Alastair Cook. Photo: Getty Images
Alastair Cook left his final press conference with a tired wave and another "could've, should've, would love to have" moment to add to his wretched collection.
The England captain felt there was enough doubt in the bizarre dismissal of Ravi Bopara that he should have been given not out in the penultimate over of Sunday night's ODI in Adelaide.
Luck played a part in the home team's Australia Day triumph when Matthew Wade fumbled when keeping up to the stumps to Clint McKay. The ball ricocheted off his gloves onto the leg bail, and third umpire Kumar Dharmasena concluded that the bail came off with the batsman's foot raised.
That left England needing eight from the last over without a recognised batsman at the crease.
"I don't know whether I am being biased here or not but I thought the rule was that the bail had to leave both grooves. Looking at the TV screen I thought there was enough doubt for it not to be given out. I would like to be proved wrong in one sense but I'm sure the third umpire can explain his decision," Cook said.
"He (Bopara) is a man who can clear the ropes when he wants to. He had taken it deep and he felt in control even though we were losing wickets at the other end. You don't blame one incident when there's 600 balls in a game but that was obviously a big call."
Cook has endured a tough tour comprising nine defeats in 10 appearances against Australia including the Ashes whitewash and was understandably keen to board a plane home as Stuart Broad takes charge for the Twenty20 series.
"I am obviously going to enjoy seeing my pregnant wife and enjoy seeing a few sheep (on the family farm) for a bit and then just have a bit of time off and then we will start making plans," said Cook.
Asked to nominate the moment when the tour turned bad for England, he could only think back to the first day of the Ashes at the Gabba when Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson steered Australia out of trouble with the bat, setting the scene for the first of many Johnson assaults with the ball.
"I don't think there was one single thing. You can look back at certain times. Brisbane when the Aussies were 130 for 5 and if you had your time again... You get another wicket, bowl them out for 200 and it could have been a different thing," Cook reflected.
"It's been a snowball effect.
"I don't think exhausted is the word. It's been a tough tour and I'm ready to put the pads away for a couple of weeks. That hunger comes back very quickly."
Cook will take an extended break, skipping a short one-day series in the West Indies, but will hold talks with England management about a way forward, and the future of Kevin Pietersen, in the coming weeks.
For his part, Michael Clarke suspected "there will be a few England players keen to get on that plane tomorrow and spend some time away from the game".
He admitted he thought Bopara might have grounded his foot when the bail dislodged.
"I had an interesting conversation with Matthew Wade at the start of that over. He wanted to go back and I made it very clear I wanted him up to the stumps," Clarke said.
"I couldn't really tell from the big screen. There were mixed feelings out there. A lot of guys thought that once the bail dislodged Ravi's foot was in the air but I couldn't tell clearly enough. I probably felt the other way, has he just got his foot down when the bail dislodged."
Clarke knows how it feels to be a vanquished captain - "you take it personally," he said.
But he also knows how a team can rise from the Ashes of defeat.