Australia coach Justin Langer said he hoped his side would return a better team come next year’s World Cup after going through the “jungle” in their tour of England.
Having been whitewashed 5-0 by England in a preceding one-day international series, Australia’s limited overs tour ended with a 28-run defeat by Eoin Morgan’s men in a one-off Twenty20 international at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Once again Jos Buttler put Australia’s bowlers to the sword, a 22-ball fifty following his match-winning century in a dramatic one-wicket win in the fifth ODI at Old Trafford.
And, not for the first time this trip, spin proved Australia’s Achilles heel with England leg-break bowler Adil Rashid taking three for 27 as the tourists, chasing 222 to win, were dismissed for 193.
Australia, the reigning 50-over World Cup champions, arrived in England — the 2019 tournament hosts — without a raft of first-choice players.
Former captain Steve Smith and his deputy, David Warner, were both missing after being handed one-year bans for their roles in March’s ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town — an incident that prompted Darren Lehmann’s resignation as coach and his replacement by fellow former Australia batsman Langer.
Meanwhile Australia were also without injured Ashes-winning fast bowlers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummmins and Josh Hazlewood as well as sidelined all-rounder Mitchell Marsh.
“There’s light at the end of the tunnel, there’s no doubt about that,” Langer told reporters.
“We knew it was going to be a big job knowing where we came from in South Africa.
“On the surface it looks like a complete disaster but we have talked about a team for the World Cup and the Ashes and I think we have unlocked a few answers, but it hurts when you get beaten — particularly in England.”
During the one-dayers, Australia’s bowlers were flayed by England for an all-time men’s ODI record total of 481 for six at Trent Bridge.
Langer likened that experienced to his own Test debut against a formidable West Indies pace attack at Adelaide in 1993, where his first ball saw him hit on the helmet by Ian Bishop.
But the Western Australia left-hander went onto enjoy a distinguished 105-Test career that featured 23 hundreds.