Swann hails ‘amazing’ series after England retain the Ashes
England spinner praises tourists' "mammoth effort" after winning by an innings and 157 runs in Melbourne
Spinner Graeme Swann hailed an “amazing series” after England retained the Ashes in Melbourne with a Test match to spare.
Australia resumed on day four 246 runs behind the visitors on 169-6 and with the injured Ryan Harris unable to bat, they were eventually dismissed for 258 before lunch at the MCG.
Chris Tremlett, Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan each took a wicket as England won by an innings and 157 runs to seal their first Ashes triumph in Down Under for 24 years.
England, who are now 2-1 up with only the Sydney Test remaining, now have the chance to win their first series Down Under since 1986-87 if they can avoid defeat at the SCG.
“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.
He added: “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.”
Captain Andrew Strauss hailed the efforts of England’s backroom staff and insisted that his side now have their sights firmly set on winning the series. He said: “I had hoped we would retain the Ashes, but you know how much hard work is needed.
“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.”
Australia skipper Ricky Ponting highlighted his own poor performances as one of the reasons for the host’s downfall. “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.”