Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes Tim Paine-led side was better than Joe Root’s men in the recently-concluded Ashes series which ended 2-2.

Notably, Australia retained the Ashes with a 185-run victory in the fourth Test, but failed to register their first Ashes series win in England since 2001 as they lost to the Three Lions by 135 runs in the final match at The Oval on Sunday.

“Australia will look at it as a series of missed opportunities,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.

“I think they’ve clearly been the better team. They’ve clearly played better cricket throughout the series. They should have won at Headingley.”

Meanwhile, the former Australia cricketer also said that the 2-2 result was not a clear reflection of how the series was played and how the visitors performed in the five-match rubber.

Australia were knocked out of the World Cup in the semi-finals by eventual champions England and retained the urn in England for the first time in 18 years.

Ponting said the efforts of Paine’s men should be congratulated even though they didn’t manage to win the coveted series.

“We shouldn’t undersell how well Australia have played, and on the back of a pretty successful World Cup campaign,” he said.

“The boys have been on the road for five months. Making a World Cup semi-final and retaining the Ashes 2-2, it’s been a good few months for Australian cricket.”

Australia face Sri Lanka next in the three-match T20I series at home beginning 27 October, while England travel to New Zealand next to face the Kiwis in the five-match T20I series starting 1 November, followed by 2 Tests.

(With inputs from IANS)