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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

England complete victory in fourth test, retain Ashes

Posted: 28 Dec 2010 05:08 PM PST

England's Chris Tremlett (centre) celebrates with teammates after bowling out Australia's Mitchell Johnson during the fourth day of the fourth Ashes cricket test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground December 29, 2010. — Reuters pic

MELBOURNE, Dec 29 — England won the fourth test in Melbourne by an innings and 157 runs today to retain the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time in 24 years. 

The victory, sealed before lunch on the fourth day, gave holders England a 2-1 lead in the series, which will be completed with the fifth and final test in Sydney next week. 

Australia resumed on 169-6, still facing a 246-run deficit to make England bat again but lost their remaining wickets shortly before lunch to be all out for 258. 

Chris Tremlett removed Mitchell Johnson for six in the second over of the morning, pushing half-heartedly at a fuller delivery that took an inside edge before crashing into off-stump. 

Peter Siddle defiantly slogged his way to 40 before belting a lofted drive off Graeme Swann straight to Kevin Pietersen at long on. 

The injured Ryan Harris did not take his place leaving Ben Hilfenhaus to take the crease. The paceman was out to Tim Bresnan for a duck, caught behind to wicketkeeper Matt Prior to complete the innings. 

Andrew Strauss's team became the first to retain the Ashes in Australia since Mike Gatting lead the tourists to a 2-1 series win in 1986/87, the decisive victory also sealed at the MCG. — Reuters  

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United go top after 1-1 draw at Birmingham

Posted: 28 Dec 2010 03:24 PM PST

Birmingham City's Scott Dann (L) tackles Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic during their English Premier League soccer match at St Andrew's in Birmingham, central England, December 28, 2010. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Dec 29 — Manchester United extended their unbeaten Premier League run to 18 games and regained top spot yesterday but there were no celebrations after they gave away another late goal in a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City.

Earlier Mario Balotelli hit a hat-trick, including two penalties, to help Manchester City beat Aston Villa 4-0 and briefly reach the pinnacle.

United looked on course to leapfrog them with a two-point cushion after Dimitar Berbatov scored in the 58th minute but Lee Bowyer levelled a minute from time to leave the visitors with seven draws and one win from their eight away games.

The draw took them to 38 points from 18 games, ahead on goal difference of Manchester City, who have played 20. Arsenal, in action at Wigan Athletic today, have 35 from 18 with Tottenham Hotspur fourth on 33 after beating Newcastle United 2-0.

Champions Chelsea, who have taken just six points from the last 24 having lost to Arsenal two days ago, slip to fifth on 31. They are also in action today against Wigan Athletic.

United had the chance to pull nine points clear of Chelsea but were cautious in their approach at Birmingham, who started the game in the bottom three.

Alex McLeish's team, beaten at home only once and victorious over Chelsea last month, also seemed content to play it safe until Berbatov opened them up with a neat backheel then finished the move with a low, drilled shot for his 15th goal of the season.


Having conceded late goals in draws at Fulham and Everton earlier in the campaign, the visitors looked nervous as Birmingham finally pushed bodies forward and levelled with a goal that United claimed had been set up with a foul and a handball by giant substitute Nikola Zigic.

"I think it's terribly harsh, we outplayed them second half and we didn't deserve that," Ferguson told Sky Sports.

"Handball and foul for their goal and if the referee can't see that what chance have you got?"

There were no such problems for City, who were totally in control against a poor Villa side.

Balotelli was brought down after eight minutes and scored the penalty, with Joleon Lescott heading the second five minutes later.

Balotelli tapped in the 27th-minute third after the impressive David Silva had a shot parried and the striker showed some uncustomary enthusiasm to snatch up the ball before returning to type with a casually-converted penalty early in the second half.

"He is not a complicated guy, he is a good guy, he likes to look serious but he isn't," Mancini said of Balotelli, rumoured to be unsettled after his summer arrival from Inter Milan.

"Today I think we took a step forward, he smiled after the first goal, for the first time, and I hope it will continue."

Spurs struggled to break down Newcastle until Aaron Lennon struck after 57 minutes but the Londoners were reduced to 10 men when Younes Kabul was sent off for a butt eight minutes later.

However, just as in their Boxing Day win at Villa Park, Spurs still went for it and got their reward when Gareth Bale scored their second nine minutes from time with another trademark run and low shot. — Reuters  

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