Australia ended their triumphant Ashes summer with a convincing win over England at the AMP Oval today by an innings and 25 runs to record a resounding 4-1 series victory.
A near capacity crowd turned up to see England try and stave off defeat, but instead watched Australia's bowlers snaffle up the nine wickets required for victory, with Glenn McGrath and man of the match Shane Warne again posing the biggest challenges for the Englishmen.
McGrath picked up the last duo of Jimmy Ormond and Phil Tufnell to finish with 5-43 and topped the bowling for the series with 32 wickets. His leg-spinning partner took a remarkable 11 wickets in the match - the first time, surprisingly, he has taken ten wickets or more in a Test outside Australia. He ended the series just one wicket behind McGrath with 31 wickets, this last match producing 11-229, as he overtook Curtley Ambrose's 405 Test wicket haul.
The ninth wicket partnership between Darren Gough and Jimmy Ormond survived 19 overs and put on 58 runs including some powerfully struck drives from the Yorkshireman who produced his best score since he made a half-century against Australia at Sydney in 1995, 49 Test matches ago.
It was an entertaining stand, which kept the crowd enraptured and postponed the Australians' victory celebrations. But after playing with defiance in his first Test, Ormond, who was growing in confidence, edged the ball behind to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.
His place was taken by Tufnell, who received a standing ovation and some enthusiastic applause but the Middlesex spinner faced one bouncer from McGrath and was then caught by Warne at first slip with the next delivery to complete what had been inevitable from early on in the day.
The last wicket fell at 3.32pm and it brought to an end an excellent npower Ashes series, which proved to be an uneven contest between a developing side and what could go down in history as the finest cricket team ever.
Glenn McGrath was chosen as Australia's man of the series by England coach, Duncan Fletcher, while Mark Butcher was selected by Australian coach John Buchanan, who also praised Andy Caddick's efforts.
Afterwards Nasser Hussain commented: "I have been very proud of my team in the last couple of games and even before then they have showed a lot of character.
"As coach Duncan Fletcher said to us in the dressing room, we have got some young lads that have come in and there is no point looking anywhere else apart from them Australia for the standards that are required."
Steve Waugh was, naturally, delighted with the win.
"We did play very good cricket, there is no doubt about that," he admitted. "We played well from day one. We batted superbly, bowled very well and our fielding was probably the only one that was down a little, but overall it was a great performance by all the guys."