A weary Steven Smith praised his inexperienced side after they dug deep to take the series decider against England, but afterwards admitted he was looking forward to a few days at home.
Smith was the only player to appear in every one of Australia's 13 international fixtures on this tour, including the one-off ODI against Ireland in Belfast in August, and he also played in two Tests in West Indies before reaching England. He now has a 10-day break before heading to Bangladesh where he will be in charge of one of Australia's most inexperienced squads following the spate of retirements which became a feature of this tour.
Those retirements - plus player rotation which was a feature for both sides - meant the Australia side which played at Old Trafford only had four survivors from their victory against New Zealand in the World Cup final at the end of March. Smith was one, along with Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc after the latter was wheeled out for one final match on this tour when Australia would have preferred for him to rest ahead of Bangladesh.
"It's very satisfying. I think it's really pleasing for us to be able to win a series away from home with the lack of experience we've had over here," Smith said. "One thing this team does really well is we learn quite quickly which is extremely pleasing. That's encouraging signs for us going forward, making sure we learn from our mistakes quickly and the guys are doing that."
Although England triumphed in the Ashes, the talk before the one-day series was that Australia's depth in pace bowling would prove too much. Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood were rested from the whole series while Nathan Coulter-Nile was injured in the second ODI at Lord's. Ultimately, that proved the case as Starc, Pat Cummins, John Hastings and Mitchell Marsh dismantled England for 138 at Old Trafford.
Much as he did in the World Cup final when he bowled Brendon McCullum, Starc set the tone on his recall by removing Jason Roy, albeit to a fortuitous lbw. But the bulk of the wicket-taking was done by Hastings and Marsh, who claimed 4 for 27 with zippy seam bowling. While Hastings may not have a vast part to play in Australia's future, Marsh, who was named Man of the Series for his 134 runs and eight wickets, certainly does.
"I thought he was really impressive throughout this one-day series, probably more with ball than bat, but he's a really talented young player and he has a very bright future," Smith said. "He summed up conditions really well and was able to get the ball in good areas through the whole series and he's just going to keep improving."
Overall, however, Australia's bowler of the series was Cummins who sustained pace above 90mph as he claimed 12 wickets at 19.66. Including the ODI against Ireland last month, his six-match stretch is the longest of Cummins' injury-hit career to date, and Smith was confident that he could sustain his performance through to Test cricket as well.
"I thought he was extremely impressive through the series," Smith said. "He has worked extremely hard to get back after a tough time. It's great to see him back on the field and bowling consistently at 150kph, it's never nice to face. I'm confident that if he gets picked for a Test that he'll be able to stand up to it."
A Test chance may come in Bangladesh, but Smith will not be immediately worrying about that. "I'm a bit tired to be perfectly honest," he said. "It's been a long summer, it's been a great summer, a tough summer, so I'm just looking forward to the next 10 days before Bangladesh."