Stokes, Cummins reflect after compelling Ashes series comes to thrilling climax
A compelling Ashes series came to a thrilling climax on Monday when England registered a 49-run victory over their close rival in the fifth and final Test of a closely fought series at The Oval, with the result meaning the five-match series finished tied at 2-2.
While the final scoreline means Australia retains the Ashes for a fourth straight series, the tourists will be disappointed they failed to capitalise on the 2-0 lead they opened up early in the series and missed the chance to record a first series triumph on English soil since 2001.
Conversely, England will be buoyed by the fact they were able to fightback from the early deficit and Stokes was thrilled with the response his players showed over the final three Tests.
"Being in a do-or-die situation, most teams can shy away from it and hope that the results are going to go their way whereas we knew we had to try and force it from the second game onwards," he said.
"You can look back and say a few things went our way and a few things went Australia's way, but hand on heart, I think 2-2 is a fair reflection of where the two teams are at in this moment.
"We didn't shy away from the momentous event the Ashes is and we talked the talk and we've also walked the walk out there, I'm very proud of this whole team and what they have accomplished over these weeks."
Cummins also felt the 2-2 scoreline was fair for both sides, with Australia's accomplishment when claiming their inaugural ICC World Test Championship title prior to the Ashes commencing making the tour to England an overall success.
"We just missed what we were hoping to come over here to achieve, but to win the World Test Championship and retain the Ashes is a pretty successful tour," Cummins said.
"Coming over here and retaining the Ashes feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. (But) in 2019 we were all pretty happy about retaining the Ashes. So don't think we should lose sight of that. Think it's a huge achievement to come over here and win and get ourselves into many winning positions.
"We felt like we got ourselves into some really good positions, first of all winning the first two games, but then Headingley and again this week - match-winning positions we didn't quite capitalise on.
"That happens. We were out of it in Birmingham and found a way to win. Once we reflect on it, we'll be proud that we were able to retain (the Ashes), it's been a wonderful tour, but we all turned up today hoping to get up and win 3-1."
Australia and England now take a break from Test cricket, with both sides turning their attention to the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in India during October and November.
Australia's next Test assignment is at home against Pakistan at the end of the year, while England travel to India to take on the runners up from the last World Test Championship cycle in a five-match Test series from the end of January.
England will have to include some fresh faces for that tour of India, with veteran spinner Moeen Ali confirming the Test at The Oval would be his last and he too will be joining champion fast bowler Stuart Broad in retirement and will not consider reversing his decision again.
"If Stokesy (Stokes) messages me again I am going to delete it," Moeen told Sky Sports.
"It was a little daunting (coming out of retirement). I have never played that well against Australia but Stokesy asked and I thought 'why not?'.
"I am so glad I came back and said yes. It has been amazing. I am chuffed I can finish with a win against Australia and play a little bit of a helping hand."