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England's victorious cricketers performed their "sprinkler" dance earlier today after retaining the Ashes for the first time since the 1986/87 Ashes series.

England's innings and 157 run win on Day Four of the Fourth Test against the Aussies in Melbourne was their biggest win against them since 1956 and it put England 2-1 up in the Series with just one match to go. That means that England cannot now lose the Series and, as the holders of the urn, they only need to draw the Series to retain the Ashes, so they have retained that little urn.

England's "sprinkler" dance came to public attention after spin bowler Graeme Swann did it during one of his Ashes video diaries for the ECB's official website. Swann said the unusual dance was introduced to the squad by his team-mate Paul Collingwood. It involves the England players waving their arms in front of themselves in a jerky fashion and then a smooth wave imitating a water sprinkler used to keep the cricket outfield from drying out.

After performing the dance in front of the 15,000 England fans, known as the Barmy Army, who were dancing, waving St George's flags and chanting in the crowd, the players went back into the dressing room where they celebrated by smoking cigars. Almost all of the Aussie fans had left the stadium by the end of the game.

Back in Britain thousands of fans woke with sore heads after staying up into the early hours to celebrate England's thumping win.

At 1am UK time, less than 2 hours after the Fourth Day of the Fourth Test started, Tim Bresnan took the final wicket that England needed for victory, scuttling Australia all out for a second innings total of 258. In the first innings the Aussies scored a pathetic 98, with England scoring 513 in reply. Australia's second innings 258 meant that England didn't need to bat again.

Following the triumph the Prime Minister led the tributes saying the win was a 'great late Christmas present for the country'. He said: 'Congratulations to the England team and captain Andrew Strauss on a brilliant performance Down Under.

'Retaining the Ashes for the first time in almost a quarter of a century marks a very special end to the year for sports fans and a great late Christmas present for the country. I look forward to welcoming them to Downing Street when they return.'

After a month of "Pom-baiting" from the Aussie public, it was nice for the England fans to take to the streets of their Convict Colony and celebrate.

Joe Long, a 24-year-old teacher from Whitchurch, south Bristol, who almost didn't get to the match becauise of the chaos at Heathrow, said: 'After that brilliant cricket, we feel like we've won twice.

'Our Christmas survived intact and, most importantly of all, we got to that Boxing Day Test.

'It was my first Test match and I don't think I'll ever see a better one. We were brilliant and have been throughout.'

Dave Higson, 53, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was amongst dozens of Brits celebrating with a beer in the sweltering heat of Darling Harbour. He said: 'The hard work's done now but we are still going to have a hell of a few days at the cricket. We take so much stick from the Aussies - they're terrible losers, which makes it all the sweeter for us being out here.'

But Australian fans were also quick to congratulate the English, with former Australian bowler Shane Warne, who spends a lot of time in England, writing on his Twitter page: 'Congrats to the England cricket team on retaining the Ashes... It has taken 24 years for England to do it in Aust... Well done and Congrats.'

England may have retained the Ashes for the first time since 1986/87 but, being 2-1 up with one more match to go, in Sydney, they have not actually won this Ashes series. Just a draw is all they need in that next match to win the Ashes in Australia for the first time since 1986/87.


Dancing with delight, England's Ashes heroes do the 'sprinkler' for the jubilant Barmy Army after victory over Australia

By Daily Mail Reporter
29th December 2010
Daily Mail
  • Joyous scenes in Melbourne as England retain urn for first time in 24 years
  • Players perform 'sprinkler dance' before jubilant Barmy Army
  • 'Few days' of celebrations planned before final Test in Sydney
  • PM David Cameron promises reception party for England's stars



The Ashes, 2010/11

Fourth Day of the Fourth Test

1st Innings
Australia: 98
England: 513

2nd Innings
Australia: 258

England win by an innings and 157 runs and go 2-1 up in the Series with one match remaining. England retain the Ashes and need to at least draw the next Test to win the Series.

The England cricket team started celebrating their historic Ashes victory over the Australians by performing a victory 'sprinkler' dance for their ecstatic fans.

Led by spin bowler Graham Swann, who made the dance famous on his Ashes Video Diaries, the entire team brought delight to the travelling Barmy Army who had just seen them retain the Ashes for the first time in 24 years.

For the dance the players wave the ir arms in a jerky fashion with a smooth wave to imitate the water sprinklers used on cricket pitches.

