Australia comfortably retained the Ashes 4-0. It was a result that was along the expected lines. England had little chance of winning right from the beginning. Even before setting foot on Australian shores, their fate was sealed the moment Chris Silverwood announced the England squad in October.
But, as Aussie captain Pat Cummins looks back at this series, will he be able to convince himself that they have really achieved as big a win as the hype around The Ashes suggests?
The Australian players should indeed be proud of what they have achieved over the last 6 weeks. Winning an Ashes series is a dream come true for every player from the two competing nations. At a time when cricketers are forced to live in bio-bubbles for weeks on end, getting a win like this is a great success.
But did Australia really have to be at their best at any point in the series? The performances from the English players have been so bad that the home side beat them 4-0 without having to go above the third gear.
Monumental Ashes debacle for England
The final hours of the 5th Test were a good example. Except for Joe Root and, perhaps, Zak Crawley, all the other batsmen got out due to their own inability and recklessness, rather than skillful Australian bowling.
Rory Burns and Dawid Malan chopped on harmless deliveries from outside the off-stump. Ben Stokes tried a pull shot with two men on the boundary on the leg-side. Ollie Pope forgot where his leg stump was and paid the price.
From there on, it was just the sort of careless batting one would expect in an unimportant T20. It seemed like none of the English batsmen wanted to be on the field for long and were in a hurry to catch the next plane home.
So can the Aussies consider themselves a great Test side by winning 4-0 against this England team? Granted, they can only beat teams who are in front of them and it's not really their fault that England are a mess presently.
But this is pretty much the same Australian side that lost to India's highly-depleted team last year. And in between last year's incredible Indian triumph at the Gabba and the first Ashes Test at the same venue, the Aussies hadn't played a single Test.
Did the Australian players make such huge improvements to their games in the last 12 months that they are now a much-improved unit? Let's closely analyse the current Aussie squad to get the answer to this question.
Ashes win papers over flaws
To begin with, issues still persist with this Australian side, particularly in the batting department. Their best batsmen in Steve Smith, David Warner, and Marnus Labuschagne averaged 30, 34, and 41 respectively in this Ashes series. This was well below par compared to their high standards.
Warner would be happy he wouldn't be facing Stuart Broad anymore, having been dismissed by him 13 times in Test cricket already. Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson have exploited the weaknesses in Smith and Labuschagne's techniques and denied Smith a century. In the last three Australian home seasons, this is the second time that the Aussie maestro has had to do without a three-figure score.
It is encouraging to see that even though their most experienced batsmen have failed to live up to their standards, the support cast has stepped up. But will the same support cast be able to carry the batting the same way on away tours, in different conditions?
Usman Khawaja averages 31 in Asia. Travis Head averages 30 and has only played two Tests in Asia. Cameron Green hasn't played outside Australia yet. The bowling is in much safer hands but there are some issues in that department too.
Can Scotty Boland replicate his performances from this Ashes series on flat pitches like Sharjah? Could Mitchell Swepson, who hasn't made his debut yet, be an able 2nd spinner? Can Nathan Lyon win a Test on his own, on the 5th day of a match?
There are still question marks over Alex Carey's ability as a wicketkeeper and batsman in Test cricket, especially in Asia.
It's all England's fault really! It's their fault for not really testing this Australian team. For a side that has just thrashed its bitter rival 4-0, there are more questions than answers on their mind. But for now, Cummins and the rest of the players can be really proud of their achievements over the past six weeks.
ud of their achievements over the past six weeks.
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