Bresnan: It felt amazing to take the final wicket

Tim Bresnan described taking the wicket that ensured England retain the Ashes as "phenomenal". Having previously dismissed Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey on day three, the Yorkshireman completed the best figures of his fledgling Test career by removing Ben Hilfenhaus to clinch victory in Melbourne.

A horses for courses choice for the MCG, Bresnan more than justified his selection ahead of Steven Finn, then the leading wicket-taker in the series, by being both parsimonious and a threat with the ball. He finished with four for 50 and six wickets in the match and now sits on top of the England bowling averages.

"Phenomenal. I think it's the only word," said a beaming Bresnan. "It surpasses winning the Twenty20 World Cup, but who would have thought we'd have two such moments in the space of seven months?"

Alastair Cook, who heads the batting averages, placed the winning moment above that of his previous experience of an Ashes triumph last year. He said: "It was incredible. We were talking about if it topped the Oval and it probably did in terms of pure emotion and achieving something which, at the beginning of the tour, we knew we could do but only dreamed about."

Ian Bell revealed that Andrew Strauss's key decision to chose to bowl first on day one – which saw Australia dismissed for 98 – was made only moments before the toss.

"Speaking to Straussy and the guys that make the decision, it was only 20 minutes before the toss we were going to bat first if we won the toss," said Bell.

"To change our mind and bowl first — I think sometimes when you win the toss and bowl the pressure that's on the bowlers to actually deliver — I think credit has to go to the bowlers for delivering the skills under massive pressure."

A feature of England's success has been their careful preparation, which Cook traced back through last winter's tours to Bangladesh and South Africa as well as the pre-Ashes training camps. That was echoed by Paul Collingwood. He said: "You deserve success when you do have a group of lads like this and put so much hard work into it."

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