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Draw to retain Ashes feels ‘weird’ – Cummins

Australia captain Pat Cummins says it is a “weird” feeling to retain the Ashes in a rain-affected draw with England in the fourth Test.

The tourists were outplayed throughout at Old Trafford but earned a draw after Sunday’s final day was washed out.

As holders, Australia’s 2-1 lead with only one Test to play means they will retain the Ashes as the very least.

“It’s really nice to retain but obviously not in the circumstances we would have liked,” said Cummins.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the 30-year-old fast bowler added: “It feels a bit weird. The rain might have helped us, but it was a great result.”

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With England needing to win to keep alive their hopes of regaining the Ashes, Australia were under pressure from the first day in Manchester.

After Australia were bowled out for 317, England blitzed the tourists’ bowling for 592, causing particular carnage on the second afternoon.

Cummins’ side were reduced to 113-4 in their second innings by the close on day three, but the wet weather ensured only 30 overs were bowled across the final two days, allowing Australia to escape on 214-5.

“It is a bit of a strange one,” said Cummins. “As a group we’re proud we have retained the Ashes but it has not been our greatest week.”

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Australia, who have held the Ashes since 2017-18, drew 2-2 on their last visit to the UK in 2019.

Cummins has repeatedly stated the goal of his team is to win this series, ending a winless run in this country that stretches back to 2001.

They will have the opportunity to win the series in the final Test at The Oval, which begins on Thursday.

“It’s good that we have retained but we know we have a fair bit of work to do for next week,” said Cummins, who won the Ashes as captain on home soil in 2021-22.

“It is a pretty similar group to 2019 when we retained and we came away feeling OK, but it felt a bit like we had missed what we came over to achieve.

“In some regards whatever happened, it would not really change how we view next week – we want to win.”

Australia also retained the Ashes at Old Trafford in 2019, on that occasion winning the fourth Test to go 2-1 up with one to play.

After celebrating in Manchester, they missed the chance to win the series at The Oval and Cummins said his side will look to avoid that mistake this time around.

“There won’t be huge celebrations,” he said. “There may be a bit of a pat on the back for retaining, because there has been a lot of work going into this situation where a draw does get us to retain.”

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