Emotions run high for Flower
England team director Andy Flower told his players to enjoy their Ashes triumph - and to remember the work they have put into achieving it.
The tourists this morning picked up the three wickets they needed to bowl Australia out and win the fifth Test at the SCG by an innings and 83 runs - a result that secured a 3-1 series victory.
It was the first time England have won a series Down Under for 24 years and Flower wants his men to soak up the feeling before the limited-overs leg of the tour begins with a tour match against the Prime Minister’s XI in three days.
“This is an emotional moment for all of us in that changing room,” he said.
“A lot of hard work, effort, heartache and some sweat and tears goes into winning any game of cricket. Over a five-match series it takes even more effort and no mean amount of skill and I think the guys are very proud of all those things that they put into it.
“We’ve got to enjoy it now and share in the experience. We share hardships along the way and we have to share good moments as well.
“We’ll definitely enjoy the moment and look back on it with pride and satisfaction, but there will be a moment where we’ve got to draw the line and move on.”
Flower pinpointed Andrew Strauss’ leadership and a prolific batting effort from the team as a whole as central to England’s first success in Australia since Mike Gatting’s side returned with the urn in 1986-87.
“At the top of the tree you’ve got Strauss, who’s a very good leader,” added Flower. “He’s been very strong out on the field with the bat in his hand and when he speaks. I couldn’t praise him highly enough.
“We challenged [the players] before the series about not having done well in the first innings.
“We’ve got four scores above 500 in the series, which is outstanding, with Cook and Trott leading the way.”
Flower borrowed the comments of a former Australia captain, and a man who grew accustomed to Ashes success over England, in paying a glowing tribute to Paul Collingwood, for whom this was his last Test.
“I remember talking to Steve Waugh a couple of years ago,” Flower revealed. “He said he is the type of cricketer you can build a side around. That’s high praise coming from a man like Steve Waugh.
“He [Collingwood] hasn’t done a lot with the bat in this series, but he has caught well and his input on the field and in the dressing room, the way he carries himself, the words he says in a team huddle - all those things contribute to us being a better team.”
As England’s players cavorted in front of the thousands of travelling fans, who flocked to the SCG on a day when entry was free, the contrast with the last Ashes tour four years ago could not have been starker.
He said: “A review whether you win or lose is very important for the learning process - to embed any good things we have done, and also look at things we could have done better.
“In sport things move very quickly; they can turn around very quickly. If you aren’t constantly looking at bettering yourself you’re going to fall behind.”