Australia mock England in post-match celebrations after retaining the Ashes

England v Australia - 4th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Five

First came frustration - then it was acceptance.

A little hope began to dawn - then it was extinguished.

The full body of emotions associated with an England Test match were there to be felt on day five at Old Trafford before Australia retained the Ashes with just under an hour's play to go.

With Rory Burns and Joe Root both dismissed for ducks, the tail-end once again found themselves up against it, battling heroically but against a sense of inevitability.

The irony is that the defiance cricket fans fell in love with at Headingley was really an indication of the gulf between these two nations at this moment in time.

Put simply, England keep finding themselves in these positions, and it is only once in a generation that a player like Ben Stokes will produce an innings like he did up in Yorkshire. 

Without any such rescue operation underway, Craig Overton, Jofra Archer and Jack Leach all tried in vain to thwart, to waste time, and to somehow create another miracle. 

The only real turn-up was that Pat Cummins was denied what would have been a deserved five-wicket haul, Marnus Labuschagne getting one of the key wickets to signal the end of England's chances of a draw.

England v Australia - 4th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Five

And so to The Oval, where the best the hosts can dream of now is a 2-2 leveller. It won't be enough to win back the urn, but it would at least deny the Baggy Green a first series win on English soil for 18 years [Spoiler: Steve Smith rather likes batting at The Oval, so let's not get too excited]. 

It's essential that Joe Root's men try and salvage some pride, however, and they ought to be more motivated than ever after witnessing their rivals' celebrations on the outfield after the match. 

Australia players were filmed huddling and having a drink, as is the custom, but they were also heard singing about England. Take a look at the footage below: 

'Who did we beat?'

'England!'

'How did we do it?'

'Easy!' 

Journalist David Coverdale also wrote on Twitter that Smith had mocked Leach in front of his Australia teammates by putting on glasses and imitating his battling style. 

That's sure to rile the England dressing room, if a 185-run defeat hadn't already done that.

Take the urn if you must, but don't come for Leach's iconic eyewear. 

In Australia's defence, they can be forgiven for getting a little carried away.

England v Australia - 4th Specsavers Ashes Test: Day Five

After falling short at the World Cup, and given the personal journeys of so many of their individual players, this will likely prove the defining moment in most of their careers, not least captain Tim Paine who has withstood so much criticism and questioning over his role. 

For the touring Aussies, it has felt a long, long summer since they first arrived on these shores at the end of May.

Just don't let anyone tell them England have nothing to play for in the fifth and final Test. 

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