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Nation bowled over as England beat the Aussies

THE ASHES may appear to be on permanent loan to Australia, but England have at last done the decent thing and won a Test match. Australia began their second innings yesterday needing 175 runs for victory in the fourth Test but, in a dramatic final session, England took eight wickets for 59 to win by 12 runs. The collapse was largely instigated by Dean Headley who finished with 6-60.

Judging by the scenes at the Melbourne Cricket Ground,awash with legions of flag- waving supporters, anyone would have thought something bigger was afoot, but the victory will have done wonders for England's flagging morale.

"Any win is a good win," said the captain, Alec Stewart, afterwards. "It's not going to beat our win at Headingley against South Africa last summer, because that won the series. The idea now is to win in Sydney and square this series. It would mean a lot to any team to finish 2-2 to the best side in the world."

Back in his role as opener, Stewart scored 107 and 52 but it was the pace bowlers who stole the glory with a performance of sustained hostility.

"It was an emotional moment," said Headley, whose wickets won him the man of the match award. "I was getting tired, but I kept telling myself, if you can get one wicket you can get another. In the end that's what happened, but I'm just happy that we won."

Back home, Headley's proud parents were celebrating after a night spent following their son's heroics. His mother, Gail, speaking from the family home in Stourbridge, West Midlands, said she and her husband were "elated".

"I know he really wanted to do something good this time. I am so glad. He really deserves it," Mrs Headley said. "I got up at 6.45am and my husband Ron, who had had the radio on all night, said, 'The lad is doing it but it is very tight.' I couldn't stand it. I was pacing the floor crying and I had to keep leaving the room, but he did it."

Extraordinary victory, Sport, page 20