Best of the Test
Skysports.com's Joe Drabble picks out the key moments as England wrapped up a 3-1 series victory on the final day at the SCG
England wrapped up their first Ashes victory in Australia since 1986-87 with an emphatic innings and 83-run triumph in the final Test at the SCG.
After retaining the urn in Melbourne a week earlier, England ensured they won the series 3-1 with a swift victory on day five.
Requiring just three further wickets for victory, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Chris Tremlett all struck after a brief break for rain to cue wild celebrations both on the pitch and in the crowd.
Australia all-rounder Steve Smith did bring up his maiden Ashes half-century moments before the result was sealed, however he could not prevent his side sliding to another comprehensive defeat.
Here is skysports.com's best of the Test from day five at the SCG...
Player - Steve Smith
The promising Australia all-rounder refused to step aside and let England steamroll their way to a victory on the final day. Smith dug deep, driving and pulling powerfully before bringing up his maiden Ashes half-century shortly before the defeat was sealed. He rather sheepishly acknowledged his home crowd upon reaching the milestone, knowing his efforts had come too little, too late.
Delivery - James Anderson
What a series it has been for England's strike bowler. He finished the tour with 24 wickets to his name, terrorising the Aussie batsmen from his first ball to his last. He produced another gem today, angling a full delivery away from Ben Hilfenhaus to catch the edge. Anderson and Matt Prior have formed a formidable partnership all tour and the England gloveman mopped up with ease behind the stumps to put the tourists one wicket from victory.
Shot - Steve Smith
Ploughing a lone furrow against the England attack, Smith was determined to reach his half-century despite an inevitable innings defeat edging ever nearer. Poised on 48 and with plenty of company around the bat, the Aussie No.7 backed away to the leg side before playing a controlled back-cut all along the floor and past the slips for four. A very classy shot from the young New South Welshman.
Catch - James Anderson
You couldn't keep Anderson out the game today and he showed a safe pair of hands to break a stubborn eighth-wicket partnership between Smith and Peter Siddle. The pair had taken Australia on from 171-7 to 257-7 before a rush of blood from Victorian Siddle broke the stand. He could not resist a flighted delivery from Swann, slogging out to Anderson on the midwicket boundary. The ball was in the air for some time, however the Lancastrian held his nerve in front of the Barmy Army, and the ball, to spark lively celebrations.
Moment - Billy dancing
There were plenty of memorable moments today, however the pick of which during play came from larger than life umpire Billy Bowden. With the Barmy Army going around the ground asking for players to wave, they made sure the New Zealand official was not left out of the action. Not only did Billy wave, he also set off on a magical backwards moonwalk which had the crowd roaring with laughter. Characters like Billy make this great sport even greater.
Chant - Barmy Army
It was all singing and dancing inside the SCG today as thousands of England fans turned out to watch their team seal a remarkable series win. With all touring fans able to sit together, it was a real carnival atmosphere with the Barmy Army unleashing their full repertoire of chants. The series-clinching wicket was fittingly taken just as Billy the Trumpeter had chimed in with 'The Last Post'. A magnificent end to the tour.
Talking point - What next?
They say retaining the Ashes in Australia is the pinnacle, so just how far can England go with their current side? They currently sit No.3 in the world rankings with summer series against Sri Lanka and world No.1 nation India to come. Have England got what it takes to reach top spot? And for Australia, where do they turn from here? Ricky Ponting looks destined to lose the captaincy, but is Michael Clarke really the right man to replace him?
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Steve Cain says...
This quote from Peter Roebuck in the Sydney Morning Herald nicely summed up England's all round dominance for me: "Throughout England resembled a boa constrictor, a reptile that wraps itself around its foe and crushes it until its eyeballs pop out. Seldom has ruthlessness been as attractively and painfully delivered."
Posted 03:00 7th January 2011
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