The impromptu routine has become the signature dance which has summed up the team's spirit and camaraderie.

Fans of the Australian team had long left the stands of Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Barmy Army to savour the famous victory. They sang, clapped and roared in delight as the whole team performed 'the sprinkler' for them.


The England players perform the 'sprinkler dance' for fans at the MCG. The moves came to public attention after Graeme Swann did it during one of his Ashes video diaries for the ECB's official website. Swann said the unusual dance was introduced to the squad by his team-mate Paul Collingwood. It involves the England players waving their arms in front of themselves in a jerky fashion and then a smooth wave imitating a water sprinkler used to keep the cricket outfield from drying out


Jubilant: The Barmy Army were on the march, showing their support after the Ashes were retained

In the UK, David Cameron described the win as a 'great late Christmas present for the country', and thousands of fans woke with sore heads after staying up into the early hours to celebrate England's thumping win.

Tim Bresnan took the winning wicket less than two hours into day four of the Test match, about 1am UK time, dismissing Australian batsman Ben Hilfenhaus and giving the visitors a victory of an innings and 157 runs.

It prompted euphoria among thousands of England fans, many waving flags of St George and chanting victory songs, who made the 24-hour flight to Australia to be inside the MCG.

Following the triumph the Prime Minister led the tributes. He said: 'Congratulations to the England team and captain Andrew Strauss on a brilliant performance Down Under.

'Retaining the Ashes for the first time in almost a quarter of a century marks a very special end to the year for sports fans and a great late Christmas present for the country. I look forward to welcoming them to Downing Street when they return.'

Whether he will invited along the former England all-rounder Freddie Flintoff remains to be seen. After victory over the Australians in 2005 he and Kevin Pietersen arrived at Downing St bleary-eyed and somewhat worse for wear.


We're smoking: Wicket keeper Matt Prior and bowler Tim Bresnan celebrate with cigars after the match

In Sydney, where the fifth Test match will start late on Sunday UK time, England fans took to the streets after a month of 'Pom-baiting' from locals.

Joe Long, a 24-year-old teacher from Whitchurch, south Bristol, almost missed out on his seat at the Melbourne Test on Boxing Day after his family's dream trip was thrown into chaos by delays at Heathrow.
Mr Long, his brother, Alex, and parents, George and Carol, landed in Australia on Christmas Eve - a week after their scheduled arrival.


England captain Andrew Strauss greets the fans following his team's historic victory over their oldest rivals


England's Tim Bresnan, who took the final wicket, celebrates winning the fourth test at Melbourne Cricket Ground


Graeme Swann (centre) thanks the Barmy Army for their support after England's victory over Australia

But speaking at Sydney's Circular Quay, he said: 'After that brilliant cricket, we feel like we've won twice.

'Our Christmas survived intact and, most importantly of all, we got to that Boxing Day Test.

'It was my first Test match and I don't think I'll ever see a better one. We were brilliant and have been throughout.'

Dave Higson, 53, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was among dozens of Britons celebrating with a beer in 26C (79F) temperatures near Darling Harbour.

The delivery driver, who travelled out to see his brother and go to the Sydney Test, said: 'The hard work's done now but we are still going to have a hell of a few days at the cricket.


Smooch: One fan got a little close for comfort to Matt Prior


England's Matt Prior celebrates with fans after retaining the Ashes

'We take so much stick from the Aussies - they're terrible losers, which makes it all the sweeter for us being out here.'

England captain Strauss said: 'Winning the Ashes in Australia has always been a bit of a Holy Grail for English sides.

'We haven't won the series yet, but have retained the urn - which was one of our primary goals.

'The players deserve everything they get, because they've stood up when it matters.'

While Strauss insisted the fight wasn't over yet, with one Test remaining, spin bowler Graeme Swann said: 'They say you've got to keep your feet on the ground but I'll be 15 feet in the air for the next couple of days and I don't care what anybody thinks!'

Following the triumph, which is the first time in 24 years that England have retained the Ashes in Australia, the Prime Minister applauded the team.

He said: 'Congratulations to the England team and captain Andrew Strauss on a brilliant performance Down Under.


