If the first four days of action were anything to go by a dull, predictable finish was never on the cards and so it proved as nails were bitten right down to the quick on both sides.
In the end it was hosts who were celebrating as Jimmy Anderson underlined his reputation as one of the world's premier bowlers with a match-defining final day performance.
As befitting such an extraordinary Test match, the climax on day five at Trent Bridge was full of tension and drama and contained one final twist. Having started the day needing four wickets to wrap up victory, England looked to have done the hard work as they, or more accurately James Anderson, removed Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle. With another 80-odd runs to get Australia looked dead and buried, but Brad Haddin and James Pattinson had other ideas and brought memories of Edgbaston '05 flooding back as they edged the tourists within sight of victory. But in the end it was Anderson's day and it was he - rather fittingly with the help of DRS - who had the final word as he secured a 10-wicket haul and victory by having Haddin caught behind.
Best of the day
Two men took centre stage on Sunday in Nottingham, England's James Anderson and Australia's Brad Haddin. The latter looked set to guide his side to an unlikely victory as he forged a tremendous last-wicket partnership with James Pattinson. But, after a superb knock of 71, he was undone by Anderson who got England over the line as home nerves began to fray. With all four wickets on the day, and ten in total, it is England's bowling talisman who gets our vote for player of the day. When questioned afterwards, the man himself admitted he would probably class it as his finest performance in an England shirt.
At times on day five a nervous hush descended on Trent Bridge as Australia threatened to pull off one of the great Ashes triumphs. But England's fans played their part after lunch with rousing and vociferous support for their team and were ultimately rewarded with a nail-biting win. Off-spinner Graeme Swann admitted that he had thrived on the electric atmosphere that Ashes cricket creates, although acknowledged he had trouble keeping his own nerves in check as the game reached its denouement. "You know you're in a bigger game than normal. The more things that happened, whether they be controversial or magnificent, it just adds to the whole Ashes fever and it's great to be a part of." One person seemed less than impressed with Swann's thoughts, though, son Wilf doing his best to disrupt the interview with Sky Sports!
Heads held high
Australia skipper Michael Clarke was gracious as ever in defeat, insisting England had emerged as worthy winners having had what he described as the game's two outstanding performers in Ian Bell and James Anderson. However, the Baggy Greens leader was proud of his team's efforts and feels they have laid down a marker in what promises to be yet another fabulous series between the old enemies. "We're here to play some tough competitive cricket. We know it's going to be a challenge and we've experienced that over these five days."
A fantastic Test match no doubt, but the contest at Trent Bridge did throw up one or two questions about team selection ahead of next week's second Test at Lord's. England will be delighted to get their noses in front in the series, but could a lack of wickets for Steven Finn prompt a rethink of their bowling attack? Meanwhile, Australia's No.3 Ed Cowan will surely find his place coming under pressure after amassing just 14 runs in two innings in Nottingham. Sky Sports pundit Nasser Hussain talks us through some possible changes that we could see for game number two.
Cometh the hour...
Let's indulge ourselves one more time... sit back and the enjoy the moment that man-of-the-match James Anderson sealed victory. With the review system having played such a central role in this contest it was perhaps apt that it helped to decide a wonderfully see-saw affair which has only whetted the appetite for these back-to-back Ashes series. Roll on Lord's!