London, Aug 1 : England head coach Brendon McCullum compared the Ashes series to a clash between two heavyweight boxers, emphasising the formidable strength of both sides involved, after the conclusion of the fifth and final game at The Oval.
England overcame the Pat Cummins-led Australia by 49 wickets in the fifth Test at The Oval as a magnificent Ashes series came to an end with a 2-2 scoreline.
“Amazing to be part of this series. Two incredible cricket teams with contrasting styles much like a heavyweight boxing fight and it lived up to the billing. It was really special. I am very proud of the way our boys stayed very strong about what we wanted to do throughout the series. It is a nice reflection of a great series,” McCullum told Sky Sports.
McCullum also lauded star pacer Stuart Broad, who called time on his Test career at the end of the series, and said the team is going to miss the stalwart of England cricket in the dressing room, adding that the 37-year-old veteran deserved to go on his own terms.
“What he has been able to achieve is absolutely amazing. Itâ€™s hard to really sum up in a few words what Stuart Broad is about and what impact he has had on this game.
“What he has been able to bring to the dressing room in the last 14-15 months. It is nothing sort of unbelievable. He is one true competitor, he writes his own scripts, and to go out as a fairytale that he has done is a testament to that. We are going to miss him a huge amount. He deserves to leave on his terms,” he said.
McCullum was proud of his players and the fighting spirit they showed in ‘challenging’ moments when they lost the first two Tests.
“It was challenging at the time. I think you come into the series with lofty ambitions about how you want to play and when both teams start on an even cue, you are pretty strong with the belief but when you do go two nil down, particularly in games like where we felt like you had your opportunities to win. It can be quite testing.
“With the skipper’s convincing and his belief in the direction he wants his team to take and the experience we have got in the group helped us to hold the fort. We went better and better as the series went on. That was probably the most pleasing aspect to stay true when you are under pressure.
“What we see in the last three matches is that the team has really grown up and really comes to the term with the style of cricket we want to play,” he said.
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