England retains Ashes at MCG
Dec 29, 2010
England has retained the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time in 24 years after a massive victory in the fourth Test at the MCG.
The tourists took 83 minutes to take Australia’s last three wickets, winning by an innings and 157 runs to take a commanding 2-1 series lead with one Test remaining in Sydney.
While England has done enough to keep the old urn, Australia can still level the series with a win at the SCG in the fifth and final Test, starting on January 3.
It is mission accomplished for the Poms, with Strauss becoming the first English skipper since Mike Gatting on the 1986-87 tour to defend the Ashes in Australia.
"It's special to know we can take that little urn home, we've worked very hard on this tour and still want to win the series," Strauss said.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting told ABC radio that England were by far the better team in Melbourne.
"We never played well enough this week," Ponting said.
"It's pretty hard to accept (the Ashes are England's), they showed us how to bat on this wicket and deserved to win."
"We can still level the series (in Sydney) - that's the motivation for us."
Ironically, Gatting's men officially got the job done in the Boxing Day Test with victory inside three days by an innings and 14 runs.
At least the 2010 version of the Australians were able to take this Test into a fourth day and lasted longer than most expected thanks to an enterprising 86-run stand between Brad Haddin and Peter Siddle.
The pair added respectability to the Australians' second innings after the dismissal of Mitchell Johnson for six, just two overs into the day's play.
Haddin, who never surrenders his wicket cheaply, played with attacking freedom and flair, not to mention purpose, and found a willing ally in Siddle.
For all the ramifications that may come out of not reclaiming the Ashes, Siddle's performance in Melbourne should be remembered.
Siddle typified the determination Aussie fans love, even when their team isn't quite firing, relishing the promotion to No.9 through the foot injury suffered by pace colleague Ryan Harris.
The Victorian made a career Test best 40 from 50 balls, which included four boundaries and a six, before falling to a smart Kevin Pietersen catch at long-off from Swann.
With Ben Hilfenhaus falling for a duck, caught behind by Prior off Tim Bresnan, Haddin was left unconquered on 55.
It was fitting Bresnan ended the match, proving England's star bowler in the second innings with 4-50 from 21.4 accurate overs.
Swann copped some treatment during the Haddin-Siddle stand, but still finished with 2-59 off 27 overs, while Chris Tremlett and James Anderson each took one.
Jonathan Trott was named man of the match.