England beat Australia to retain Ashes Down Under after 24 years

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

MELBOURNE - England’s 24-year wait to retain the Ashes in Australia is over with the visitors needing just under 20 overs on day four to claim the final three Australian wickets.

Australian pacer Ryan Harris was unable to bat due to a stress-fracture in his left ankle.

Tim Bresnan’s fourth wicket of the innings, having Ben Hilfenhaus caught behind for a duck, sealed the fourth Test victory by an innings and 157 runs.

Australia can theoretically level the series 2-2 in Sydney next week, but it would be inconsequential because England only needs to draw the series, which is already guaranteed, to retain the Ashes, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

British Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated the England cricket team for their “brilliant performance”.

“Congratulations to the England team and Captain Andrew Strauss on a brilliant performance Down Under,” said Cameron in a statement from his office.

“Retaining The Ashes for the first time in almost a quarter of a century marks a very special end to the year for sports fans and a great late Christmas present for the country. I look forward to welcoming them to Downing Street when they return,” he said.

Star batsman Kevin Pietersen used Twitter to praise the Barmy Army for their constant singing, chanting and encouragement.

“We have the BEST supporters in the world.. Period!! Thanks for all the support…” wrote Pietersen.

Australia began day four in Melbourne 246 runs behind with only three wickets in hand. It took only 11 deliveries for England to breakthrough, with Mitchell Johnson playing onto his stumps off his inside-edge off the bowling of Chris Tremlett. (ANI)

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