England seal famous triumph

2011-01-07 06:58
Andrew Strauss (AP)
Sydney - England won the fifth Ashes Test by an innings and 83 runs on Friday to claim a first series triumph in Australia in nearly a quarter of a century. 

The tourists, who had already ensured they would retain the famous urn, needed a little more than 17 overs to remove Australia's last three batsmen on day five of the final Test to win the series 3-1.

"We came over here desperately wanting to win the series. Obviously in Melbourne we retained the Ashes but we really wanted to finish with a bang over here in Sydney," an ecstatic Andrew Strauss said on the podium.

"All credit to the guys, they've been outstanding again, the way the bowlers bowled on day one, the batsmen dipped their bread in it again and we got another victory.

"So we're delighted with what we've done and we're certainly going to enjoy this evening, that's for sure."

Australia have lost series by bigger margins but in more than 130 years of Test cricket they had never conceded three defeats by an innings or more in a series against any country.

Stand-in skipper Michael Clarke had been handed the unenviable task of leading a demoralised Australia side into the final Test after Ricky Ponting was ruled out with a broken finger.

"It's been a tough couple of months to be honest, we've been outplayed in all facets of the game," said Clarke, who like Ponting failed to inspire his team with the bat throughout the series.

"I think England have shown us what execution and discipline does with the ball and they've managed to go and make some big scores with the bat as well.

"Obviously I'm very disappointed like all the boys. We didn't perform as well as we'd have liked."

Free entry had ensured a half full house as the tourists performed the final rites but it was dominated by England fans with the Barmy Army's songs and chants echoing around the famous ground.

They celebrated wildly as England, just four years after suffering a first Ashes clean sweep in 86 years, matched the achievement of Mike Gatting's touring party of 1986-87.

Alastair Cook was named Man of the Match and won the Compton-Miller medal as Man of the Series.

The England opener made 189 in Sydney and 766 runs at an average of 127.66 over the fives Tests, the second highest by an Englishman in an Ashes series.

"Amazing, just that feeling when Chris Tremlett got that wicket will live long in the memory," said the 26-year-old.

"It's been an amazing series for me, I couldn't imagine this happening seven weeks ago."

Resuming their second innings on 213 for seven, still 151 runs behind England's gargantuan first knock of 644, Australia needed to bat out the last day if they were to claim an unlikely draw.

Morning rain showers looked like being their best hope but once they cleared after a delay of 40 minutes in the first hour, England's march to victory was only a matter of time.

Peter Siddle was the first to go, but not before he had notched his highest Test score of 43.

The seamer was furious with himself after spinner Graeme Swann tempted him into a sweep which James Anderson caught at the boundary in front of the massed ranks of England fans.

England took the new ball two overs later and Anderson soon made the second breakthrough with a fizzing ball that Ben Hilfenhaus, who had made seven runs in 14 minutes, got an edge on to be caught behind.

Debutant Michael Beer was the final wicket to fall, bowled by Chris Tremlett for two to leave Australia all out for 281 to add to their first innings 280.

Steve Smith had reached his second Test half century and was unbeaten on 54.

After a drawn first Test in Brisbane, England won the second in Adelaide by an innings and 71 runs before Australia fought back to claim the third in Perth by 267 runs.

England again dominated the fourth Test in Melbourne with an even more comprehensive victory, an innings and 157 runs, to ensure they would retain the urn they won back from Australia last year in England.


Australia: SR Watson, PJ Hughes, UT Khawaja, MJ Clarke (capt), MEK Hussey, BJ Haddin (wk), SPD Smith, MA Beer, MG Johnson, PM Siddle, BW Hilfenhaus

England: AJ Strauss (capt), AN Cook, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, PD Collingwood, IR Bell, MJ Prior (wk), TT Bresnan, GP Swann, JM Anderson, CT Tremlett

Read more on:    ashes  |  andrew strauss

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