Australia deserve their Ashes success Down Under but England will win back the urn in 2019... even though Steve Smith is the best player in the world
- Australia may win this Ashes series but England will be favourites in 2019
- I fully expect England to win back the urn on home soil next summer
- Hopefully I'll play in that series but I'm not sure if I'll tour Australia again
- Australia skipper Steve Smith has shown that he is the world's No 1 player
It is not a sentiment reflected in the scoreline of this Ashes series, but I think we will rightly be favourites when Australia come over to us in 2019 — and I expect us to win.
I definitely aim to be part of that and after this Test is over we start building towards that goal, putting in place plans to get the Ashes back.
We'll have to see whether I get another chance to be a full part of a squad that wins an Ashes on Australian soil, but if it doesn't happen it won't be a huge sadness.
England have been outplayed by Australia but next year's Ashes will be very different at home
I have played in an era where, throughout Test cricket, it has become almost freakish to win away from home. We managed it here in 2011, India 2012 and in South Africa in 2016 but those were exceptional results. Two-match series can be a bit of a lottery but any time a series is above three or four Test matches you expect the home team to win.
It is a very different style of cricket in England and it rewards different attributes. Take, for example, a lot of the wickets Pat Cummins has been getting — they have virtually all been bouncers, whereas if you bowl that in England you will get smashed.
Here in Australia going for the top of off stump has not been very effective, the amount of catches in the slips has been tiny compared to what you get at home. Things seem to have changed, as I remember watching Australian cricket as a kid and you would get catches to carry from bouncy pitches. Maybe the drop-in pitches haven't helped.
We have been competitive here for a lot of the time but we have not been good enough for long enough. Look at day one in this Test; we would have bossed the day completely if we had ended it three down. We looked set for 550, but they got a couple of late wickets, a bit of luck and it was hard from there.
This team will learn from what has happened in the big moments, and when the 2019 Ashes series arrives in England, that knowledge will be crucial.
And I would maintain that this has been different from four years ago. That team had peaked and was running at the end of the treadmill whereas I see this as a developing team moving forward and looking to be No1.
We held together fantastically under a lot of pressure when we could have cracked. For a young guy early in his captaincy career, Rooty has remained very honest and spoken really well in front of the guys. So I genuinely believe there is a lot of promise for the future.
Captain Joe Root (left) has remained very honest and spoken really well in front of the guys
I am going to chill out here in Australia for about 10 days after this game — January is not the best time to be in England, is it? What I have found with Ashes series, particularly abroad, is they are so intense, especially this one with the off-the-field scrutiny we have had.
Of course there have been mistakes made, even if a few of the incidents were blown out of proportion, and that has proved quite a strain. There has inevitably been a lot of media focus on things off the field and mentally that can be exhausting.
I'm going to spend 10 days or so relaxing in Australia after the Sydney Test ends
When it has all finished you can go into a bit of a low as the adrenaline stops, so it's important to get proper down time. Jimmy has bowled the most overs he has ever done in a series and he is 35. Our workloads have been huge, so it will be important to mentally and physically recuperate.
It's a dangerous place to be if cricket is everything in your life. It is such a mental game and it can swarm all over you.
One of the things I am looking forward to is my Grandad Ken turning 100 next month. That's a very special occasion that I am looking forward to. He was an opening batsman and his highest score was 99 so he has always dreamt of getting to a century!
January will be about getting rest and then next month I will do a lot of hard work at Nottinghamshire before we go to New Zealand, if selected.
MASON'S FINE DEBUT
It was special to be out there for Mason Crane's first Test wicket. For a guy of 20 making his debut at the SCG, I thought he handled himself really well. The atmosphere got going with him pulling out of his action a few times, so I was delighted for him.
It strikes me that Mason has got the right temperament and character for this level.
He is hugely competitive and very driven. He knows what he wants on the field and that's important because he's not just relying on the captain. I think he has bowled extremely well.
Young Mason Crane has handled himself very well and it was great to see his first Test wicket
A lot of our white-ball players are already here preparing for the upcoming series and while beating Australia in Australia is never easy, if there is a team who can do it, it is England. I think our white-ball side has got some hugely talented players.
You look at our style of player and they should be suited to Australian conditions so I am expecting a very competitive series over the next few weeks.
THE POWER OF PINK
This was the 10th Pink Test to promote Glenn McGrath's breast cancer charity and I think it is incredible what he has done. He is my cricketing hero, so to hand him the pink cap was a great thing.
It is not just knowing how much money is raised, but also how people care for it and support it.
The commentators and everyone were dressed in pink and it was great to see, a superb effort by all.
Glenn McGrath is my cricketing hero and he's done superb work for his breast cancer charity
STEVE'S TOP CLASS
There have been a lot of questions in the last two or three years over who the best player in the world is. I think that has been answered by Steve Smith, with the Australia captain having raced to 6,000 Test runs.
Much as we have been fed up with the sight of him, you have to tip your hat in his direction.
He doesn't change the tempo in his innings, he doesn't get flustered or agitated. You feel that when he is out there he is booking in for a long innings and he has been relentless. He has a calm presence at the crease, as generally the best players do.
He also has a calming influence on those batting with him. His technique can get a bit more frantic when there is movement and that is where you need to take advantage. But he has shown how it is done on these pitches and sometimes you have to say 'Well played!'.
Australia skipper Steve Smith has shown during this series that he is the world's No 1 player
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