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Jan 7, 2011

England win the Ashes Series 3-1

England won the fifth Ashes Test by an innings and 83 runs on Friday to claim a first series triumph in Australia in nearly a quarter of a century.

The tourists, who had already ensured they would retain the famous urn, needed a little more than 17 overs to remove Australia's last three batsmen on day five of the final Test to win the Ashes series 3-1.

"We came over here desperately wanting to win the series. Obviously in Melbourne we retained the Ashes but we really wanted to finish with a bang over here in Sydney," an ecstatic Andrew Strauss said on the podium.

"All credit to the guys, they've been outstanding again, the way the bowlers bowled on day one, the batsmen dipped their bread in it again and we got another victory."

"So we're delighted with what we've done and we're certainly going to enjoy this evening, that's for sure."

Australia have lost series by bigger margins but in more than 130 years of Test cricket they had never conceded three defeats by an innings or more in a series against any country.

Stand-in skipper Michael Clarke had been handed the unenviable task of leading a demoralised Australia side into the final test after Ricky Ponting was ruled out with a broken finger.

"It's been a tough couple of months to be honest, we've been outplayed in all facets of the game," said Clarke, who like Ponting failed to inspire his team with the bat throughout the series.

"I think England have shown us what execution and discipline does with the ball and they've managed to go and make some big scores with the bat as well."

"Obviously I'm very disappointed like all the boys. We didn't perform as well as we'd have liked."

Free entry had ensured a half full house as the tourists performed the final rites but it was dominated by England fans with the Barmy Army's songs and chants echoing around the famous ground.

They celebrated wildly as England, just four years after suffering a first Ashes clean sweep in 86 years, matched the achievement of Mike Gatting's touring party of 1986-87.

Alastair Cook was named Man of the Match and won the Compton-Miller medal as Man of the Series.

The England opener made 189 in Sydney and 766 runs at an average of 127.66 over the fives Tests, the second highest by an Englishman in an Ashes series.

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