Ashes in hand, now for the series
THE satisfaction of securing the Ashes urn won't deter Australian coach Justin Langer from giving full attention to his long-term plan of a history-making series win as well.
With a broad smile flashing across his face in the aftermath of his team's Old Trafford triumph, Langer had huge praise for captain Tim Paine and the character shown by his "great bunch of blokes" who had worked as one to achieve their first goal.
He hadn't had time to assess the effect of the work it took to take 20 English wickets in Manchester, but said the bowling effort, which lasted in to the final hour on day five, could mean a change when the final Test starts at The Oval on Thursday and Australia goes for a 3-1 series win.
Pace spearhead Pat Cummins bowled 48 overs in the fourth Test, taking his campaign total to 164, on the back of playing every match in the World Cup.
Cummins has taken a series-high 24 wickets, with Josh Hazlewood, who toiled for 42 overs at Old Trafford in his third Test for the series, next best at 18.
"I know we've got James Pattinson literally jumping out of his skin to play the next Test. Peter Siddle, his first two Tests, he was probably the standout bowler actually. So they're all jumping out of their skin," Langer said.
"It'll be fascinating to see how they pull up. I know a lot goes into winning a Test match like that so we'll see how they pull up."
Langer was happy for his players to celebrate their victory, coming only on the back of the heartbreak loss at Headingley, but also months of disciplined preparation and execution to achieve a feat beyond any Australian team for 18 years.
"After the last Test match I said 'you've got no idea how much that hurts'… you've got no idea how satisfying that (win) is. It's a great bunch of blokes and they've worked very hard," he said.
"We've got the luxury of six healthy fast bowlers, which I haven't seen for a long time and we've got the luxury of the number one batsman in the world, the number one bowler in the world and great camaraderie within the group. It's very satisfying."
The coach said Paine, who bore the brunt of criticism for the loss in Leeds, had learned lessons from that experience which could propel his team to better things.
"To win you've got to learn how to win, and that's why it is so important to us," Langer said.
"Had it have been another draw, or just quite not got over the line … that's tough on the team and for his captaincy, he'll take confidence out of that. And so will the team."
Langer wouldn't be drawn on any potential changes to the batting line-up for the final Test, but said the likes of opener Marcus Harris and vice-captain Travis Head needed time to find their best at the top level.
"They've still got to perform," he said.
"You've still got to perform whether you're young or a veteran but we also have to recognise they are young batsmen and it's a really tough school and hopefully they'll come through at some point."