| Man of the Match and Series Michael Vaughan acknowledges the crowd’s applause after England’s triumph in Sydney on Monday. (AFP)
Sydney: England crushed Australia by 225 runs on Monday to win the fifth Ashes Test and end the series on a high-note after being thumped in the four previous matches.
Veteran paceman Andy Caddick captured seven wickets in an inspired display of fast bowling as Australia collapsed to be all out for 226 in their second innings chasing 452 to win.
“It was a great Test match, one of the best I’ve ever played in,” England captain Nasser Hussain said. “But let’s not suddenly make out everything’s turned round. It’s the same old story really, we lost the Ashes 4-1, that’s the bottom line.”
Australia resumed the final day at 91 for three, needing to bat through the entire day on a crumbling Sydney Cricket Ground pitch to save the Test, but folded quickly to be all out 48 minutes after lunch in just 54 overs.
Australia’s defeat was their first on home soil against any country in more than four years and their heaviest loss to England since they were beaten by an innings and 14 runs at Melbourne in December 1986.
Caddick captured the wickets of Andy Bichel, Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee and Stuart MacGill after dismissing Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting on Sunday to finish with seven for 94, his second best return in 62 Test appearances.
The 34-year-old ended Australia’s last real hope of saving the match when he collected three scalps in his first spell and then returned after lunch to mop up the tail and finish with 10 for the match for the first time.
Australia’s star-studded batting line-up failed to show any real resistance with fast bowlers Bichel and Lee top scoring with 49 and 46 respectively while wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist made an adventurous 37 when the match was as good as over.
Set a near-impossible 452 to win after England’s Man-of-the-Match and Man-of-the-Series Michael Vaughan struck a masterful 183 in the second innings, Australia’s hopes of at least forcing a draw disappeared when they lost five wickets in the session.
Caddick triggered the collapse when he trapped Bichel leg before in the second over.
Waugh marched on to the ground to another standing ovation after his magnificent first innings century but failed to repeat his heroics as he departed for six, playing on to a short-pitched delivery from Caddick that rolled off his boot onto the stumps.
Damien Martyn followed soon after for 21, just two more than his overnight score, when he nicked a ball from off-spinner Richard Dawson into the gloves of wicketkeeper Alec Stewart.
Martin Love avoided the dreaded pair with an early boundary but managed just 27 when he was bowled by Durham paceman Steve Harmison.
Gilchrist belted seven fours in a defiant knock before his luck ran out on 37 and he gloved a Caddick bouncer to Mark Butcher at third slip, leaving Australia teetering on the brink at 183 for eight at lunch.
Lee whacked nine boundaries and a six in a defiant display after lunch before Caddick had him caught behind then bowled MacGill to complete a largely consolation victory.