Confident Aussies eye 5-0 sweep of series

It's a fair bet Michael Clarke won't be booed at the Sydney Cricket Ground this week when he sets out to become just the third Australia captain to achieve a 5-0 sweep over England in an Ashes series.

Three years ago, Australian frustrations at their team's humiliation by a rampant England boiled over with some vociferous catcalling when Clarke, standing in for the injured Ricky Ponting, came out to bat in the fifth Test.

Australia lost that series 3-1 with Clarke assuming the captaincy permanently not long afterwards and, although it has not always been a smooth path since, his team look more settled and confident than at any time in his reign.

Victories by 381 runs, 218 runs, 150 runs and eight wickets  are testimony to crushing Australian superiority in the first four Ashes Tests and Clarke's men will be going all out to drive home their advantage when the fifth gets underway on Friday.

"We want to win this match, we know we've got to do all the hard work and we're looking at this like a final," said pace bowler Mitchell Johnson, whose 31 wickets at an average 14.32 have been a key factor in Australia's

"We know they are going to come out fighting hard. They're not going to want to lose 5-0."

That fight back from a team that was number one in the world as recently as August 2012 has long been anticipated.

The 3-0 home Ashes series triumph earlier this year and the two that preceded it in 2009 and 2010-11 are now distant memories and nothing in the performances in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne suggests England can turn things around in Sydney.

Two key players are no longer with the touring party with batsman Jonathan Trott having returned home to deal with some psychological issues and spinner Graeme Swann retiring after the Ashes were relinquished in Perth.

Those remaining looked out of form and mentally exhausted in Melbourne, where they somehow managed to turn a 100-run lead with 10 second-innings wickets in hand into a humbling defeat in little more than 24 hours.

"The guys are fighting, not fighting well enough obviously," said under-fire coach Andy Flower. "Our batting over the four Tests has generally let us down."

Changes are expected but it looks unlikely that the three tall pacemen brought to Australia apparently for the ride will get a run-out and the only bowling change could be Monty Panesar giving way to uncapped leg-spinner Scott Borthwick.

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