Australia captain Pat Cummins said his side will refrain from celebrating the fact they have retained the Ashes and will put all their efforts into winning the final Test of the series in London and claiming a first series triumph on England soil since 2001.
The entire final day of the fourth Test was lost due to rain in Manchester on Sunday and the drawn match ensured Australia holds on to their 2-1 series lead and will retain the Ashes yet again regardless of the outcome in the fifth Test of an enthralling series at The Oval that starts on Thursday.
And while Cummins admits Australia had achieved what they set out to do at the start of the tour by regaining the Ashes, the captain feels there is some unfinished business within the squad and is eyeing off a first series triumph in England for 22 years, the ICC reported.
“It’s a bit of a strange one,” Cummins said after the drawn Test at Old Trafford.
“As a group we are proud that we’ve retained the Ashes but it’s off the back of not our greatest week. It feels like it’s good to retain the Ashes, but we know we’ve got a fair bit of work to do for
next week,” he said.
“I don’t think there will be huge celebrations. Maybe a bit of a pat on the back for retaining the Ashes. There’s been a lot of work gone into putting us into a position where a draw does make us retain the Ashes. But there’s a Test match starting in three days so that’s going to be our full focus,” Cummins said.
“It’s a pretty similar group to 2019 when we retained it and we all came away feeling OK but we felt like we’d just missed what we’d come over to achieve. In some regards whatever happened today wouldn’t really change how we look at next week. We want to win it to make sure we win it outright,”
England counterpart Ben Stokes was left frustrated by Manchester’s fickle weather as constant showers at the ground on Sunday robbed his side any chance of levelling the series and setting
up a series decider at The Oval.
England were the better side for much of the fourth Test and Stokes was disappointed his charges didn’t get the chance to claim Australia’s final five wickets in the second innings and push for the victory.
“I can’t actually look back and think we could have been better there because we were pretty much perfect throughout the whole game,” Stokes said.
“Bowling Australia out and then scoring the runs that we did at the pace that we did, I can’t really say we got anything wrong about this game to be honest,” he said.
“The weather didn’t help us, we can’t change that,” Stokes said.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow, knowing that’s the reason we sit here with a draw,” he said.
“But we’ve done everything we possibly could in the hours of play we managed to get,” Stokes said.
“We were completely and utterly dominant throughout the hours of play we had,” he said.
“It’s a shame but, oh well,” Stokes added.