side regained the Ashes by winning the first three Tests – the hosts have won seven of the past eight series down under as well as 15 of their past 20 home Tests against England.

Of the four Test victories England have managed in Australia this century, three came in the series they won in 2010-11.

By the time they return to Australia in 2021, England will have not won a Test here in more than a decade.

They will have the opportunity to regain the Ashes at home in 2019, with their next Test series coming in New Zealand in March, for which the squad is announced on Tuesday.

Root held England together after they were reduced to 15-2 on the fourth evening, scrapping his way to an unbeaten 42 out of 93-4.

His presence seemed England’s only hope of an unlikely escape, but he was admitted to hospital on Monday morning. He arrived at the ground before play began, but too late to resume his innings so Moeen Ali accompanied Jonny Bairstow to the crease instead.

They survived for an hour before Moeen was lbw to Nathan Lyon, bringing Root to the middle. Although he was clearly still struggling, taking regular drinks, he reached his fifth half-century of the series.

After his symptoms returned during the break, an “exhausted” Root did not return for the afternoon session.

In his absence, England’s lower order crumbled in the face of a ferocious spell from Cummins on a pitch that showed increasing amounts of uneven bounce.

Bairstow was lbw playing across a straight one, while Stuart Broad and Mason Crane were undone by short deliveries.

Tom Curran attacked for 23 and was supported for seven overs by Anderson, who called for a review when he was adjudged to have edged a Hazlewood short ball, only to discover that England had used their two referrals.

Not only have England struggled on the field in this Ashes, but the tour has been blighted by off-field problems that began even before the squad was named.

All-rounder Ben Stokes was arrested for his part in an altercation outside Bristol nightclub in September and has not played international cricket since.

When England arrived in Australia, Bairstow was accused of ‘headbutting’ Australia opener Cameron Bancroft, while Lions batsman Ben Duckett poured a drink over Anderson – both incidents occurring in the same Perth bar.

On the field, the deficiencies that have seen England go 11 away Tests away without a win were laid bare.

Their batsmen failed to make the big scores that could have put Australia under pressure, while their attack struggled to take wickets when the ball did not move.

It may be that the tour is remembered more for Stokes’ absence than anything that happened on the field, but it is hard to imagine how even his significant presence would have altered the destination of the urn. (Courtesy BBC)

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