An English fan wearing a mask depicting the Queen cheers on his team as England defeats Australia on the fourth day of the fourth Ashes cricket Test match


A Barmy Army flag in one hand, sporting a Marylebone Cricket Club tie and Panama hat, and a fake Ashes urn in his other hand... a portrait of a true blue England cricket fan


To the victor, the spoils: England captain Andrew Stauss and Australian captain Ricky Ponting pass each other after England's win over Australia


All time low: Australian captain Ricky Ponting reacts after England defeated Australia

'Retaining the Ashes for the first time in almost a quarter of a century marks a very special end to the year for sports fans and a great late Christmas present for the country. I look forward to welcoming them to Downing Street when they return.'

Labour leader Ed Miliband added: 'This is a fantastic result for the England team.

'Retaining the Ashes in Australia is a great achievement. I, alongside millions of people across the country, send my congratulations to Andrew Strauss and the whole side.'

Fans in the UK delayed going to bed for a few hours to watch the win on television.

Steve Lewis, 35, who watched the Test from his home in Billericay, Essex, said: 'I don't think anyone could say we didn't deserve it - in fact, we've completely outclassed them in every department, in my opinion.

'I think this is a great day for English sport and the dawning of a new era in cricket really. It always used to be Australia who were head and shoulders above us, now the shoe's on the other foot. We need to kick on now and become the best team in the world.'

Mr Lewis, who plays for Stock Cricket Club, added: 'I've got eight team-mates who are in the ground in Melbourne at the moment and I'm so jealous. It looks brilliant to be there and the support has been amazing.

'I hope we win the last match in Sydney too to win the series, because we deserve it.'

Fellow fan David Tilley, 36, who also watched the game in the UK, said: 'It's wonderful to stick it to the Aussies in their own backyard, especially after so many years of misery Down Under. It's great and long may it continue.'

Australian fans were also quick to congratulate the English, with former Australian bowler Shane Warne writing on his Twitter page: 'Congrats to the England cricket team on retaining the Ashes... It has taken 24 years for England to do it in Aust... Well done and Congrats.'

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: 'This is a fantastic result for the England team. Retaining the Ashes in Australia is a great achievement.


Australian fans were noticeable by their absence from the giant Melbourne Cricket Ground... but there were 15,000 England fans to savour the moment

'I, alongside millions of people across the country, send my congratulations to Andrew Strauss and the whole side.'

Former England captain Mike Gatting gave his congratulations to Strauss and team coach Andy Flower.

The last skipper to lead an England side to an Ashes series victory in Australia - in 1986 - told BBC News: 'I would just like to say congratulations to all the England team and to Andrew Strauss, and not enough is said about the coach, Andy Flower, who has done a magnificent job too.

'We've got one more Test match to play, which is always unfortunate when you win, or retain, the Ashes, like that.

'We've got one more to play but I'm sure the guys will be raring to go to win the Ashes series down there - and not just draw it, but to win it.

'So I wish them all the best for the Sydney Test match.'

Prime Minister David Cameron told Sky News: 'It was absolutely fantastic. I think the guys have really given everyone back at home something to celebrate this Christmas.


The moment England retained the Ashes: England's Tim Bresnan celebrates as Matt Prior catches Australia's Ben Hilfenhaus this morning


Twenty-four years of hurt comes to an end as England celebrate retaining the Ashes after a series in Australia for the first time since 1986/87

'It was a great team performance. I watched quite a lot of it. I got up one morning to watch, and last night went to bed with my Blackberry so I could keep up on the score.

'A great team performance and to do that in Australia, the first time in 24 years, they made the whole country proud, and rightly so.

'After the great win we had, and then losing the Test in Perth, you weren't quite sure which way it was going to go, and then a fantastic performance.

'And all the way through this match, I think there has been a great sense building that England are just playing out of their skins, doing a brilliant job.


Historic result: Australian TV network Channel 9 breaks the news

'Andrew Strauss, a great captain, but a really good performance from everybody so I think they gave everyone something. With all this weather and everything, you need something to cheer about.

'And seeing the sun down there and seeing them perform so well, I think has given everyone a great lift. And well done to all of them.

'A really, really deserved victory, and I look forward to welcoming them to Number 10 Downing Street when they get back.'


Sports minister Hugh Robertson said: 'I congratulate the England Test side on retaining the Ashes in Australia.

'It was a fantastic team effort and the very best possible end to the 2010 sporting year.'

And back in Britain a former Ashes hero concentrates on the darts...


'Won' hundred and eighty! Former England star Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff takes in the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, north London, last night

dailymail.co.uk
Last edited by Blackleaf; Dec 29th, 2010 at 01:07 PM..