Graeme Swann hails 'amazing series' after Ashes victory

Wednesday 29 December 2010 12:09

England spinner Graeme Swann heralded an "amazing series" after England retained the Ashes in Melbourne.

Swann took one of the three wickets needed to wrap up a first successful series in Australia for 24 years, as England recorded a crushing innings and 57-run win at the MCG.

Chris Tremlett snared Mitchell Johnson, Swann had Peter Siddle caught in the deep and Tim Bresnan took the historic wicket of Ben Hilfenhaus to kickstart the celebrations.

"It's been an amazing series," Swann told Sky Sports. "It's fluctuated so wildly. After the hammering we got in Perth it took a mammoth effort to come back.

"I think the difference to me is we had a few more guys in good nick with bat and ball. They have some unbelievable players but Ricky Ponting has not had a good score, how we've managed that I'll never know and he's one of the best players going.

"I was hoping I'd take the last wicket, but it's fitting that 'Bres' got it. I'm over the moon. I said before I wouldn't bother if I didn't take a wicket in the series as long as we won it."

Bresnan, for whom the Test marked his first of the tour, admitted: "It's an unbelievable feeling. I think we'll have a few decent days of celebrations now.

"The bowlers worked in partnerships and created pressure and that became wickets."

Batsman Ian Bell admitted the win will take some time to sink in in the England dressing room.

"This is one of the best moments," he said. "Winning at the MCG in the Boxing Day Test, especially after this performance, it's fantastic.

"We're a bit gobsmacked. The performances we've done out here have been fantastic since we've arrived.

"To retain the Ashes, we've worked very hard for this. Now we have to prepare for Sydney and we hope to end the series on a high. We want to put in a good performance in Sydney.

"At times Australia have shown they're a good side but we've also played some good cricket. Our batting, bowling and fielding has been fantastic and it's good we've been able to play consistent cricket for some time now."

England skipper Andrew Strauss had nothing but praise for his side and also paid tribute to coach Andy Flower for his part in their success.

"I had hoped we would retain the Ashes, but you know how much hard work is needed," he said.

"We did a lot of planning for this series and knew what we wanted to do, but it's another thing going out and doing it.

"A lot of credit goes out to Andy Flower and the backroom staff, but also the players on the pitch who did a fantastic job. Now we want to go out and win the series but it's pretty amazing what we've achieved here."

Beleaguered Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who has made just 113 runs all series, said he hoped to lead his side in Sydney as talk over his future builds, but admitted it may not be his decision to make.

"Absolutely I still want to be captain," he told Test Match Special. "I still feel I have a whole lot to offer the team as far as batting and leadership is concerned.

"It's not a decision for me to make. I could step down but I don't have a decision to stay on. The powers that be will make that decision.

"If I have a decision to make it has to be right for Australian cricket and not for me."

Ponting also admitted that his form had been a critical reason behind his side's troubles.

"My series has been horrible," he said. "That's a big reason why we've been in this position. We've all tried and you do the best you can, sometimes it's good enough.

"We're disappointed and we've been beaten easily. We now can't win the Ashes and no-one is more disappointed than me.

"We weren't good enough, they simply outplayed us."

Ponting, who has had another x-ray on the broken finger that had threatened to rule him out of this game, added on Sky Sports: "I don't know (about my fitness). The plan was to get through the game and have another x-ray. I've got them back, but I've not had chance to look at them with the physio yet.

"I have a bit of thinking to do. It would be nice to flick a switch and turn things around. I've tried my heart out and I understood that for us to win I had to make runs. I haven't done that."

The England players spent a long time on the field after the win, ensuring the travelling support could enjoy as much of the celebrations as possible.

And both Matt Prior and James Anderson offered their thanks to the fans who have made the trip Down Under.

"I'm almost speechless at the support," said Prior. "This is a hugely special moment, doing a lap of honour at the MCG.

"To retain the Ashes here is massively special and all of these people have travelled a long way to come and support us. It's fantastic."

Anderson added: "The Barmy Army have been fantastic throughout this trip and have made a lot of Australian grounds feel like home for us."

Coach Andy Flower congratulated his players on the historic win, but was quick to remind them the series is not over yet.

"Of course I'm very proud and the team are very proud of what they've achieved here and justifiably so," he said.

"They've played some very good cricket throughout the series. We had a blip in Perth (in the third Test) but came back strongly here.

"But there's still another game in this series and now is perhaps not the time to be looking back and patting each other on the back.

"We want to win the final game and leave the series with a win, 3-1. We certainly don't want to lose that game."

Flower also believes the Ashes success bodes well for the future, although he insists there is still a lot of hard work to be done with a busy schedule ahead of them.

"I don't know how far this group can go but it's certainly a very talented bunch," he added.

"We have a lot of challenges in the near future - the last Test, the one-day series and then the World Cup.

"The World Cup is a very important event for us so the guys will have to remain very fit and focused."

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