Australia won the fifth Ashes test against England in emphatic style at The Oval overnight, bringing the curtain down on the test careers of captain Michael Clarke and opening batsman Chris Rogers.
The Aussies took out the dead rubber by an innings and 46 runs, having set England an opening target of 481. England were all out for 149 in the first innings – a collapse matched only by Australia in the crucial and deciding fourth test. The home side improved in the follow on, but not enough and following a three-hour rain delay, the visitors eventually over-ran a stoic English tail end to dismiss them for 286.
Bowler Peter Siddle, ignored by selectors in the earlier tests, finished with 4-35 from 24.4 overs, and six wickets for the match. He was the danger man Australia needed but his success was too little, too late for Australia, who lost the Ashes to England 3-2.
The fast bowler’s belated inclusion yet again raises questions about Australia’s selectors, with many now pondering a different outcome had England’s flamboyant batsmen faced his sustained accuracy. Siddle showed the discipline missing from the Australian attack as they attempted to constrain England in earlier tests.
Clarke and Rogers where cheered onto the ground for the last time.
Rogers added 43 to maintain his average and end his eight-year test career at age 37 with 2015 runs from 48 innings at an average of 42.87.
The win sends Clarke off on a high note, but his failure, yet again with the bat, scoring just 15, shows it was time to go. He leaves with an impressive 8643 from 198 innings, including his remarkable 329 not out against India at the SCG in 2012, sees the captain’s test average at 49.10, as well as taking 31 wickets with his slow, left -arm bowling.
Clarke, for a time, the world’s greatest batsman, and Wisden’s 2010 cricketer of the year, deserved a better ending than this, especially after the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash and 2015 World Cup win.
He steps down after 47 tests with 24 wins, 16 losses and 7 draws.
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