England has comprehensively beaten Australia in the final test at The Oval to regain the Ashes.
Captain Ricky Ponting has admitted Australia made a mistake by not picking spinner Nathan Hauritz for the match, opting instead for a four-man pace attack.
England beat Australia by 197 runs, giving them a 2-1 series victory and their second Ashes triumph since 1986-87.
Ponting, the first Australian captain to lose back-to-back Ashes series in England for 119 years, admitted selectors had erred when it came to choosing bowlers.
“We probably got that wrong,” he said. “Not before the game, we thought we were picking the right attack for the conditions that we saw.
“I don’t think anyone in their wildest dreams thought the wicket would play the way it did.
“England would have played their two spinners.
“In hindsight, a specialist spinner would have been pretty handy out there.”
‘Questions to answer’
Australia picked the four quicks following the success they had in their thumping win at the more seam-friendly Headingley earlier in the month.
However fourth-picked paceman Stuart Clark proved largely ineffective with only one scalp for the game while England spinner Graeme Swann collected eight wickets for the match.
Ponting, who is due to fly home on Tuesday, said he expected to face tough questions about the defeat over the coming days.
“No doubt I will have a few questions to answer… but that is all part and parcel of being captain,” he said.
On the other side of the coin, his counterpart Strauss enjoyed the most satisfying moment of his career by leading his side to Ashes glory and being named man of the series for scoring 474 runs at 52.66.
England also sent out superstar all-rounder Andrew Flintoff a winner, the big man’s major contribution in his final Test being the run out of Ponting on the last day.
Euphoric scenes at the Oval
Mike Hussey (121) resuscitated his ailing Test career with a fighting century on the dusty deck before the home side officially flicked the switch on Australia’s Ashes campaign at 5.48pm local time.
Spinner Graeme Swann (4-120) collected the final wicket, having his good mate Hussey caught in close by Alastair Cook to dismiss Australia for 348 and ignite euphoric scenes.
Ponting said his men had done their best but failed to seize the big moments.
“I dont think you can get any more disappointed than I am right now,” he said.
“We all spoke about it and built the series up so much, to be a part and play well and hopefully to be good enough to win the series, but we’ve come up short.
“I’m obviously hurting, the rest of the guys are hurting as well.”
Strauss neatly summed up his side’s ability to win despite all the major stats being in Australia’s favour in the series.
England ‘good enough’
“When we were bad, we were very bad but when we were good, we were good enough,” he said with a smile.
Chasing a target of 546 for victory was always a mighty ask and Australia lost openers Simon Katich (43) and Shane Watson (40) within the opening 19 minutes of play.
But the turning point came after Australia had cruised to 2-217 and Hussey called Ponting (66) through for a fatal single.
Ponting hesitated for a moment and that was enough time for the lumbering Flintoff to move around and his direct hit left the Australian skipper short of his ground.
To compound Australia’s woes, Michael Clarke (0) suffered some terrible luck in the next over coming down the pitch to Swann.
He flicked a ball that deflected off bat-pad Cook’s foot with Strauss at leg slip swooping and hitting the stumps from close range.
The third umpire was called into action again and took about two minutes to rule Clarke out by the smallest of margins.
‘Slow death’ for the tourists
In the space of six minutes, Australia had lost their best two batsmen in the only run outs effected by England for the entire series.
From there, it was always going to be a slow death for the tourists.
Hussey had a life on 55 before he deservedly brought up his first hundred in 16 Tests after tea by guiding Stuart Broad for two on the off side.
This wasn’t to be Australia’s day but Hussey guaranteed himself some more time in the baggy green.
The 34-year-old raised both arms in celebration and looked skywards.
Sadly that was the direction that his batting partner Brad Haddin (34) hit a Swann ball to end a profitable 91-run stand and the party could then commence for the home fans.
Steve Harmison (3-54) ripped through the tail before Swann finished off the job.