London: James Anderson said he expected England to be even better in the return Ashes in Australia later this year after they wrapped up a 3-0 series win with a controversial final Test draw at The Oval on Sunday (August 25).
England, bidding to win four Tests in a home Ashes for the first time, needed 21 runs off 24 balls to reach their victory target of 227 when Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena, the umpires, decided the light was too bad to continue and ended the match to the disgust of a capacity crowd. (Also read: Clarke's tiff with umpires ends Ashes series)
"We know we can go to Australia and play even better," Anderson told Sky Sports after starring in England's third straight series win over their arch-rivals.
"It feels pretty good (to win the Ashes). It would have felt even better if we could have got the last few overs in there. I am delighted to have won the Ashes. Today was fantastic for the crowd. As it got closer and closer we really thought we could do it but unfortunately the light didn't hold out." (Also read: England are tough nut to crack, says Cook)
However, Anderson insisted, "We are going to cherish this moment because it doesn't happen very often."
Alastair Cook, the England captain, reserved special praise for Ian Bell, England's man of the series who scored 562 runs at 62.44 with three hundreds.
"He was outstanding with his three hundreds at crucial times," Cook said. "Every one of those guys in the team can be proud of what they've done."
Bell, an Ashes-winner for the fourth time in his career, said: "Any time to win the Ashes is a special time. It's nice to contribute, going into the series I was probably light on a few runs. I was getting a lot of starts but to get hundreds helps the team win Test matches.
"As the series went on, I felt better and better. We've had to fight for every win. We're looking forward to a nice break from Test cricket because it's been hard work."
Andy Flower, the England coach, said Cook's captaincy in a series where the opener struggled with the bat, had been key to England's latest Ashes triumph.
"I think Cook's strong leadership was a key," said Flower. "The players need to trust and respect their leader. He is a man they all look up to and he has a certain conviction and inner strength that will serve English cricket well. (But) We must be better players by the time we take them on in November."
Flower was coy when asked about British media reports on Sunday indicating he would resign following the return Ashes in Australia. "We've got to enjoy the moment and don't look too far ahead. We have to really enjoy this evening."
But the way the match finished with a result tantalisingly close angered Giles Clarke, the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman. "It's totally unsatisfactory the way the game ended - the rules are clearly unacceptable and I expect David Richardson (ICC chief executive) to change it at the next ICC chief executives' meeting," Clarke told BBC Radio's Test Match Special.
Story first published on: Monday, 26 August 2013 13:53 IST