Pat Cummins in the Ashes 2023, Image-AP
Australia are officially the retainers of the Ashes 2023 series after the 4th Test in Manchester ended in a draw. The Pat Cummins-led side dominated the first two ENG vs AUS Tests in Edgbaston and Lord’s Stadium. However, when England gained momentum at Headingley, beating the Aussies to stay alive, the 4th and final Test became little more interesting and England had the upper hand throughout the match.
(Pat Cummins in action for Australia, Image-AP)
Despite already having secured the urn, Australia's captain, Pat Cummins, has stated that his squad is approaching the Ashes series finale with the determination of a must-win match. Rain affected the fourth Test at Old Trafford in Manchester, which concluded in a tie, guaranteeing Australia's retention of the Ashes. Cummins, on the other hand, stressed that they will not take the last Test lightly and are fully aware of the necessity of closing the series strongly.
Australia found themselves in a vulnerable position at 214-5 at the close of Day 4 of the fourth Test, with Cameron Green and Mitchell Marsh at the crease. England had the upper hand, with 98 overs remaining to take the final five wickets, but persistent rain prevented them from bowling.
After the 4th Test at Old Trafford was over, the captain expressed Australia's mindset in the next and final Test, he said:
Our preference is to come over here and win the Ashes. Not the greatest of circumstances but happy to retain it now. What happened today doesn’t really change how we look at the next game. It’s been an amazing group, we all turned up here very motivated. Will be a special week at the Oval.
In the last year or two, [I've dreamed of lifting the urn]. It'll be special, but more special if we get a win. England batted really well, we tried a couple of plans but it didn’t work. We weren’t at our best so we’ll look at that.
Even if Australia loses the last Test at the Oval, resulting in a 2-2 series tie, they will retain the Ashes as the current holders. Nonetheless, Cummins and his team are intent on addressing the forthcoming race with the utmost seriousness, despite the apparent drop in stakes.