Australia might have just retained the Ashes but skipper Tim Paine said he believed his side can still improve after they lost the final Test at The Oval by 135 runs on Sunday (September 15).
“Regrets? I’ve got a couple: to start with, the toss. We didn’t take our chances on day one, we didn’t back up our bowlers. England got ahead of the game.
“I can’t read a pitch so I’m always 50-50. We have got to bat and bowl better than we did in this Test match.
“No doubt today puts a dampener on it, but from where this group’s come from, to retain the Ashes is still a big deal. But there’s still some improvements and learnings to do."
Talking about the way the teams played, Paine said the series was competitive and singled out Matthew Wade for his innings in the final Test.
“I think the series was in good spirit. It was a competitive environment; pride was on the line and had competitive cricketers trying their best to one-up the opposition.
“Wade showed us today was possible. He is combative and cops stick for what he says on the pitch, but he walks the walk. That was one of the great Ashes hundreds."
Question marks have continued to swirl around Paine’s future as Test skipper but he insists he wants to continue in the job.
“I’m loving the job. I feel there’s some unfinished business but I’m not looking too far down the track.”
England skipper Joe Root, meanwhile, said that his team weren’t always at their best but showed plenty of fight and was happy to end the series with a win.
“We were excellent this week. Having lost the toss, to play as we did was fantastic; we drove the game all the time and got there in the end.
“Jofra makes things happen and he’s backed up with other skilful bowlers. Collectively we’ve shown a lot of character throughout the whole series.
“We were not always at our best but we’ve fought really hard. Credit to Tim and his team.”
Root added that he was happy to send off coach Trevor Bayliss, who took charge of the team for the last time, with a win.
“Trev is brilliant, he’s added a huge amount to this Test team and what he’s done in white-ball cricket is phenomenal. We all played for him this week and are very pleased to send him off with a win."
“Over a period of time you get a strong relationship with players and coaches. There’s an element of banter between Stokes and Trev and that allows Ben to go and play his own way. He’s now one of the world’s best allrounders."
Root too has seen his captaincy questioned in recent times but remains determined to stick it out in the role.
“I’m driven towards Australia, it’s a real focus for English cricket, I want to be the man to bring the Ashes back to England."
“It’s been a wonderful summer of cricket; we’ve been blessed with some wonderful support and we all really appreciate that."
Man of the match Jofra Archer, meanwhile, said that the game at Leeds was the best match he’s played for England but added that they’ve all been special so far.
“It’s been unbelievable, from the first time I put an England shirt on. Leaning towards the Leeds game (as his best game for England, over the World Cup final). Every game has been special."
“I went wicketless in two innings, so one day can be your day, the next day not. Personally I will try to bowl 90mph every day, there will be good days and bad days and the team will back me regardless.
“The management are very good, giving you the extra off day and limiting training, they’ve been good."