England savour the moment they retained the Ashes in Melbourne
By Justin Langer
Australia batting/leadership coach
When all is said and done, on Wednesday, the Ashes was officially lost, or won, depending upon whose shoes you are standing in.
From my shoes, losing the Ashes is a terrible feeling. With all the hype and expectation leading to this point, it is a horrible feeling knowing that regardless of anything that happens until next we meet, England will hold the cherished urn, and the title and advantage that goes with that.
From England's shoes, their supporters are quite literally dancing in the streets as I witnessed when I took my daughters down for an ice-cream earlier in the evening.
Spurred on by the remarkable support of the Barmy Army, the promenade of the South Bank, where our team hotel is situated, is buzzing with singing and dancing, even street cricket, being enjoyed by hundreds of excited England supporters.
As hard as it is for me to admit this,
England deserve to retain the Ashes.
From the moment they arrived in Australia, they looked focused and organized and their management should take a great deal of credit for this success.
In his post-match interview, Andrew Strauss described his team as a happy one and this has been evident over the last five or six weeks.
England's camaraderie has shone throughout and they have looked like a closely knit unit from day one.
Despite losing in Perth they have fought back well here, as good teams do, and kept the pressure on Australia from the first ball of this Test match.
To say they have outplayed Australia at the MCG is a gross understatement.
Like yin and yang, black and white, love and hate, there are always two sides to every story.
As England walked their lap of honour I put my arm around my besieged captain and friend
and reminded him that winning is so much more fun than losing.
Only four years ago we were walking together arm in arm basking in the glory.
In stark contrast we stood alone on the hallowed turf of the MCG and watched as
England lapped up the adulation of victory.
As is always the case with winning and losing England will be basking in the glory, while Australia are mourning and analyzing.
Having been in both camps I know where I would rather be, even if they say more lessons are learned from losing than winning.
Whoever came up with this theory is probably right, but it doesn't ease the pain of a loss; especially an Ashes loss to our oldest and dearest rivals, England.
Listen to commentary highlights from the fourth Test (UK users only)
TMS podcast: Jonathan Agnew and Geoff Boycott's review (available worldwide)