Australia captain Tim Paine said it was mission accomplished even though his team lost the fifth and final Ashes Test against England to draw the series 2-2. The tourists came into the match at the Oval seeking their first series victory in England since 2001 but came up short, losing by 135 runs on Sunday. But Paine said Australia, who won at Edgbaston and Old Trafford but lost agonisingly to a Ben Stokes-inspired England at Headingley, had achieved their main objective in retaining the urn.
"We're taking the urn home so that's certainly what we came to do," he said. "We're thrilled by that, a little disappointed by this game obviously, puts a bit of a dampener on it." "We can be really proud of the way we've come over here, which is a challenging place for Australians to come and play and win," he added. "To win two Test matches pretty convincingly, should have won a third (at Headingley) -- let that slip no doubt." Paine said winning the first Test at Edgbaston, where Australia triumphed by 251 runs, had been crucial for his side's confidence.