IF it is to be an Ashes farewell then England did it in style by romping to a 169-run victory in a fantastic Test at the Swalec Stadium.

The famous series is unlikely to return to Wales but the naysayers, who had some understandable gripes and plenty of ridiculous ones, were won over by four days of gripping cricket.

After being in trouble in the opening hour on Wednesday, England responded with captain Alastair Cook leading them majestically.

They won all the key moments against the Australians, who head to Lord’s for Thursday’s second Test with a few selection headaches.

And there will be plenty needing the aspirin tomorrow morning after a fourth successive sellout at the Swalec Stadium, punters getting their money’s worth on each day.

The 2009 opener had the novelty value and a dramatic finale but the 2015 encounter smashed it in terms of sporting quality.

“This has been a very special occasion,” said Glamorgan chief executive Hugh Morris. “It’s been a fantastic sporting event and we are very proud to have put it on.

“It’s been a terrific Test match and England have done really well. It’s been a long time in the planning.

“Six years ago Glamorgan put on a great show and we were determined to do it again, so it’s been gratifying to get the positive feedback.”

Keith Exton and his ground staff should struggle to get into their hut on Monday with all the letters of apology on their doormat.

Some called it early, writing off the wicket during Mitchell Starc’s opening over on a gloomy Wednesday morning.

Yet Cardiff hosted four days of tremendous cricket with a 40 wickets falling on a supposedly dull pitch and 1,269 runs scored at a fair lick.

It was still a good wicket on day four with no cracks or holes but even so a record Ashes run chase – the 412 being eight more than the total chased down by Don Bradman’s 1948 team – was never really likely, even if there were a few homes nerves approaching 1pm.

England were excellent in the morning yet they approached lunch with just one wicket.

Chris Rogers was dropped in the third over by Joe Root at third slip off James Anderson and David Warner survived a big appeal and review over a caught behind, umpire Kumar Dharmasena proved to be spot-on with the bat hitting the pad to make a noise.

It was intense cricket and super bowling but England didn’t get the wickets they needed to settle the nerves given the forecast of Sunday rain.

The hosts were getting frustrated that their excellence didn’t reap rewards until Rogers (10) was taken by slip Ian Bell off Broad.

Captain Alastair Cook then brought Moeen Ali into the attack but the Aussies released the pressure by taking 17 off the spinner to end an engrossing opening hour on 53 for one.

England needed patience but it looked like they would have to settle for a solitary scalp at lunch.

Warner brought up his fifty off just 72 balls and his stand with Steve Smith was worth 78 when Moeen returned to bowl the final over of the session . His third delivery went on with the arm and trapped Warner (52) leg before.

England headed for the pavilion with a spring in their step at 97 for two and they started the second session with a bang to the delight of the majority of the packed house.

On-song Broad removed Smith (33), pouched by Bell in the slips, and then got the big wicket of Australia captain Michael Clarke (4), driving straight to Ben Stokes at backward point.

The golden spell continued when Adam Voges (1) was caught behind by Jos Buttler off Mark Wood – the Aussies had lost four wickets for nine runs.

The already daunting 412 target was a mile away with the yellow-clad Australian supporters pleading with the grey clouds to provide some salvation.

But their side were four wickets away from defeat when Cook took a marvellous catch at short midwicket off Moeen to see off wicket-keeper Brad Haddin (7), the captain using his right paw to parry an aggressive shot before staying calm to gather the ball as he fell to the ground.

Australia steadied the ship through Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson but hopes of making it to tea with six down were ended by Wood.

Watson had been looking good, batting with determination as he attempts to save his international career, but was trapped leg before (19) for the 29th time in his Test career.

Australia made it through to tea at 162 for seven and Johnson, who endured a torrid time with the ball, continued to bat majestically after the resumption.

The pace bowler was on 72 and eyeing a second ton of the match – he conceded 111 runs in the first innings – when he lost Starc (17), caught on the rebound by Adam Lyth off Joe Root via Cook.

That same Yorkshire combination did the trick again to see the end of Johnson’s entertaining knock, his 77 coming off 94 and containing nine fours and two sixes.

And the innings was over on 242 and victory was secured when Moeen had Josh Hazlewood (14) caught by Root in the deep to spark wild celebrations on and off the field.