England folded in dismal fashion to lose the fifth and final Cricket Test by 281 runs….

England folded in dismal fashion to lose the fifth and final Cricket Test by 281 runs in Sydney within three days yesterday and with it the Ashes series 5-nil to end their miserable winter in entirely appropriate style.

According to BBC Sports England were bowled out for a feeble 166 inside 32 overs to be thrashed by 281 runs in Sydney, at one stage losing four wickets in 11 balls.

It was the story of the past six weeks compressed into one final chastening day as Mitchell Johnson took three more pivotal wickets with ferocious pace to end with 37 in the series at an average of 13.9. Ryan Harris mopped up the tail to claim 5 for 25.

All of England’s senior batsmen once again failed on a tour when not a single one has totalled 300 runs, and when six Australians have well in excess.

It is only the third whitewash in Ashes history, and is arguably the worst tour England have ever undertaken, after they came into this series as favourites and against a side beaten in seven of their previous nine Tests.

England won the toss there at the SCG but ended up humiliated once again, a team unrecognisable in personnel from the one that began the series in Brisbane but suffering an identical hiding. Not in a single Test have they got close, losing by 381 runs, 218 runs, 150 runs, eight wickets and now this.

The final scores: Australia 326 & 276, England 155 & 166. Australia won by 281 runs.

Ireland have announced that they will play two one-day internationals against Sri Lanka at Clontarf in May.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for our squad to face top players such as Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga,” said Ireland coach Phil Simmons.

“They’re going to be tough opposition but Irish conditions in May will be to our advantage.” Ivan Anderson’s century helped Ireland to a draw in Sri Lanka’s only visit to the island in 1979.

The one-day encounters will take place at the Dublin venue on 6 and 8 May. “Ireland need as many matches as possible against full member sides,” added Simmons, who by coincidence flew out to Sri Lanka on Wednesday with the Ireland A squad on a two-week tour.

“It’s how we measure ourselves now in terms of our cricketing progress.” We’ll be gearing our preparation towards the 2015 World Cup, and this series is ideal.”

“Last year couldn’t have gone much better in terms of the fact that we won three trophies and continued our domination against our fellow Associates.”

In more recent times Ireland lost their only ODI with Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the 2007 World Cup.

The teams met again in a thrilling game at Lord’s during the 2009 World Twenty20, when Ireland lost by just nine runs to the eventual finalists.

Ireland are in action later this month when they tour the West Indies before competing in the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March.

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