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England win Oval game and with it the Ashes

Andrew StraussEngland beat Australia in the fifth and the final test match at Oval by 197 runs to regain the Ashes by winning the series 2-1. Chasing 546 for the most improbable of wins, Australia crashed to 348 all out, late on the fourth day to leave the hosts victors.

Australia had ended the fourth day at 80/0, and there was hope that the openers would have set up a good enough platform to press for a result in their favour. However, the fourth day saw the situation turnaround dramatically, as both their overnight batsmen, Shane Watson and Simon Katich fell off consecutive overs to leave the Aussies crippled at 90/2. The captain Ricky Ponting was then joined by the out of form Michael Hussey, and the pair carried on with a fightback to get to lunch without any further loss.

The partnership blossomed and passed the 100-run mark, and looked to be assuming dangerous proportions when the unexpected happened. Ponting was run-out off a direct throw by Andrew Flintoff, while the new-comer Michael Clarke was dismissed in the same manner by the short-leg, for the Aussies to leap back into trouble at 220/4. Marcus North also did not last too long, and was stumped by the wicket-keeper off Swann to reduce the Aussies further to 236/5 and in deep trouble.

The match was in England's bag by this time, and it would have only required a miracle for them to get out of the quagmire. Hussy did get to his century, while Haddin played a few airy-fairy shots and survived. But, the partnership was then quickly broken by Swann, while Steve Harmison returned to run through the tail. With Australia nine wickets down, and more than 200 runs to get, Hussey began swinging around, but was soon caught by the short-leg off the bowling of Swann to end the Aussie innings at 348. Hussey had recaptured his form back with a 121, but it was too little too late, and that hadn't helped the Aussies in regaining the Ashes.

Ponting and the Aussie management did accept in the end, that it was a mistake not to play Nathan Hauritz on this track which was helping the spinners.

Stuart Broad's excellent spell of bowling that broke the Aussie backs in the first innings won him the man-of-the-match award, whereas the man-of-the-series award was shared by Michael Clarke and Andrew Strauss, both of whom top-scored in the series for respective countries.

Tags:- Ricky Ponting   Michael Hussey   Michael Clarke   Shane Watson   Andrew Flintoff   Andrew Strauss   Steve Harmison   Ashes   Marcus North   Nathan Hauritz  

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