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It is extremely special - Clarke

Australia skipper Michael Clarke basked in a 5-0 Ashes whitewash that he did not see coming before the series.

In quite a turnaround from four months ago, when England won the little urn on their home soil via a 3-0 margin, Clarke’s men were dominant in easing to comprehensive victories.

Their captain expected his side to bounce back from last summer's defeat yet he could hardly have envisaged such domination.

“It's an extremely special occasion,” he enthused afterwards. “We couldn't foresee 5-0 after the England series but I said then, the work we were putting in behind the scenes, we were going to get the rewards.”

Perhaps fittingly, Australia’s win was wrapped up by a bowling line-up which has performed so impressively in the series.

Indeed, after Chris Rogers had struck a third Test century to leave a victory target of 448, Ryan Harris claimed five wickets and Mitchell Johnson three to seal a 281-run win as England were bowled out for 166 in 32 overs.

Clarke is in no doubt as to where their attack ranks on the wider spectrum.

He added: “The bowlers have done a fantastic job; I told them before the Test that they were the best attack in the world and I think they've earned that mantle.”

The star of the show for Australia was Mitchell Johnson, who claimed 37 wickets on his return to the five-day fold to be voted man of the series.

“That’s something I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life,” he admitted.

Johnson, though, was also quick to shower praise on Brad Haddin, whose 493 runs were similarly crucial.

“To come back into this team and do what he’s done in this series, he deserves to be up here as well,” enthused the left-arm seamer.

While the wide victory margin suggests that Australia have regained the Ashes at a canter, Clarke insists it has been closer than many believe.

“I think Alastair and the England team deserve a lot of credit,” he said. “It’s been an extremely hard-fought series, as it always is against England.

“We've seen throughout the series the mutual respect these teams have for each other. I wish Alastair and the England team all the best; I think they've copped a bit of criticism throughout this series.

“They’re a wonderful team; you don’t get to be number one in the world for no reason, and a lot of the players in this team achieved that so they deserve a lot of credit.”

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