We must learn - Flintoff

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Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff ponders England's resounding defeat down under © Getty Images

Andrew Flintoff urged England to ensure their Ashes series whitewash was not "a pointless exercise" after Australia completed an emphatic 10-wicket victory in the final Test.

The England captain became the first to preside over a 5-0 Ashes series defeat since 1920-21 when Australia triumphed before lunch on the fourth day at the SCG.

It completed a miserable trip for the tourists, who arrived on Australian soil two months ago with huge expectations of being able to retain the urn they won so memorably in 2005.

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But Flintoff insisted England should learn from the recent experiences and become stronger.

"One thing we've got to do, myself and the rest of the lads, is make sure that this can't be a pointless exercise," said Flintoff.

“I know we've been beaten 5-0, but this is a young side and it's important we learn something from this and move forward.

"Some of the lads have scored runs and had success and shown they can compete against the best in the world.

“Young lads like Alastair Cook scoring a hundred against them, and Paul Collingwood, Kevin Pietersen, Matthew Hoggard have played well in patches.

"I think every one of us has learned something about our games and how we can improve and take it forward.

“Australia have stuck to plans and exploited weaknesses and it's something we can look at and improve going forward."

England

Flintoff urged his players to learn from this testing tour

England resumed the fourth morning just 12 runs ahead on 114 for five with their hopes of setting a competitive victory target resting with Kevin Pietersen, who was unbeaten on 29 overnight.

But after Pietersen fell to the third ball of the morning from Glenn McGrath, England subsided for 147 to leave openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden facing a modest victory target of 46.

"We've come up against a side here that have been fantastic throughout the series," conceded Flintoff.

"They hit us hard in the first game and in patches we've competed with them and played some good cricket, but whenever we've tried to get a foot in the door it's been closed in front of us.

"They've raised the bar and in this series they've been awesome all round and made it really tough for us.

“From our point of view it's not because of a lack of trying or character. We've given everything we've got but we've been beaten by the better team."

Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer & Adam Gilchrist

Australian celebrations may yet inspire England in 2009

Flintoff and the rest of the England side were forced to endure Australia's celebrations, heightened by the farewells to McGrath, Shane Warne and Justin Langer, all of whom retired from Test cricket.

But he believes those scenes could act as inspiration to future England sides in a similar manner to how their own celebrations at the Brit Oval in 2005 motivated Australia to reclaim the Ashes.

"I've experienced both sides of it now and the jubilation and joy of winning the Ashes and then there was today and probably Perth as well,” Flintoff said.

"I've experienced the other side and it's not very nice. I've heard the Australians speak about it and say they used that as a spur for this series we just played and for 2009.

"I'm sure that's something the lads will remember to give us that spur on for that series.

“If you look at our dressing room, conceivably everyone in there who's played in this Test match could play in 2009."

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