Head coach Justin Langer feels Australia still have some way to go before being considered as a great Test side after they squandered the chance to win the Ashes series on English soil.
The visitors led twice in the five-match series but were pegged back in the next Test by England on both occasions with the Ashes ultimately ending all square at 2-2.
Although his Australia side have become the first visiting team since 2001 to retain the urn on English soil, Langer has issued a fresh challenge to his players to take their game to the next level.
“To fight back from a tough loss (at Headingley) is admirable, and I said how proud I was with everyone for that,” the Australia coach was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“But also, over the last couple of years, we haven’t necessarily performed at our best after a win. We had a really good opportunity after winning the first Test, but we didn’t necessarily turn up to the Lord’s Test as well as we could have, and we didn’t turn up to this Test (Fifth Test).
“Really good teams do that. I think that’ll be part of the maturity of our side. The way we were in this series, we aren’t a great team yet. We are a good team, we are a maturing team and we’ve got some great players in it, but we’re aspiring to be a great cricket team.”
Batting failures, especially in the opening department, proved to be Australia’s undoing at Headingley and the Oval even though Steve Smith himself racked up 774 runs in just seven innings.
While admitting his team’s shortcomings with the bat in the series, Langer took comfort from the displays of the bowling unit led by the No1 ranked Pat Cummins.
“There’s a real challenge for young Australian batters,” Langer said.
“The ones who want to step up and score lots of runs and work hard on their footwork patterns and techniques and ability to score runs – it’s a pretty exciting time.
“That’s a big challenge moving forward. But with this exciting fast bowling group we’ve got, if we start batting well we’ll win a lot of games of cricket.”
After a long and extensive tour of England which included the 2019 World Cup as well as the Ashes, Langer and Australia will enjoy a brief break before they turn their attentions to the home T20 clashes against Sri Lanka and Pakistan towards the end of October.
Their next assignment in the ICC World Test Championship will come in a two-match series at home against Pakistan in November.
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