The Aussies won the fifth Test at the Oval by a whopping innings and 46 runs as they took the four remaining England second innings wickets either side of a three-hour rain delay on the fourth day in south London.
The victory saw Clarke, 34, go out on a high – but made no difference to the destination of the Ashes as England skipper Alastair Cook was presented with the cherished urn following his side’s 3-2 victory over the five-match series.
Clarke played 115 Test matches for Australia, scoring 8643 runs at an average of 49. He will be joined in international retirement by opening batsman Chris Rogers, 37, who enjoyed the additional consolation of being named Australia’s man of the series after scoring 480 runs over the five matches.
Clarke – who will be succeeded as captain by Steve Smith – told Sky Sports: “It’s been an amazing journey, and that’s part of playing for Australia. It doesn’t matter if you play one Test or if you play 100 Tests – you cherish every single one. You never want to say goodbye, but there comes a time for everyone and for us two old boys our time’s up – but we’ve had a great time.
“I’ve been really lucky to play with some fantastic players and guys that have given the team everything – and Chris is certainly one of those – so I’ve enjoyed every minute.”
Clarke was given a standing ovation by the crowd as he led his team out on the fourth day. and when Peter Siddle took the final England wicket the skipper was engulfed by his team-mates. Both Clarke and Rogers then held stumps aloft before Clarke ran across to the travelling Australian supporters to sign autographs and pose for photographs.
Australia’s victory completed a topsy-turvy series in which all five matches were won by colossal margins. England won the First Test at Cardiff by 169 runs, but Australia bounced back to win at Lord’s by 405 runs. England then trounced the Aussies by eight wickets in the Third Test at Edgbaston before regaining the Ashes when they won by an innings and 78 runs in the Fourth Test at Trent Bridge. The Third and Fourth Tests were both wrapped up in a little over two days, and none of the matches went to a fifth day.