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Australia wrap up 4-0 Ashes victory


Australia wrapped up a 4-0 Ashes rout after England skipper Joe Root retired ill for a second time as he continued to battle dehydration, diarrhoea and vomiting at the SCG.

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Root was hospitalised after yesterday’s record-breaking Sydney heat, but returned to bat midway through the this morning’s first session after Moeen Ali was dismissed.

Root’s second absence on 58 spelled the end of the visitors’ efforts to save the final Test of the series, with Australia making short work of the England tail to wrap up the final Test by an innings and 123 runs.

Root arrived at the ground wearing his hospital wristband and was summoned to the middle when Moeen was trapped lbw by Nathan Lyon. 

The skipper, desperate to ensure the tourists save the fifth Test, passed 50 shortly after by stroking a ball from Lyon to fine leg and went to lunch at 58 with England 5-144. 

Root spent the most time in the middle of all players on Sunday, fielding for the first half of the day before being called to the crease just six overs into England’s innings.

Temperatures at nearby Bureau of Meteorology stations reached 43.4 and 43.7 degrees, above the record 43.1 taken during the 1908 Adelaide Ashes Test.

A heat stress tracker, which takes into account environmental factors for a ‘feels like’ mark, at the ground also displayed a reading of 57.6C in the middle.

England blamed a gastro bug rather than Sunday’s temperatures, but it still prompted debate on whether the International Cricket Council needs to introduce policy to protect players in extreme conditions.

Former Australian Test batsman Dean Jones, famous for his hospitalising double century in extreme heat during the 1986 tied Test in India, called for games to be suspended in extreme heat.

“After speaking to a couple of doctors this morning … in my opinion cricket should be called off after 41C … it’s a workplace issue now … Just my opinion,” he tweeted.

It’s understood Australian players felt the conditions much more in the oppressive heat during their tour of Bangladesh last year, where Peter Handscomb and Pat Cummins were particularly affected.

A common sense approach is largely taken by match officials in elite Australian cricket matches during the heat.

Extra drinks breaks were added yesterday, while medical officials kept a closer eye on players. Messages over the big screen also prompted fans to be sun safe and hydrate.

A round of Sydney grade cricket – governed by the state body – was called off last summer in severe heat, however a Sheffield Shield match continued in the city in the same conditions.

But it’s noted that players in that and other elite matches have access to ice jackets, misting fans and scientific analysis that amateurs do not.


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