Ian Botham relishes England`s Ashes success

London: Ecstatic after England`s Ashes triumph, former skipper Ian Botham said he does not care where the once number one Australia is headed now but lashed out at host skipper Ricky Ponting for his fiery verbal altercation with on-field umpires over a failed referral, calling it a shameful act.

England retained the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time in 24 years by completing an emphatic innings and 157-run win over Australia on the fourth day of the fourth Test yesterday.

Ponting`s unseemly remonstrations with the on-field umpires on Monday after having a reviewed decision against England`s batsman Kevin Pietersen ruled not out also came in for some scathing criticism from the press Down Under, resulting in the Australian skipper being fined 40 percent of his match fees.

"Where Australia go from here, I really don`t care. But it was a great shame to see such a great player like Ricky Ponting behave the way he did with the umpires in this game," wrote Botham in a British tabloid.

"The truth of the matter though is that he has got far more on his mind than complaining about a review. Three Ashes series defeats as captain doesn`t look pretty on any CV," he added.

Botham said Australia had plenty of wounds to lick after a demoralising loss at the MCG which ensured England retained the coveted urn.

"At the biggest ground, on the biggest stage, and when it mattered most, England broke Australia. If you`re an England cricketer nothing beats the feeling of travelling halfway around the world just to point out to the Aussies that they are not quite up to scratch. That really hurts.”

"The passion and the fire are still there, like they are with any Aussie wearing the baggy green cap, but you need more than just a bit of colourful headwear to mix it with this England side," Botham said.

Botham took 148 wickets and scored 1673 runs across 36 Tests against Australia.

It was the first time since 1986-1987 that England have retained the Ashes in Australia.

England now travel to the final Test in Sydney starting Sunday with a 2-1 series lead.