Australian captain Pat Cummins insists his side’s desire to win a Test series in England has not dimmed after the Ashes were held to a draw lost by rain at Old Trafford. Sunday’s final day of the fourth Test was washed out without a ball being bowled due to incessant rain, denying England a chance to level the series in a match they had dominated. Australia hold on to a 2-1 Ashes lead with one match remaining in the series, regardless of the outcome of the fifth Test starting Thursday at The Oval.
However, Australia will need to avoid defeat in London if they are to secure their first Ashes series win in England since 2001.
“It’s a little weird,” Cummins told reporters. “As a group, we’re proud to have retained the Ashes, but it wasn’t our best week.”
The fast bowler added: “It’s a similar group to 2019 when we held the Ashes 2-2 in England and we felt OK, but it felt like we lost what we had.
“Whatever happens today in some respects, it doesn’t change the way we look at next week — we have to win (the series).”
Australia ended their second innings on 214-5, 61 runs behind England’s first innings total of 592, as Marnes Labuschagne held the hosts to 111.
England restricted world Test champions Australia to 317 in their first innings before being bowled out for 592.
Cummins said he had not bowled well when he returned with 1-129 in 23 overs — the costliest feat of his Test career.
He admitted that England’s exciting ‘baseball’ batting made his life as captain tactically difficult.
“We tried to throw a few schemes at them and on another day they might have worked but, in all aspects, we weren’t great this week and they played well,” Cummins said, adding Australia’s joy at retaining the Ashes would be “muted”.
– England ‘Heritage’ –
Meanwhile, England skipper Ben Stokes has claimed his team will be a team people remember despite failing to win the Ashes.
It was England’s first draw in 17 Tests since Stokes joined coach Brendon McCullum last year to oversee a revolution in the team’s approach to red-ball cricket, with an emphasis on entertaining the paying public.
“It’s a tough pill to eat, a tough pill to swallow,” Stokes said after the result, which left England still searching for a first Ashes series win since 2015.
“But I think what we’ve been able to do has already done wonders for cricket in England. You don’t get paid for your work, you become it,” I said in the dressing room.
The all-rounder added: “I think what we’ve been able to change is a team that people will remember.
“As much as I want to be an Ashes-winning captain, I want this to be a legacy team. No matter how the series ends, people will always talk about us.”
England have just a few days to regroup before the Oval final, but Stokes said: “We have to get over the disappointment and focus on that game.
“It’s huge for us, and we know that 2-2 sounds better than 3-1.”
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