‘Incomprehensible’ Ashes phenomenon
Australia has won the Ashes on English soil for the first time in 18 years.
Not since 2001, when Steve Waugh was in charge, has an Aussie team held the urn in enemy territory. Justin Langer was there as a player nearly two decades ago and now he's returned as coach to end the drought.
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So was England awful or was Australia really good? What did we change this time compared to the last four losing series in the Old Dart?
Here are the main factors that led to an Australian series victory.
SMITH TO THE RESCUE
Australia doesn't win without Steve Smith. In a series where the batting on both sides was poor, Smith was the single biggest difference between the teams.
He returned from a 12-month ban by plundering twin tons (144 and 142) at Edgbaston, then followed it up with 92 at Lord's before being concussed by a Jofra Archer bouncer.
He missed the third Test at Headingley but when Smith returned in Manchester it was game over for the hosts as he cracked a double ton and 82 in the second innings to allow captain Tim Paine to declare and give the Aussies enough time to knock England over.
He has 671 runs at an average of 134 this series - almost double the next best. Despite giving everyone else a seven-month headstart, he became the leading Test runscorer in the world at Old Trafford.
England said repeatedly it wasn't disheartened at being flattened by Australia's batting machine, confident the tide would turn. But it never did. Smith kept toying with the bowlers - and no matter what plan England employed he was always a step ahead.
Paine said the "scary" truth about Smith is there's more to come. "He is just a genius and I never had any doubt he would come back and be the player he was. The scary thing is he's getting better," he said.
"I don't know where it is going to stop but we are enjoying being on the ride that is for sure."
Former captain Steve Waugh, who has been with the Australian team in a mentoring role, said it best when he told the BBC: "It's a phenomenal performance. It's monumental when you look back on it.
"To be out of the game for so long, to have so much pressure and to do so well, it's almost incomprehensible what he's done.
"It'll go down in the history of the game as one of the great performances by an individual in a series ... he's playing on a different level to everyone else."
After the final Test former England captain Michael Atherton paid tribute on Twitter to the "superhuman performance" from Australia's best player.
DUD ROOT CRIPPLES ENGLAND
Not only has Joe Root become the first England captain to surrender the Ashes on home soil since 2001, he also became the first English skipper to record three ducks in a Test series.
Root moved out of his preferred No. 4 spot to first drop but the change backfired and even though he made three half centuries, his inability to reach triple figures really hurt his team. The man supposed to be England's best player scored just 247 runs at a mediocre average of 30.9.
He may have helped his team overcome Australia in Leeds with a gritty 77 in the second innings but centuries, not fifties, win games. After this disaster there's no way he should be mentioned in the same sentence as the world's top three willow-wielders Smith, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson.
It didn't help Root was always in early because of a top order that failed miserably and the burden of captaining a side against Smith must have taken a seriously heavy toll on his emotional state, even if he didn't show it.
Root didn't receive great support from his batting comrades but unlike Smith, who suffered the same problem, he couldn't lead from the front.
Australia has long targeted opposition captains, wanting to cut the head off the snake and this series was no different. Root had a shocker and so did his team.
Australia has never been this well prepared for an away Ashes series. Having the Australia A team in the UK during and after the World Cup so fringe players could gain experience in English conditions was a major reason the visitors had a squad - not just an 11-man team - capable of winning.
Matthew Wade was full of confidence after a brilliant A tour and smashed a century in the first Test while Marnus Labuschagne scored more than 1000 runs this summer playing county cricket for Glamorgan and he took that form into the Test arena, scoring four half centuries in five innings.
Having an intra-squad match in Southampton before the first Test was the perfect warm-up and during the series former England captain Michael Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special: "They've come here with a plan. It's the best prepared Australian team that's come here for many, many years. They've been ultimately prepared."
England on the other hand was a rabble in the five-day format because all the focus had been on the World Cup. While that focus was completely justified because England won its first ever World Cup it meant Test cricket was ignored.
This series England still didn't know its best opening batting combination, jettisoned its main spinner after one Test and moved its best batsman from his preferred position.
England's preparation for this series was nowhere near Australia's and certainly didn't match the levels set for the World Cup.
"This England team have not been prepared for this," Vaughan said. "There's no way the planning went into this series like the planning that went into the World Cup."
FAST BOWLING ROTATION IS DEAD RIGHT
Australia got its fast bowling rotation spot on after arriving in the UK with the healthiest stock of quicks ever assembled: Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Michael Neser.
The decision to leave Hazlewood out of the World Cup so he could regain full fitness in time for the Ashes proved to be a masterstroke and Siddle's inclusion to offer a more defensive option was just as vital.
Fans were rightly shocked when Hazlewood and Starc were excluded from the first Test but clearly Langer knew what he was doing. Siddle played the holding role perfectly, allowing X-factors Cummins and Pattinson to attack from the other end in a 251-run thumping at Edgbaston.
Hazlewood said he's bowling as well as he ever has and the rewards were there to see as he destroyed England in Leeds and Manchester to snag 18 wickets from three Tests.
The only member of the pace brigade to play all four matches so far, Pat Cummins, was the main destroyer with 24 wickets for the series.
Even Starc showed his value when brought in for his first match in Manchester after being excluded from the first three Tests, blasting out England's middle order in the first innings with three wickets to help give his team a sizeable first-innings lead that set up the match.
Rest and rotation have been dirty words in the past but Australia got it spot on with its handling of its quicks on this trip.
SPIN TO WIN WHEN IT MATTERS
Spin didn't play a major role this series and Nathan Lyon had a disappointing final two Tests by his standards but when it mattered, he came to the party.
England needed Moeen Ali to stand up in Australia's second innings at Edgbaston on a wearing surface that should have been a spinner's paradise but he flopped massively. He bowled two headhigh beamers and conceded 4.48 runs per over as Smith and Wade took him to the cleaners en route to scoring centuries.
Completely bereft of confidence and unable to build any pressure, Ali was a passenger and was a major reason England conceded a massive total it was never going to chase down in the final innings.
Compare that to Lyon, who spun Australia to victory on day five by taking 6/49. He exploited the deteriorating pitch, extracting turn and bounce Ali never found to be the difference.
He may not have bowled as well as that for the remainder of the series but in the crucial series-opener, Lyon was the difference.