Swann spins Australia out as England regain Ashes
Persistent bowling from the right hander and a piece of magic in the field by Andrew Flintoff in his last Test saw the national team home
Fifth Test, Day 4: England (332 and 373-9 dec) beat Australia (160 & 348) by 197 runs; England win the Ashes 2-1. England regained the Ashes they had surrendered so humiliatingly in Australia in 2007 yesterday evening at 5.47pm, when Graeme Swann bowled out Michael Hussey for 121 to spark scenes of jubilation in the Oval and across the country.
The tourists had begun the day on 80-0, knowing they had to score a world record 546 to win the Test and the Ashes series. Their hopes too an immediate dent when both openers - Simon Katich and Shane Watson - were LBW to Swann and Stuart Broad within the first hour.
Ricky Ponting and Hussey put on a century stand before the Aussie captain was run out by Andrew Flintoff in his last Test, and the vice captain Michael Clarke was similarly dismissed just minutes later. Marcus North was swiftly dispatched, before Haddin held England up by putting on 91 with Hussey.
Haddin finally fell trying to hit Swann into the stands, then Harmison wrapped up the tail with three quick wickets, leaving the final wicket of Michael Hussey to fall and the celebrations to begin.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Mike Selvey, the Guardian: "Australia will wonder how it all slipped away but in truth, their record in England in the past two tours now contains one single win and three losses in the last nine matches. For his part, Ponting, a most generous opponent in defeat, will be remembered not just as a master batsman but as the second Australian captain after Billy Murdoch to lose the Ashes twice in this country and the first for more than a hundred years. His future as captain must now be in doubt with Michael Clarke waiting in the wings ready to assume the mantle."
Mike Atherton, the Times: "While Strauss and the England team set off on the lap of honour, which will replace the open-top bus parade and Trafalgar Square as a suitably sober celebration for these straitened times, Ponting made his lonely walk up the pavilion steps. He has become only the second Australia captain after Billy Murdoch to lose the Ashes twice in England and, no doubt, there will be questions asked about his leadership now. But, on the field and off it, he has been immense this summer. There has to be a loser, but Ponting’s countrymen should be proud of their captain’s efforts."
Simon Barnes, the Times: "Four years ago the series had an epic quality. It was about the humbling of greatness, the chastisement of hubris, the triumph of the underdog. This series had quite another mood. It was one that all who follow sports know well enough: but not one that is going to spill out into the wider public in the same way. Four years ago Flintoff was a national hero and, for a brief few weeks, the greatest cricketer on the planet. He became a national icon: always one of the lads, but then incontrovertibly first among them. He played his last Test yesterday, a limping shadow of his former self, but he contributed one great day in the series when there was music in the air again and he took England to their win at Lord’s."
Scyld Berry, Daily Telegraph: "Slowly, painfully for most spectators and viewers, Strauss dragged his men to the finishing line. Andrew Flintoff was lame, but still brought off the most wonderful run-out with a round-arm throw, when normal over-arm would no doubt have made the ball bounce over the stumps 30 yards away. But even with nine men and a far from fit allrounder, England steadily brought down the giant. Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Matthew Prior were the most successful of Strauss’s assistants in this series over all. Broad dismissed Simon Katich, the most nuggety of Aussie openers. Prior brought off an excellent stumping and did not miss a thing, really, all series. And Swann whittled away with his offbreaks, some turning sharply, some going straight on, and everything else coming somewhere in between."
James Lawton, the Independent: "Some people say Test cricket is dying, that it is a time-expired casualty of a new sports culture, but, believe it or not, you couldn't find a single one of them in the long shadows here last night. Not when the Ashes were regained by England for the second time in four years and old heroes like Freddie Flintoff and Steve Harmison contrived for one last time, certainly for Flintoff and perhaps Harmison, to grab the nation at a most emotional place. Flintoff quite beautifully threw down the wicket of the man always most likely to frustrate England, the eternally pugnacious Australian captain Ricky Ponting, and then stood in what now has become a trademarked pose – the warrior taking his acclaim."
Martin Samuel, Daily Mail: "It would not have been an English summer without one moment of horrid uncertainty and it was fast approaching shortly after lunch when Australia had motored past 200 for the loss of just two wickets, captain Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey set fair in the middle. As they tickled and tucked away the loose balls, and placed a dead bat on the better ones, the first anxieties were beginning to surface. Those sedated by over-confidence were beginning to recall just how strong this Australian batting line-up had looked on occasions this summer. Still, they could not achieve the highest winning fourth-innings total in the history of first-class cricket. Could they?" ·
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