There were scenes of intense celebration when Shane Warne bowled Monty Panesar for his 699th test wicket and fatal blow to complete the series victory for Australia.
It was fitting that Warne, the most menacing of the Australian bowlers in the final innings with figures of 4-123, took the series-winning wicket.
Warne almost single-handedly destroyed England’s charge in 2005 with a 40-wicket haul and has once again been a constant threat to the English this series.
“It’s bloody fantastic to be honest,” said Warne after the victory. “We’ve deserved this, we’ve earned it, we hurt after 2005 and we’ve been ready, so we’ll enjoy a couple of quiet ones – or very loud ones.”
Australian opener Matthew Hayden quickly jumped into the fray and added “Australia, you bloody beauty”, a fitting emphasis.
Long-serving Australian opener Justin Langer said: “We’ve waited 15 months for it, so that’s as good as it gets … It’s not every day you win the Ashes back, is it?”
Mike Hussey, unwanted for the 2005 series said: “All the hard work has been worthwhile. This is absolutely fantastic, just to be a part of something like this. I saw a tear in Matty Hayden’s eye, so it meant a lot to them. I know they were hurting a lot (after 2005) … so it’s fantastic, especially on home turf. It’s great to be able to drown out English fans for once.”
The victory took Australia to 10 consective Test wins – only the third side in history to acieve the feat, after Steve Waugh’s Australian side of 1999-2001 and Clive Lloyd’s 1984 West Indies side.
England’s Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff took up the attack but Australia took four wickets in 33 balls to all but seal the result.
The brilliance of Warne and Ricky Ponting turned the day on its after England’s bright start. Warne bowled Flintoff for 51 to douse any dreams England had of pulling off Test cricket’s most audacious run-chase, and then a sharp piece of Ponting fielding sent a dagger through the tourists’ aims of saving the match.
The Australian captain ran out Geraint Jones when he flicked the ball on to the stumps after the England wicketkeeper carelessly failed to put his foot behind the batting crease after missing an attempted sweep shot.
Jones’ duck was his fourth in as many innings this tour and his second of the match. Warne and Stuart Clark then removed tailenders Sajid Mahmood and Steve Harmison, but No.11 Monty Panesar somewhat delayed the celebrations by holding on over the last two overs of the session.