Australia captain Tim Paine acknowledges his side’s Fifth Test defeat put a “dampener” on their 2019 Ashes but he’s thrilled to take the urn back home.
The tourists retained the Ashes after a 2-2 series draw, having triumphed in Australia in the 2017-18 series with a 4-0 victory.
Australia haven’t won a series in England since 2001 and said in the lead-up to the First Test that they would chase a 3-1 series victory.
It wasn’t to be, losing at The Oval by 135 runs, with Paine having arguably made the wrong decision by sending England in to bat after winning the toss.
However, Paine said the overall aim of the tour was to keep the Ashes and that had been achieved, which is no mean feat given Australia’s recent ordinary record in the UK.
“Taking the urn home was what we came here to do,” Paine said. “We’re thrilled by that.
“This game puts a bit of a dampener on it but overall if you said we would be taking them home, we would’ve jumped at that.”
Paine reflected on First Test victory at Edgbaston as a key part in building the side’s belief.
“There was so much talk of it being a fortress and how difficult it was going to be for us to start the series,” Paine said.
“For us to win that Test quite convincingly gave us the belief that we could do it and gave us a taste of how we wanted to play over here would work.
“To get that confirmation so early in the series made it easier for the guys to stick with what we wanted to do.”
Australian batsman Steven Smith finished as the series leading scorer with a remarkable 774 runs. He also won the Compton-Miller medal in his return to Test cricket after his 12-month ban.
“I have given it my all while I’ve been here for the last four-and-a-half months, but I didn’t have much more to give today,” Smith said after being dismissed for his lowest score of the series, 23.
“I was pretty cooked mentally and physically and I’m looking forward to a couple of weeks off and heading back for the Australian summer.”