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Sacrificing Ashes for a World Cup win appears worthwhile for England | Vic Marks

It was not a perfect summer and the Test side requires work but Trevor Bayliss delivered the prize England coveted the most

After it was all over there were smiles rather than jubilation at the Oval and a few sighs of relief – from both sides. Australia were content, having retained the Ashes; England could take comfort from what was almost a copybook victory in the final Test, which allowed them to square the series. The England side might have crumpled after the defeat at Old Trafford but they came back strongly with Joe Root overseeing everything adroitly in the field; the Australians needed more than 103 runs in the match from Steve Smith.

Amid the post-match ceremonies the Specsavers hoarding was a wee bit one-eyed, highlighting the drawn series rather than the destiny of the Ashes. Then the players, many of whom had every reason to be exhausted after a wonderful, relentless summer, shook hands warmly and mingled in the dressing rooms – just as they should after 23 days of raw, flawed, riveting Test cricket.

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