England's captain Andrew Strauss refused to take any satisfaction from his side's last-ditch avoidance of a 7-0 whitewash, and instead admitted that the overall performance in the one-day series against Australia had even taken the gloss off last month's Ashes triumph.
"This [series] has served as a timely reminder that as a side, we are nowhere near where we want to be, either in Test cricket or one-day cricket," Strauss told reporters at the Riverside. "It brings your feet back down to earth, that's for sure. In international cricket, you have always got to keep looking forward, you can't bask in anything you have done previously.
"We are still going to hold on to that Ashes victory because it was very special and if you don't get excited about those victories, then you are not going to get excited about anything," he said. "We can be proud of ourselves the way we played in the Ashes, and as a Test side, we have got a lot of the component parts in place; as a one-day side, it's clear we have got some work to do still."
England fly out to South Africa for the Champions Trophy on Monday, and so they have little time to dwell on their shortcomings. Nevertheless, they can at least arrive in the country with a small semblance of satisfaction, after bowling Australia out for 176 in their final innings of the series, a total that they chased down with four wickets in hand.
"It is a bit of a relief, if I am honest, but we are not going to get carried away with it - we still lost the series 6-1," he said. "But it was a good bowling performance today. Graeme Swann produced a fantastic spell of spin bowling, mixing it up and giving it a rip. To bowl them out for 176, you would back yourself to chase that just about every time."
Australia's captain Ricky Ponting admitted that Swann's spell of 5 for 28 in ten overs had been the difference between the sides on the day, but felt that his players were well set to mount a spirited defence of the Champions Trophy, a title that they hold after winning in India in 2006-07, particularly given how the younger members of the side had played their part in the series.
"The last few weeks have been terrific for us," said Ponting. "For someone like Cameron White to be the Man of the Series is a terrific effort for a young player, and [Tim] Paine has been terrific for us as well, so all in all, we can go to South Africa really happy with what we have achieved here and with a bit of confidence behind us."