After it was all over, after Jimmy Anderson had bowled the final ball of his 213.1 overs and taken the last of his 24 wickets, he slept. He went into the dressing room, spent, and he had a good English nap.
"It has been hectic and has taken its toll," he said. "I actually just had half an hour's sleep after the presentations and initial celebrations because I was absolutely knackered. The first thing I did was to sleep, not exactly rock and roll, but I've not been that well this week.
"It has just been a long seven weeks, and with me going home and coming back, it has been a really emotional time for me, but a great way to finish it off."
Anderson took 3 for 61 in Australia's second innings on the final day, 7 for 127 in the match. His tally of 24 for the series was the largest by an England fast bowler in Australia since John Snow's 31 wickets 40 years ago. England won then as well. Like Snow, Anderson was the leader of a battery of fast bowlers, albeit cut from different cloth (though both can be decidedly grumpy to batsmen).
"When the ball is moving laterally it is a lot easier for us to have plans for the batsmen and you can set them up a bit more," he said. "It worked a couple of times in the second innings and it felt great. But our plans for each of their batsmen have worked throughout the series, we've had good plans and executed them."
Anderson is off home for a fortnight now. Having played in all five matches he needs the break, which he may not get considering he has a newly born daughter's nappies to change. "It has been one of the most emotional times for me in my life," he said. "It was amazing to get back home for the birth of my daughter, and then at the same time come back here and celebrate with all the other families. With mine not here that has been quite tough.
"But I'm just delighted the way it has worked out and I can't wait to get back to England now. I'd like to think I've earned a bit of time off, although it won't all be feet up. I'll have a couple of days off, but then I've got to stay fit because as soon as I get back out here I'll be playing one-day cricket."
Few would have suspected that Anderson, king of the swingers in swinging conditions, could play such a prominent role. But he never doubted himself, it seems.
"The biggest thing that I've improved in the last few years is the length that I hit," he said. "I bowl the right length much more consistently now. You can have all the skills in the world but if you don't hit a good length then you're going to go for runs. I can swing the ball and reverse swing it and now I can hit the right length and I want to keep improving on that."
The singular honour of taking the last wicket to clinch the series went to Chris Tremlett, the most surprising selection in the squad, who has been a revelation. He was drafted into the side for the third Test after Stuart Broad was injured in Adelaide and had an immediate impact. When he bowled Michael Beer off his pads at 11.56am Sydney time yesterday, England had won the match by an innings and 83 runs and the series 3-1.
"It was a surreal moment, really," said Tremlett. "It's been an amazing five days, everyone was tired but to get that last wicket and to have all the lads jumping around in the huddle was very emotional.
"I didn't get the ball, I think someone else got it, I got a stump. But it was a great feeling and shows how far I have come in the last few months. It is something I will never forget, it has been a crazy few weeks, coming into the side and being able to contribute has been amazing."
He spent three years out of the side after playing three Test matches against India in 2007. He did well but he seemed to have dropped off the radar. England's new bowling coach, David Saker, who signed a three-year extension to his contract yesterday, brought him back in.
"A year ago I was still a Hampshire player not sure where I was going," Tremlett said. "My career was a bit in limbo, but I was keen to get back into the England team. I certainly thought I had the belief and the ability to be a Test bowler. It was about starting again, working very hard to try and get my body into shape and bowling consistently well.
"It was about taking a bulk of wickets, which I did for Surrey, which helped me get selection for this tour," Tremlett added. "David Saker has been great, he was one of the ones who had been impressed with what I had done for Surrey. I actually went for a net session with the England guys in the summer and he was the one who introduced himself to me."
And anyone doubting what effect winning the Ashes in Australia can have should listen to Tremlett, one of the coolest dudes around. He is the antithesis of the angry fast bowler but this really was something. "The last couple of weeks, just being involved in the England side have changed my life," he said. "It's amazing to be involved in an Ashes series. Just playing one Ashes Test is amazing. To win it and then to cap it off with the last wicket is amazing. I haven't really thought about it much yet. I'm sure when I get home or at some point it will sink in. Not yet though." And so said all of them.
Bragging Rights: Reflections on an historic triumph
"Three innings victories is historic. It goes to show how well England have played in all departments. We should be very proud of the fact we played so well we didn't allow Australia to get into the game. That shows what an impressive win it has been."
"I've spoken to Andrew Strauss this morning and congratulated the team, coaches and everyone behind the side on this tremendous victory. Retaining the Ashes was a fantastic achievement but winning the series really is the icing on the cake. We've seen some great sporting moments over the series and the team have provided us with some brilliant memories that I'm sure fans will talk about for years to come. The whole country is incredibly proud of them."
"It's amazing to win so convincingly in Australia. All credit to the team and the management. Every single bloke has done something to make it such a great trip. Every single time an occasion has been needed, one of us has stood up. I did in Adelaide, but every single bloke, player, member of the back-room staff has been outstanding."
"It has been chalk and cheese out in the middle. Where you see desperation from the Australians, there is cool, calm, collected professionalism from England and it has been great to watch. I've waited a while for this. It has been 24 years since we last won over here and I didn't think it would take so long to happen again, but it is brilliant to see England win so comprehensively."
"Someone told me that [Australia losing by an innings three times] was the first time it happened to Australia. You don't realise the historical significance of anything that's going on. To win three so convincingly helps us forget about the drubbing we had in Perth."
"Congratulations to England, they played better cricket. These guys have come in and the one thing that stands out is the attitude and belief they can win. They said, 'We're going to try and win every game we possibly can', and they just about have. You can criticise Australia and say they've been poor but England haven't allowed them to play."
"The better team won. England have simply got better players. They're a 40 per cent better cricket team. They think better, play better, have better players and better coaches. [Alastair] Cook got man of the series, but you could pick out three or four guys. [James] Anderson has been brilliant; [Chris] Tremlett has played a massive role, and [Matt] Prior has been up there. [Jonathan] Trott at three has been great. That's what happens in good teams – someone sticks their hand up, but it's not always the same person."Reuse content