Strauss hails 'special' achievement in retaining Ashes
Andrew Strauss hailed England's effort, strength in depth, resilience and supporters after they retained the Ashes with an innings and 157-run victory over Australia in the fourth test today.cricket Updated: Dec 29, 2010 08:14 IST
Andrew Strauss hailed England's effort, strength in depth, resilience and supporters after they retained the Ashes with an innings and 157-run victory over Australia in the fourth test on Wednesday.
The England skipper said it was a "special" victory that meant even more to those in the squad who had suffered in the 5-0 whitewash in the last series in Australia in 2006-07.
Even in the moment of the biggest achievement of his career as England captain, however, Strauss could not resist reciting the familiar team mantra of "no complacency" that has stood England in such good stead since they arrived in Australia.
"We've got to keep our feet on the ground because there are many goals that we want to achieve both in this series and into the future," he said.
"But we're very excited right now, it's a special occasion the MCG game and to come out here and retain the Ashes is something that will live long in all our memories."
After a draw in the opening match in Brisbane, England won the second by an innings and 71 runs only for the Australians to trample all over them in Perth to claim a 267-run victory.
"It's been a really top quality performance from all the lads this week," said Strauss.
"We had to bounce pretty back pretty hard after Perth and the way the bowlers bowled on the first day was outstanding and put us in a pretty good position to win the test match.
"We were pretty shocked by what happened in Perth, we weren't expecting it. All credit to what Australia achieved there, but we knew that if we just went back to what we've been doing all tour ... it would work for us.
"It was a case of getting back on the horse and restricting Australia, applying pressure with the ball and taking our chances with the bat."
Two of the best bowlers of the fourth test, Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan, were not even in team for the first two tests -- evidence of England's good preparation, according to Strauss.
"We knew that coming to Australia, you need more than eleven, the conditions are pretty hard," he added.
"Chris Tremlett's been outstanding, bit of a surprise selection, but he's bowled outstandingly here.
"Tim Bresnan, we always knew that he'd be capable out here and he's proved that... we've got a good squad, we're a happy team, which is a good thing."
Exorcising the demons of the tour four years ago, when England arrived confidently in possession of the Ashes but departed with empty hands after being routed, made the triumph all the more enjoyable.
"The last tour out here was pretty disappointing and we were distraught at the end of it, so to turn it round and actually have some success out here, makes you realise how special it is...," said Strauss.
Strauss said although England were determined to clinch the series in the fifth test in Sydney next week, they would probably not remember much of their celebrations on Tuesday night.
Celebrating the first Ashes triumph in Australia in 24 years with them in Melbourne will be the travelling "Barmy Army" of England supporters.
"The Barmy Army were outstanding in this game, they've lit up the MCG," said Strauss. "Their support throughout the tour has been absolutely outstanding."