England snatch dramatic victory

ENGLAND survived a superb Shane Warne spell to win the fourth Test against Australia by three wickets and go 2-1 up in the Ashes after a dramatic finale at Trent Bridge yesterday.

Set a modest 129 to win after Australia made 387 following-on, England collapsed to 57 for four as legendary leg-spinner Warne took three wickets for seven runs in 29 balls.

That soon became 116 for seven before Ashley Giles (seven not out) and Matthew Hoggard (eight not out) saw England home, with Giles clipping Warne legside for the winning runs.

Warne finished with four for 31 from 13.5 overs while Brett Lee finished with 3-51.

Victory, with more than a day to spare, left England ahead in the five-match encounter with just next month’s final Test at The Oval to come. It ended a run of eight successive series defeats against Australia.

But Australia could still retain the Ashes with a win in London.

England skipper Michael Vaughan said: “There were plenty of nerves in the dressing room. It was an epic match and it shows what this series has been all about. We managed to get over the finish line and now we have to make sure we go to The Oval in our best form. I’m sure that, like the three previous matches, it will be a nailbiting affair.”

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting admitted his side have a lot to do despite the efforts of Warne and Lee.

“We have a lot of work to do and we have to improve our batting. We are just staying in the game and we hope to rectify that next time.

“We had our backs against the wall and we just couldn’t get the wickets we needed.”

England, whose first innings total of 477 was built around a sixth-wicket stand of 177 between man of the match Andrew Flintoff and Geraint Jones, saw the duo take them close to the winning post before Flintoff was bowled by a Lee delivery for 26.

At 111 for six, England were far from home and there was another twist in the tail when Jones rashly tried to hit Warne over the top only to hole out to Michael Kasprowicz at mid-off for three.

That left England still a tantalising 13 runs short of their target.

Then a no-ball from Lee left England 10 shy.

Hoggard, to the delight of the capacity crowd, then struck a Lee full toss to the cover boundary to leave England four away before Giles finished the job.

England last won an Ashes series in 1986-87.

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