Nightwatchman Ashes Blog Post #9
Ashes 2015: Bittersweet victory heralds a new era

Our emphatic fifth Test win at The Oval would have to be the most bitter-sweet victory I have ever been involved in.

It was great to win so well and send Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers off in style but there was always that hollow feeling that we had lost the Ashes.

The sole purpose of this Ashes tour was to retain the Ashes and we failed to do it. Individual performances and consolation wins do not fill that void. Collectively we failed to perform as we should have when it mattered most.

We enjoy the accolades of victory as a team so we must share the burden of defeat. We are all in this together and there are no excuses. When the series was on the line, England played the better cricket in the big moments and deserved to reclaim the Ashes.

In the end our series statistics flattered us. We had three of the top four run scorers and four of the top five wicket-takers yet as a team were found wanting at important times.

I can still remember Shane Warne’s disappointment when Australia lost the 2005 Ashes. He had a brilliant series, claiming 40 wickets and scoring almost 250 runs, yet he made it clear that it meant nothing because Australia lost. That’s how we all feel right now but we can’t dwell on the past.

Clearly the future will look very different without Michael and Chris. Michael’s first game as captain was my Test debut for Australia so I have only known one regular Test captain, although Steve Smith did a great job standing in as our skipper last season when Michael was injured.

I’m very grateful for all the support and encouragement Michael has given me over the past four years. Having someone who played and understood spin so well has been a real bonus for me.

Steve is also a great player of spin and working with him last summer was great so I look forward to this new era of Australian cricket with him in charge.

Chris has been a fantastic player for Australia over the past two years. He’s a wonderful example of persistence. His recall at the age of 35 shows it is never too late if you continue to work hard and perform well.

That Chris leaves the Test arena as Australia’s player of the series with 480 runs at an average of 60 is an enormous achievement.

26th August 2015

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