Triumphant England fans savour Ashes glory
England fans gleefully celebrated victory over their old enemy Australia on Sunday as they regained the Ashes and gave a Test send-off to remember to their old talisman Andrew Flintoff.cricket Updated: Aug 24, 2009 01:01 IST
England fans gleefully celebrated victory over their old enemy Australia on Sunday as they regained the Ashes and gave a Test send-off to remember to their old talisman Andrew Flintoff.
Fans danced for joy outside the Oval where England wrapped up a 197-run victory to clinch a 2-1 series win, while 10,000 mainly England fans, watching on a giant screen in nearby Regent's Park, punched the air in victory.
Australia's travelling army of fans, who had oozed confidence after Ricky Ponting's side thrashed England in the fourth Test at Headingley, tried to make a quiet exit.
One overjoyed England supporter, Dominic Foot, 33, was savouring a "fantastic day" at the Oval -- and he could hardly believe that Ponting had been run out and Australia's top batsman Michael Clarke departed without a single run on Sunday.
"England really deserved their victory. I think Australia will be gutted to have given away two such cheap wickets though."
"Clarke especially should be ashamed of himself," Foot's father, Michael, 63, chipped in, with a broad smile. "But what a great win."
Andrew Morgan, 32, a civil servant from Leeds, admitted he had lost faith in England after the Headingley drubbing.
"I would have put money on Australia winning after that. So I'm surprised. But it was a really good performance by England today.
"Flintoff did his bit and I was really happy for him in his final Test," he said, recalling the moment when "Freddie's" pinpoint throw caught Ponting outside his crease just as Australia appeared to be steadying the ship.
As the victory fireworks exploded into a cloudless sky above the Oval, Doug King-Spooner, 22, from Brighton, shook his head in disbelief.
"I have to say, it's always sweeter when you beat the Aussies," he laughed.
His father, Henry, 60, said the turning point in the series for Australia had come early on.
"Not being able to finish us off in Cardiff was where it really hurt them," he said. England had grimly held on for a draw in that first Test after defeat seemed inevitable.
Over in Regent's Park, the crowd, who came to the park with picnic baskets and blankets, scrambled to their feet as Australian batsman Michael Hussey was caught by Alastair Cook to end the match.
"Andrew Strauss was brilliant, he should be knighted, Sir Andrew Strauss, it's on the cards for sure," said one English fan, hailing the captain.
"I was in Australia in 2007 and that wasn't a happy occasion," said another England fan, sweating in a sumo suit in the afternoon heat. "That's a good Australian side and we deserved to win (this time)."
Back at the Oval, Australians were digesting a bitter defeat.
"Disappointed, stunned. What can I say?" said Sam Harrison, 33, a tour leader from Ballarat in Australia.
"I don't think the key moment was today, it was in the first Test in Cardiff when we failed to see them off. That draw put us on the back foot for the whole series."
Andrew Baldrey, 37, from Port Macquarie, and his friend Steve Jones, 37, from Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast, were looking to the future: "Just 16 months till we get it back" they chorused.
"I can't say I'm delighted to have travelled halfway round the world to see England win! England had a good game, but we're a bit down, obviously," said Andrew.
"I can hardly bring myself to say this, but Flintoff getting Ponting out was the key moment. It hurt us."
The Ashes are always a sensitive issue for Queen Elizabeth II -- Australia are in the Commonwealth after all.
So in her message of congratulations to England, she found space to "extend her good wishes to both teams on their excellent performances."