England nailed Australia's coffin on the final day of the second Ashes test at Adelaide to take a 1-0 lead in the series with three matches remaining. A brilliant Graeme Swann was too hot for the home team to handle, and they succumbed to his figures of 5-91, giving England victory by an innings and 71 runs and with it, every chance to retain the Ashes.
Australians were hoping for the forecasted showers to help them draw the match. By the time the pouring began however, England were well into their celebrations after they wrapped up matters early in the morning session within 90 minutes.
England's win means they have 1-0 lead with three matches remaining. If Australia are to win back the Ashes, it would require them to win at least two of the three, a mammoth task considering they haven't tasted victory in the last five tests they have played.
The drama started early, as Aussie danger man Michael Hussey (52), was dropped by Matt Prior in a Graeme Swann over. However, it didn't prove costly for England as 10 deliveries later, Hussey attempted to pull Steven Finn but underestimated the bounce only managing to top-edge to the waiting Anderson at mid-wicket. Anderson's roar as he took the catch said it all.
The battling Brad Haddin soon followed, managing only a 12 before edging James Anderson behind gifting a routine catch to Prior. In the very next delivery, Anderson was on a hat-trick when Ryan Harris decided to leave a delivery only to see it swing back in and rap his pads in perfect line with the stumps. Though Harris appealed, more out of desperation than belief, he was soon walking back with the unwanted tag of being only the second Australian to be dismissed for a 'king pair' - out first ball in both innings.
Australia's hopes rested on Marcus North (22), the only out and out batsmen remaining. However, he failed to make a case for his inclusion in the next squad when Swann got him lbw when he came forward with bat and pad close together. Though umpire Tony Hill gave him not out, Swann successfully reviewed with replays suggesting it was pad first before bat.
At this stage Australia were 286-8, and all that remained was for Swann to complete his 10th five-wicket haul. He managed that quickly, ending Doherty's unhappy match when he bowled him for five. He then delivered an off-break to Siddle, which found the gap between his bat and pads on the way to the stumps.
It was a first innings win against Australia in 24 years for England, and they look in good form for the third crucial test at Perth. Andrew Strauss was jubilated with his teams win, and was happy to banish the ghosts of 2006 when on the final day at Adelaide, Shane Warne had seen through an English collapse.
You're always thinking back to what happened here four years ago and asking 'could Australia find a way to get back into this game?'. But we were pretty clinical out there. A lot of boxes ticked in this game. When you're confident things start happening for you as a matter of course, you don't have to push it.
Even when Hussey was getting them back in the game, they weren't going anywhere and we always find if we could just get one wicket we'd be ahead again. Swann did a great job of strangling the batsmen in the first innings too. Batsmen like to score runs, and if they can't they get a bit edgy.
He also spoke about fatigue after two back-to-back tests and how the loss of Stuart Broad, who is out of the rest of the series with a torn abdominal muscle, is a blow.
We've got some good momentum, but the guys are pretty tired after back to back Tests and certainly some of the bowlers will need a rest and maybe some of the batsmen too. The loss of Broad will be very big, he's been a senior bowler for us, but we've got three guys bowling well and who are all chomping at the bit to get out there. We'll take into account how they bowl at the MCG, but I do have some plans.
To put the ghosts of four years ago to bed is really good for us. The last six days or so have been outstanding cricket for us.
To state the obvious, Australian skipper Ricky Ponting didn't share his joy. We got off to a shambolic start to the Test match, and it was always going to be hard to fight back from there. said Ponting. We needed to make a big score in the first innings and 245 was never going to be enough.
We also put down a few crucial catches in the field. It's just those little things which are literally slipping through our hands at the moment, you can't give good players second and third chances. We've got to go away and do some soul-searching. England have kept us under real pressure, and we've got to find a way to cope with that.
Both teams will ring the changes for the third test, with with England forced to replace Broad with Chris Tremlett or Tim Bresnan while Australia will need to replace Simon Katich whose Achilles tendon problem has ruled him out of the rest of the series. Xavier Doherty and Marcus North might also be dropped after below-par performances at Adelaide.
The third test at Perth will commence on the 16th of December.