Australia captain Pat Cummins says ‘the job’s not done’ ahead of final Test

Pat Cummins insists Australia feel a strong sense of unfinished business as they bid to cap retaining the Ashes by completing an overdue series success on English soil.

The tourists begin the fifth and final Test with the urn already in the bag after last week’s Old Trafford washout frustrated England.

Australia have not won a series outright in England since 2001 and blew the chance to do so four years ago after paying the price for some over-exuberant celebrations ahead of their last visit to the Kia Oval, when they also held a 2-1 lead.

Captain Cummins believes the circumstances are completely different this time around and says his side are determined to end the 22-year wait.

“I think the good thing is that it’s a really similar group to 2019,” he said.

“That Manchester (in 2019) was a big win to retain the Ashes, which we hadn’t done for a long time off the back of Headingley, even Lord’s, where we probably missed a trick last series.

“I felt like that was a big exclamation mark on the end of that series with still one Test match to play.

“It feels really different here, this group has been really motivated to win the series.

“We know that it wasn’t our best week last week and at the end of the game it was a bit of a pat on the back, ‘well done, we’ve retained the Ashes’ but really it feels like the job’s not done.”

Australia, who went 2-0 up in the series, were spared a winner-takes-all decider in south London by a rain-ruined end to the fourth Test in Manchester.

England were well in control after piling up a 275-run first-innings lead but, with just 30 overs possible across the last two days, they were prevented from converting their dominance into a series-levelling victory.

England v Australia – LV= Insurance Ashes Series 2023 – Fourth Test – Day Five – Emirates Old Trafford

England captain Ben Stokes shakes hands with his Australia counterpart Pat Cummins after the rain-affected fourth Test at Manchester (Martin Rickett/PA)

The next five days could prove to be the end of an era for this Australia team, most of whom are aged 30 or above and may not be in contention for the next Ashes series in England in 2027.

Opening batter David Warner, who turns 37 in October, on Tuesday quashed rumours he is set to retire imminently and intends to stick to his initial plan of finishing on home soil early next year.

Pace bowler Cummins concedes knowing when to transition from one generation to the next is a complex issue but has no desire to see any player finish prematurely.

“It’s a hard one,” said the 30-year-old. “I certainly don’t want to rush anyone out of the door.

England v Australia – LV= Insurance Ashes Series 2023 – Fourth Test – Day One – Emirates Old Trafford

David Warner has quashed rumours he is set to retire imminently (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I think this is about the fourth Ashes series where (England bowler) Jimmy Anderson has said it’s going to be his last one, so you never quite know. It is just an age.

“Some of these guys might be around here in four years and still be at the top level. We’ll see but it’s always a conversation.

“We’re lucky we’ve got white ball cricket, where you can have a soft entry for a lot of the (younger) guys, give them exposure to international cricket.

“It’s something the selectors talk about but really you try and pick your best XI each week.”

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