Nottingham: Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke announced his retirement from Test cricket after England thrashed his team to win the Ashes series today. Australia lost the fourth Test by an innings and 78 runs at Trent Bridge cricket ground on Saturday, thereby surrendering the series 3-1 for the fourth consecutive time on foreign soil.

The fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval cricket ground in London later this month will be his last match. Australia went down 1-2 in the series with emphatic losses in Cardiff and Birmingham and conceding a 331-run first innings deficit here at Trent Bridge after being bowled out for 60 in the morning session of day one.

"Michael Clarke has announced his retirement from international cricket," cricket.com.au tweeted today, soon after Australia lost the third Test. Clarke has come under intense criticism for his poor batting form and failure to lead Australia to an Ashes win.

Australia began the series as favourites but have failed to meet expectations. Within moments of the loss today, the 34-year-old Michael Clarke announced his decision to quit. He told a channel, "The time is right. I want to play the last Test at The Oval and give it one more crack. I'll take so many memories away. I'm looking forward to sitting and cheering the boys on. It's the right time."

Clarke is understood to have told his teammates before the third day's play began here at Trent Bridge cricket ground today that his reign as skipper will be over after the series. He was seen shaking hands with his teammates at a rare team meeting an hour before play was to resume on the third day at Trent Bridge.

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