London: Australia’s Test skipper Pat Cummins was left to rue missing a golden opportunity for his side to claim a first Ashes triumph on English soil in 22 years after the visitors settled for a 2-2 draw in the series but feeling “proud of retaining the urn”.
A compelling Ashes series came to a thrilling climax Monday when England registered a 49-run victory in the fifth and final Test of a closely fought series at The Oval, with the result meaning the five-match series finished tied at 2-2.
While the final scoreline means Australia retain the Ashes for a fourth straight series, the tourists will be disappointed they failed to capitalise on the 2-0 lead they opened up early in the series and missed the chance to record a first series triumph on English soil since 2001.
“We just missed what we were hoping to come over here to achieve, but to win the World Test Championship and retain the Ashes is a pretty successful tour,” Cummins was quoted by cricket.com.au.
“Coming over here and retaining the Ashes feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. But in 2019 we were all pretty happy about retaining the Ashes. So don’t think we should lose sight of that. Think it’s a huge achievement to come over here and win and get ourselves into many winning positions.
“Once we reflect on it, we’ll be proud that we were able to retain the Ashes, it’s been a wonderful tour, but we all turned up today hoping to get up and win 3-1,” he said.
Looking back at the series, Cummins noted that the series could have been in their favour if they had capitalised on a few key partnerships.
“Think there are a couple of key partnerships batting-wise that felt if we’d just put on another 50 runs that it could really have turned the tide in our favour.
“No doubt that the one big innings they put on [at Old Trafford], you look at could we maybe do some things a little differently, but you never know if that will change anything. There are too many unknowns,” said Cummins.
“Felt like we got ourselves into some really good positions, first of all winning the first two games, but then Headingley and again this week — match-winning positions we didn’t quite capitalise on. That happens. We were out of it in Birmingham and found a way to win,” said Cummins.
Cummins observed that the opinions of the British public he casually interacted with during his infrequent public appearances indicated that the cricket’s quality surpassed much of the unsightly tribalism displayed in the stands.
“Everyone’s been amazing and just been talking about the cricket and how much they loved, and I know it’s the same back in Australia -– big viewers and lots of people interested in cricket. I was a bit young for 2005 but that series gets talked about a lot, and it feels like this series might be the same.
“I really hope we’ve inspired a new generation. I look back to 2005 and what that series did for me as a young person, and I really hope there’s someone who’s the age I was then and says: ‘That’s what I want to be doing when I’m 21 or 22’,” he said.