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Jan 7, 2011

England win the Ashes Series 3-1


England won the fifth Ashes Test by an innings and 83 runs on Friday to claim a first series triumph in Australia in nearly a quarter of a century.

The tourists, who had already ensured they would retain the famous urn, needed a little more than 17 overs to remove Australia's last three batsmen on day five of the final Test to win the Ashes series 3-1.

"We came over here desperately wanting to win the series. Obviously in Melbourne we retained the Ashes but we really wanted to finish with a bang over here in Sydney," an ecstatic Andrew Strauss said on the podium.

"All credit to the guys, they've been outstanding again, the way the bowlers bowled on day one, the batsmen dipped their bread in it again and we got another victory."

"So we're delighted with what we've done and we're certainly going to enjoy this evening, that's for sure."

Australia have lost series by bigger margins but in more than 130 years of Test cricket they had never conceded three defeats by an innings or more in a series against any country.

Stand-in skipper Michael Clarke had been handed the unenviable task of leading a demoralised Australia side into the final test after Ricky Ponting was ruled out with a broken finger.

"It's been a tough couple of months to be honest, we've been outplayed in all facets of the game," said Clarke, who like Ponting failed to inspire his team with the bat throughout the series.

"I think England have shown us what execution and discipline does with the ball and they've managed to go and make some big scores with the bat as well."

"Obviously I'm very disappointed like all the boys. We didn't perform as well as we'd have liked."

Free entry had ensured a half full house as the tourists performed the final rites but it was dominated by England fans with the Barmy Army's songs and chants echoing around the famous ground.

They celebrated wildly as England, just four years after suffering a first Ashes clean sweep in 86 years, matched the achievement of Mike Gatting's touring party of 1986-87.

Alastair Cook was named Man of the Match and won the Compton-Miller medal as Man of the Series.

The England opener made 189 in Sydney and 766 runs at an average of 127.66 over the fives Tests, the second highest by an Englishman in an Ashes series.

India and South Africa Test Series have ended 1-1

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni looked forward to new challenges after his side validated their ranking as the number one Test team by earning a share of the series against 2nd-ranked South Africa at Newlands on Thursday.

The third and final Test ended in a draw when play was called off eight overs early with India on 166 for three after being set to make 340 to win.

Opening batsman Gautam Gambhir guided India to safety with a careful innings of 64.

"We're happy with our performance," said MS Dhoni, pointing out that India were possibly one wicket away from being able to force a win when South Africa were reeling at 130 for six on the 4th day.

"If we could have got that one wicket we could have done something very special," he said.

Dhoni said he felt a shared series was a fair result and that his team were less concerned with the world ranking than with the process of preparing and playing well.

"Series between the top teams are very good for cricket," he said. "This year we go to England and then to Australia, so we will have played all the other top three teams."

Dhoni said there was always room for improvement. "We need to have a bigger pool of players because of the amount of games we play, especially fast bowlers, who are always likely to have injuries. It will be nice to have more fast bowlers who can do well in all conditions when we go to England and Australia."

South African captain Graeme Smith was less satisfied after India batted out the final day, scoring 166 for three after being set to make 344.

"It was a pity we couldn't close them out today but it has been a tremendous Test Series, very competitive."

But Smith acknowledged that South Africa were in trouble on the 4th day before Jacques Kallis made his second century of the match despite struggling with a side injury.

"Jacques was an inspiration to all of us in the dressing room," said Smith. "We could see how much pain he was in."

Kallis said the injury had got worse during his innings. Initially expected to be out of action for two weeks, he said he would rest for four weeks, "then start focusing on the World Cup".

The World Cup in Asia starts on February 19.