29 Dec 2010

Ashes 2010: Melbourne win means England retain urn

England’s cricket team retained the Ashes today, securing victory over Australia in the fourth test match at Melbourne by an innings and 157 runs.

The win means Australia are now 2-1 down in the five-match series, and ensures that England cannot be overtaken – even if they lose the final test in Sydney.

In the event of a drawn series, the holders – currently England, who won the last series in 2009 – retain the Ashes.

As in the first and second tests, England dominated much of the Melbourne match. They bowled Australia out for 98 in the first innings and then went on to amass 513 runs.

Australia offered some resistance at the start of their second innings, but consistent, restrictive bowling – in particular from new recruit Tim Bresnan and spinner Graeme Swann – saw the home side all out for 258.

Cricket's holy grail
England's victorious captain Andrew Strauss has said that retaining the Ashes is cricket's holy grail, writes Channel 4 News reporter James Blake. On the forth day of the forth test, in Melbourne, Australia were bowled out for 258 to concede a 2-1 series lead - even before the lunch break.

It means that whatever happens in Sydney, England have retained the Ashes urn that they won at home 16 months ago.

After the match Andrew Strauss said: "It's incredibly special. It’s hard to put into words because we all know that winning the ashes out in Australia is a bit of a holy grail for the English side because it doesn't happen very often.

"We came here with high hopes and we thought we could do it but you still need players who can stand up and deliver."

The whole English side played well - but two players were crucial in this victory.

Bowler Tim Bresnan took six wickets for 75, including the winning wicket less than two hours into day four when he dismissed Australian batsman Ben Hilfenhaus, giving the visitors a victory of an innings and 157 runs.

It was an unreachable target for Australia - largely due to Jonathan Trott's unbeaten first innings 168.

In Australia all eyes are now on captain Ricky Ponting, who is facing questions about his own future. After all, he has now lost three Ashes test series.

At the post-match press conference Ponting said: "The fact that I lost these three series is disappointing for me. Hopefully I won't be remembered as that guy - the guy that lost three Ashes series. But I guess this result here is not one of my brightest."

Prime Minister David Cameron has sent his congratulations to the team and has invited Andrew Strauss's men to Downing Street on their return.

But England need to win or draw the final test in Sydney to actually win this Ashes series. That will commence on Sunday - and if England can ride this wave to series victory, it'll be the first time that's happened in 24 years.