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Hard yards pay off for Strauss

Investec Test Series

Andrew Strauss & Graeme Swann

Andrew Strauss and Graeme Swann, who removed Mike Hussey to wrap up victory, savour the moment of triumph

England captain Andrew Strauss hailed the hard work of his team and staff after England regained the Ashes.

Strauss’ side won by 197 runs at the Brit Oval today to seal a 2-1 series win and reclaim the urn which went into Australia’s possession with a 5-0 whitewash in 2006/7.

“We had to work so hard for it today,” Strauss said. “These things never come easy.

“It’s been hard work by the XI on the field and the backroom staff as well. It’s a massive moment and I’m determined to enjoy it.”

Strauss admitted his belief occasionally wavered on a tense last day.

He said: “At times I didn’t think we were going to get there but that makes it more special.”

Strauss concurred with Australia captain Ricky Ponting that the series turned on a handful of key moments.

“When we were bad we were very bad and when we were good we managed to be good enough,” Strauss said.

“It’s been a very, very hard series. The 11 that played in this game had to show a lot of determination and fight. It’s a special moment; it hasn’t sunk in.”

Strauss, who took the captaincy after Kevin Pietersen’s fall-out with then-coach Peter Moores saw both men lose their jobs, admitted this triumph had seemed unlikely then.

He added: “It seemed like a long way off before that West Indies tour but the guys have done amazingly over the last eight months.

“I can’t overstate what a job (director of cricket Andy Flower) has done,” he said. “To pick us up after what happened in India, with drive and determination, has been brilliant.”

Strauss also paid tribute to the retiring Flintoff, saying: “We’re going to miss him - an incredible player for England, a great advert for the game of cricket, and it won’t be the same without him.”

Strauss added: “I’d like to thank Ricky Ponting and his team. They are great ambassadors for their country. They’ve played some great cricket.”

England Ashes

Strauss leads the celebrations as England enjoy their Ashes-clinching victory at the Brit Oval

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