Adam Gilchrist, standing in as captain for the injured Steve Waugh, admitted that the feeling of winning the Ashes was "very, very special."

"So many times we have been asked whether the Ashes are what they used to be," Gilchrist revealed. "Everything I have been a part of in Test cricket has been a thrill, but this really is so special," he said.

"What we have got out of this win and the 10 or 11 days of cricket we have had against England this summer is fairly priceless," he continued.

Gilchrist was generous in praise of England however, and insisted that Australia had been pressed hard throughout the summer so far.

"They had us at 100 for seven and under real pressure here," he said. "England have shown signs in every game that they can put us under pressure. We have been able to stand up to that - and that is credit to our guys.

"They will take more from this game than the other two. It was very close, and the results on paper have not been a fair indication of how the games have gone."

The only thing that soured the Australian victory was the injury to Steve Waugh, who was stretchered from the field after sustaining an injury to his left calf.

"That makes for mixed emotions, but I am so glad that we were not presented with the Ashes trophy today without him," Gilchrist conceded.

"There is no doubt what he would say, though. He would have said: 'Big deal, whether I am having an MRI (scan) or standing on the balcony - what difference does it make?"

And Gilchrist also admitted to plenty of nerves as Australia lost three wickets, and the services of their captain with nearly 70 runs still required.

"It is fairly tense anyway, and then Mr Reliable walks out there and is then stretchered off a ball later," he said.

"There was a bit of tension in the dressing room then, and we needed whoever went out there to steady the ship. Damien Martyn did that very well."

England captain, Mike Atherton, was keen to accentuate the positives in the English performance.

"Testing yourself against the best is what the game is all about, and we have shown in this game that we can compete," he said.

"I think the game was closer than seven wickets. We bowled and fielded well and got ourselves into the game - and we would have settled for parity on the first innings.

"We then had some good partnerships with the bat. But when they were broken we lost a cluster of wickets - and those were the key moments of the game."

In response to questions about his dismissal in both innings - television replays suggest that he should probably not have been given out either time - Atherton said: " I have not complained about umpiring decisions in 10 years of international cricket and I am not going to start now."

Atherton refused to be drawn on the subject of his retirement and stressed that it was up to the selectors to decide whether to experiment with a more youthful side now that the series is lost.

"If the selectors continue to pick me I will play," he said. "It is also up to the selectors whether they want to continue with this team or they want to make some changes."