England regain the Ashes

Strauss' side clinch victory with a day to spare at The Brit Oval





Fifth npower Test Match The Brit Oval - Day Four

England 332 (I R Bell 72, A J Strauss 55, P M Siddle 4-75) & 373-9 dec (I J L Trott 119, A J Strauss 75, G P Swann 63, M J North 4-98) v Australia 160 (S M Katich 50, S C J Broad 5-37, G P Swann 4-38) & 348 (M E K Hussey 121, R T Ponting 66, G P Swann 4-120)


England beat Australia by 197 runs


England defeated Australia with a day to spare in the fifth Test at The Brit Oval to regain the Ashes.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann removed Michael Hussey for 121 to end the tourists' second innings at 348 and clinch a home victory by the small margin of 197 runs.

Hussey's 10th Test hundred had led a brave batting rearguard from Australia before their last five wickets fell in a hurry in the final session.

Key role

While he may not have been able to enjoy a fairytale finish to his Test career with the ball, Andrew Flintoff still played a crucial role for his country.

The all-rounder produced one moment of magic with the ball in hand, albeit with a superb throw from mid-on that dismissed Ricky Ponting for 66.

The direct hit caught the Australian captain short of his ground and ended a 127-run partnership for the third wicket that had not just held up the hosts but raised the possibility of seeing the greatest run chase in Test History.

In the end the Aussies fell well short of their target of 546, their only highlight at the end of a disappointing match being Hussey's long-overdue return to form.

Their hopes of pulling off a miraculous triumph had been dealt a double blow when they lost both openers in the space of four balls in the morning.

Simon Katich (43) was the first to go when he made a dreadful error of judgement against Swann, padding up to a ball that drifted in with the arm rather than turning away, as the batsman had expected.

The left-hander had barely reached the dressing room by the time he was joined by opening partner Shane Watson, the all-rounder trapped lbw for 40 by Stuart Broad for the second time in the match.

Any hopes of skittling Australia cheaply for a second time in the contest soon disappeared though as Ponting and Hussey batted superbly, although Collingwood could have ended the stand had he grasped a chance at slip.

In the end it was Flintoff who did come up trumps in the field, leaving Ponting to walk off to a rousing ovation as he contemplated the prospect of losing a series on English soil for the second successive time.

That realisation must have become even clearer when, just three runs later, Andrew Strauss' flick at the stumps caught Michael Clarke on a walkabout following a deflection off short leg, the vice-captain departing without troubling the scorers.


Superb stumping

When Marcus North was superbly stumped by wicketkeeper Matt Prior off Swann's bowling for 10, England were in sight of the finishing line.

Brad Haddin carried on attacking despite now facing a seemingly lost cause. Having received a life when 12th man Graham Onions dropped him at mid-wicket he eventually holed out for 34, the first of five wickets to fall for just 21.

Steve Harmison claimed three of them in Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Stuart Clark, the last two going in consecutive deliveries, before Swann - who finished with figures of 4-120 in the second innings - had the last word.

An inside edge off Hussey's blade went off front pad to Cook, allowing England to start celebrating a hard-fought series win, though this time there should be no hiring of an open-top bus to tour the capital.

For Australia the defeat not only sees them lose their grip on the urn again but also means they slip from the summit of the ICC Test rankings all the way down to fourth, just one spot above their opponents.