Andrew Strauss looks forward to remaining Tests

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The Independent Online

England's 100th Test victory over Australia means they are within one more success of retaining the Ashes before Christmas.

Today's innings-and-71-run trouncing of their hosts is also an unqualified vindication of the methods of captain Andrew Strauss, coach Andy Flower and their high-quality personnel.



It is England's first win by an innings down under since they last returned home with the Ashes almost a quarter-of-a-century ago.



It is also their biggest margin of victory since 1966, another 20 years before Mike Gatting's tourists famously conquered Australia.



Perhaps more than either of those two resounding statistics, though, is the less quantifiable but unquestionably significant satisfaction of leaving Adelaide - unlike during the 5-0 whitewash tour four years ago - with the sense of a job completed, rather than half-done and with dire consequences.



Andrew Strauss was one of those embarrassingly beaten at this venue under the captaincy of Andrew Flintoff in 2006/07, despite having established an apparently impregnable position by piling up a first-innings 551 for six declared.



Strauss was here again, of course - this time in charge himself of a team who made even more in their only innings, thanks to Alastair Cook's continued prolific run-making at the top of the order and back-to-form Kevin Pietersen's career-best 227.



After James Anderson had proved he can after all be just as effective away from the home comforts of cloud cover in Australia's below-par 245 on day one, Strauss kept pulling the strings until Graeme Swann (five for 91) finished the hosts off before lunch on the final day.



There was so much therefore for Strauss to boast about.



That, though, was never going to happen - and true to type, he produced instead a balanced assessment of England's achievement so far.



They have gone 1-0 up, in style, and have three matches to play.



Strauss, whose team had to dig deep in the first Test in Brisbane to keep the series scoreless, will allow them to celebrate their opening victory - but not for long.



"We never gave them a look-in, and we're very pleased about what we've done - especially on the back of the last couple of days at Brisbane," he said.



"But we know the game of cricket, and we know it's got a horrible way of biting you if you pat yourself on the back too much.



"We need to enjoy this and savour it, because it was a special victory for us - in some ways it exorcised some of the demons from four years ago here.



"But it's back to square one again ... it's important we don't let Australia back in the series now."



With Anderson on a hat-trick at one point, Ricky Ponting's team lost their last six wickets for only 43 runs - seemingly unable to recover from the departure of mainstay Michael Clarke to Pietersen's part-time off-spin with the final delivery the previous evening.



Once Steven Finn accounted for the determined Michael Hussey with the second new ball, and Anderson made two more quick inroads, Swann did what everyone expected - just much more quickly than everyone expected - taking expert advantage of a worn pitch.



With an hour or so more resistance, Australia would have escaped the Adelaide Oval as England did the Gabba, because forecast thunderstorms arrived by 2pm.



By then, Strauss had already ruled offside the premature theory that England are simply the better team.



"The only time we can say that is when we've won the Ashes - which we won't be doing for a while yet," he said.



"They will come back at us hard, and if there's any way back into the series they will take it.



"But the most pleasing thing about this game was it was a pretty complete performance.



"That's going to be the template moving forward, and we can't lower our standards from that.



"We've got to be prepared for a scrap, these last three Test matches."



Man of the match Pietersen was not in the mood to hog the glory.



Reiterating Strauss' warnings of complacency, and full of comradeship with his fellow victors, he threw in too a pointed contrast to that experience four years ago - with Flintoff as captain, and Duncan Fletcher coach. "The best feeling is walking into the dressing room, having won this Test match," he said.



"Four years ago it was a very, very horrible dressing room to walk into, a very quiet dressing room, a very negative dressing room - and not as united as the dressing room is at the moment.



"Individual performances add to a team victory, and I think the team victory today is incredible.



"It's the best feeling, no matter who takes the wickets or gets the runs.



"A victory in Australia ... I haven't had one; Straussy hasn't had one in Test match cricket."



Since 2006/07, Pietersen has had his own short-lived and sour taste of Test captaincy.



But today, he would not have anything any different.



"I'm very happy where I'm at at the moment, where I'm at in the team, and very happy with Straussy and the job he's doing.



"It's been absolutely amazing, and such a happy place to be."



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