England won the Ashes late into the evening in front of a full house at Chester-le-Street.
England's cricket team has gone from being a national laughing stock to a source of pride over the past 10 years, with the transformation signalled by the memorable 2005 Ashes victory which sparked celebration around the country. Having reached the top of the test rankings, England have since slipped to second, but will hope successive test victories over Australia will be enough to see them rise back to the top.
Ian Bell carved himself a place in Ashes history with his third century of the series and transformed England's position from flimsy to something approaching formidable in an increasingly absorbing fourth Test in Chester-le-Street.
Warren Brennan, who adapted Hot Spot technology for cricket and runs the company supplying the system, late on Friday night broke his silence on the controversy over batsmen possibly using silicone tape to prevent edges being detected – and did anything but back down.
So, Alastair Cook might have thought as he was grilled over a wide range of controversies at the Riverside on Thursday, from the weaknesses of Hot Spot to Monty Panesar's lack of self-control outside a Brighton nightclub: this is how it feels to be an Ashes-retaining captain.
Two up and two to play is not so bad when you hold the Ashes.
Andy Flower remains relaxed, at least in public, about his Ashes rival Darren Lehman's suggestion that the tourists have chivvied open "a couple of cracks" in the England batting line-up that they can exploit in their attempts to square the series.
In the end the moment of triumph arrived with the dampest of English fizzles.
England are one day's batting away from retaining the Ashes and may well be required to do a good deal less than that if the rain which intervened returns as forecast.
Nigel Llong, a former Kent player whose previous claim to fame was umpiring in the first Twenty20 international in England when Ricky Ponting's Australia were stunned at the Rose Bowl in 2005, will break new ground at Old Trafford on Thursday – in a van in the car park – when he combines the roles of third umpire and television director.
Kevin Pietersen looks set to win his battle to be fit for England's attempt to secure a third consecutive Ashes series win – while David Warner will be recalled from disgrace to make his Ashes debut in Australia's increasingly desperate efforts to keep this series alive.
In the final minutes of the Test, as England idled towards the draw that would secure their first series win in India in a generation, the TV cameras closed in.
Think Tony Greig, think Kerry Packer. The two names are indelibly linked. Yet there is another link in this chain that can easily be forgotten.
After a humiliating opening for England, New Zealand took total control of the first Test on the third morning which produced 124 runs for the loss of two wickets.
Ashton Agar wrote himself into Ashes folklore with a stunning 98 on debut to stun the cricketing world.
Ian Bell believes Joe Root and Alastair Cook can form a potent England opening partnership for years to come.
England's coach, Andy Flower, missed the second day of the first Test at The Gabba to have a melanoma removed from his right cheek in a Brisbane hospital.
When Ian Bell gently pushed the ball into the offside and the umpires removed the bails to call time on an important day in the context of match and series, a familiar ritual was enacted at the non-striker's end.
England come into a home series as the overwhelming favourites. But beware the wounded Aussies...
At first glance England's bowling attack might seem to have very little in common with the semi-defunct boy band McFly, and no more so when considering specifically the Test career of Stuart Broad, who approaches the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford this week on the verge of claiming his 200th wicket in his 60th match.
Australia and England drew the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, but to judge from the reaction of the home press it was as if Andrew Strauss's men recorded a thumping victory.