Fans jubilant as Ashes retained
Published 29/12/2010 | 02:42
Jubilant England cricket fans have been celebrating a famous victory after Andrew Strauss's men retained the Ashes for the first time in more than 20 years.
Thousands of members of the loyal Barmy Army were sent into delirium after England secured an emphatic fourth Test victory in Melbourne - marching into an unassailable 2-1 series lead.
In the UK, David Cameron described the win as a "great late Christmas present for the country", and thousands of fans woke with sore heads after staying up into the early hours to celebrate England's thumping win.
Tim Bresnan took the winning wicket less than two hours into day four of the Test match, about 1am UK time, dismissing Australian batsman Ben Hilfenhaus and giving the visitors a victory of an innings and 157 runs.
It prompted euphoria among thousands of England fans, many waving flags of St George and chanting victory songs, who made the 24-hour flight to Australia to be inside Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The team then put on a performance of a different kind for supporters in the stands - a impromptu routine of "the sprinkler", their signature dance which has summed up their spirit and camaraderie.
Strauss said: "Winning the Ashes in Australia has always been a bit of a Holy Grail for English sides. We haven't won the series yet, but have retained the urn - which was one of our primary goals."
Following the triumph the Prime Minister led the tributes. He said: "Congratulations to the England team and captain Andrew Strauss on a brilliant performance Down Under.
"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."
Labour leader Ed Miliband agreed, saying: "This is a fantastic result for the England team. I, alongside millions of people across the country, send my congratulations to Andrew Strauss and the whole side."