England retains Ashes with emphatic 4th Test win over Australia

first_imgEngland retained the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time in 24 years by completing an emphatic innings and 157-run win over Australia on Wednesday’s fourth day of the fourth Test.England’s victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground means it travels to the final Test in Sydney starting Sunday with a 2-1 series lead, but as the Ashes-holder, England needs only to draw the series to keep the urn.Tim Bresnan claimed the final wicket and his fourth of the innings when Ben Hilfenhaus was caught behind for a duck to dismiss Australia for 258 before lunch. Last batsman Ryan Harris could not bat due to a foot injury.”We’re very excited right now. It’s a special occasion, the MCG game. And to come out here and retain the Ashes will live long in all our memories,” England captain Andrew Strauss said.The England team completed a lap of honor to the cheers of a vocal MCG crowd, pausing to return the applause of its contingent of “Barmy Army” fans.Brad Haddin brought up a gutsy half century in an 86-run eighth-wicket partnership with Peter Siddle, but they could only delay the inevitable. Haddin ended the match on an unbeaten 55 with four boundaries and a six.Australia resumed on 169-6, and Chris Tremlett dismissed Mitchell Johnson in the second over of the day when the tailender edged a seaming delivery onto his stumps without adding to his overnight score of 6.Siddle was caught by Kevin Pietersen at long-on off a Graeme Swann ball for 40. His aggressive innings came off 50 balls with four fours and a six.advertisementThe Australian lineup was reduced to ten batsmen after paceman Harris broke down with a stress fracture to his left ankle Tuesday. Harris, 31, is almost certain to require surgery.Australia’s loss looked inevitable from day one when it was dismissed for a paltry 98 in two rain-shortened sessions on the first day. A capitulation became inevitable on the second day when England replied with a first-innings total of 513 for a massive 415-run lead.”The really important thing we need to do is pay credit to England and the way they played for the whole tour,” Australia captain Ponting said. “Apart from the third Test, they’ve played a really high level of cricket the whole way through, not only this series, but the tour games as well. Credit to them for the way they prepared.”Bresnan claimed the vital wickets of Shane Watson, Ponting and Michael Hussey after tea on Tuesday to become the architect of yet another destruction of Australia’s misfiring top order.Bresnan, who replaced Steven Finn in England’s bowling attack for the fourth Test, ended the innings with figures of 4-50. Tremlett had 1-71, Anderson had 1-71 and Swan finished with 2-59.Shane Watson provided Australia’s second highest score of the match with 54, while the England lineup featured knocks of 168 from man of the match Jonathan Trott, 85 from Matt Prior and 82 by Alastair Cook, proving the MCG wicket had plenty to offer the batsmen.Siddle’s bowling provided the only highlight for the Australians, taking 6-75. Johnson, who took 9 wickets in Australia’s 267-run win at Perth in the third Test, was far less effective in Melbourne, conceding 134 runs for his two wickets.”The Boxing Day Test is a massive Test match, huge atmosphere with the Ashes on the line,” Strauss said. “So for the bowlers to bowl the way they build on that first morning, there was a lot of pressure on their shoulders to be fair. Trotty stood up with the bat, but everyone got stuck in because we realized this was our chance to hammer it home,” he added.Australia captain Ponting’s future will come under even more intense scrutiny in the light of the series result, his failure with the bat, a finger injury and his unseemly remonstrations with the on-field umpires Monday after having a reviewed decision ruled not out.After making just 10 runs in Australia’s brief first innings, Ponting was unable to make amends and managed 20 in the second – extending his poor form throughout the series.England will now look toward sealing a series victory at the SCG.”We should enjoy tonight, and rightly so, but it’s back to square one for Sydney,” Strauss said. “There’s a lot of confidence in our camp and we need to channel that the right way to make sure we play the same brand of cricket in Sydney as well.”Australia, in a throwback to the 1980s, will regard the Sydney Test as an opportunity to end a bad series on a positive note.advertisement”We can go to Sydney with a chance of being able to level the series and regain some pride in the team performance, and also give the fans around us something to be proud of,” Ponting said. “That will be our whole focus from now till the end of the Sydney Test.”Numbers Game20 Number of Tests won by England at the MCG in 54 matches7 Number of Tests won by England at the MCG by an innings. This was their second biggest victory at the venue after 1911- 122 This was Australia’s second defeat by an innings at home since 1992- 93. Both defeats came in this year’s Ashes series8 Number of half-centuries scored by Brad Haddin in 31 Tests. It was his fourth against England in eight Tests4 / 50 Best bowling figures of Tim Bresnan in his sixth Test.After 23 years England will return home without losing the Ashes on Australian soilStats compiled by Manoj Kumarlast_img