Swann revels in Ashes triumph
Graeme Swann heralded an “amazing series” after England retained the Ashes in Melbourne with a game to spare.
Swann took one of the three wickets needed today to wrap up a first successful Ashes conquest in Australia for 24 years, as the tourists recorded a crushing innings-and-157-run win at the MCG.
Chris Tremlett bowled Mitchell Johnson in the second over but Brad Haddin and Peter Siddle responded with an 86-run stand.
Swann broke through when Kevin Pietersen held Siddle on the long-on boundary and Tim Bresnan took the historic wicket in the next over, having Ben Hilfenhaus caught behind.
“It’s been an amazing series,” said Swann. “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, who made his Ashes debut in this Test, said: “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.”
Jonathan Trott was man of the match for his unbeaten 168 that underpinned the tourists’s 513.
Having only played in the final Test when England won the Ashes last year, he was determined to enjoy today.
“That’s why you spend all the long hours indoors in the winter and in the nets,” he said.
“It’s obviously very satisfying to come out here and go 2-1 up at the MCG, it’s a hell of a ground.
“I only played one Test in England in 2009, so I played a little part there.
“It’s obviously nice to do well and the team has been really successful over the last 18 months as well, prior to me coming into the team.
“I’m very happy with my own performance in this game and with one eye on Sydney as well it would be really nice to go 3-1 up.”
Ian Bell believes the win will take some time to sink in inside 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.
“The performances we’ve put in 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.”
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.
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.”