(BBC) – England captain Andrew Strauss was in jubilant mood after his team regained the Ashes with a famous Oval victory against Australia.
‘This is a special moment,’ he said. ‘We had to dig pretty deep and showed a hell of a lot of character and fight.
‘At times I didn’t think we were going to make it. That makes it more special.
‘When we were bad we were very bad and when we were good we managed to be good enough. It’s a massive moment and I’m determined to enjoy it.’
Strauss paid tribute to his opposite number, who has to come to terms with a second series defeat in England.
‘I want to thank Ricky Ponting and his team, they are great ambassadors for their country and play the game in the right spirit,’ Strauss said.
The captain also paid tribute to team director Andy Flower, who took charge after the team’s defeat in India last winter.
‘I can’t overstate what a job Andy Flower has done,’ he said.
‘To pick us up after what happened in India, with drive and determination, has been brilliant.’
All-rounder Andrew Flintoff, featuring in his 79th and final Test made the crucial breakthrough when he ran out Australia captain with a brilliant direct hit.
Flintoff, who will miss the rest of the season to have knee surgery, admitted it was a highly emotional moment as he held the Ashes urn once again.
‘This one is going to take some time to sink in, walking round the ground seeing family I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, it’s a really special moment,’ said Flintoff.
‘I don’t know what to say, what a way to go, there have been a few question marks over my fielding so I put them to bed!’ he joked.
‘What a Test for Stuart Broad – I think once I’ve gone, they’re not going to be missing me. They seem to have found someone far better.’
When Flintoff regains fitness he intends to continue playing one-day internationals for England.
‘Nothing can replicate this but there is the drive there and plenty of ambition.
‘I’d like to perform well in a World Cup and win the competition. But I’ll miss days like this.
‘If someone said at the start when I was 21 stone that I would win two Ashes I’d have snapped their hand off.
‘It’s been a real team effort and I’m just happy to be a part of it.’
With their Ashes triumph England is now ranked fifth in the world while Australia is fourth.
Stuart Broad was delighted to experience victory in his first Ashes series and said: ‘We’ve got a great bunch of lads, it was a fantastic day and we were well supported by the crowd.
‘It lived up to all the dreams, (Jonathan) Trott’s knock on debut was very special and the way Graeme Swann bowled throughout the series was outstanding.”
Many have tipped him to become a genuine all-rounder in the mould of the departing Flintoff but he said: ‘No-one can replace Fred he has been a fantastic servant for English cricket.
‘As an up-and-coming England all-rounder it has been fantastic playing with him and I wish him all the best and hope to play a lot more with him in one-day cricket.
‘I think I’m capable of getting scores, I just need to rein in the shots I play and play a bit more like a batsman.’