Australia crushed in fourth Test

ENGLAND'S cricketers have been praised by the Prime Minister after an emphatic fourth Test victory in Melbourne meant they became the first England team to retain the Ashes in 24 years.

Andrew Strauss's men will return to Britain with the famous urn after crushing Australia by an innings and 157 runs.

The win has established an unbeatable lead in the series and raised hopes of a triumphant finale in the fifth and final Test, starting in Sydney on Sunday.

Yorkshire player Tim Bresnan took the winning wicket at about 1am UK time yesterday.

David Cameron described the win as a "great late Christmas present for the country" and Labour leader Ed Miliband hailed "a fantastic result". Former England captain Mike Gatting, who led his side to the last win on Australian soil in 1986, said: "It's been a long time coming.

"They've been better in every department than Australia. Their fielding has been outstanding, their bowling has been disciplined, and they've all batted."