Ben Stokes praised Stuart Broad after the retiring paceman took the last two wickets to help England win the fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia on Monday.
Australia, chasing 384 to win, collapsed from 264-3 to 334 all out, meaning England won by 49 runs at The Oval to level the series at 2-2.
Broad finished with figures of 2-62, dismissing Todd Murphy and Alex Carey, taking his overall Test tally to 604 wickets – fifth in the all-time list.
“I have played with Broady for a long, long time,” England captain Stokes told Sky Sports. “He has been an unbelievable performer for England and to watch him come in and bowl the way he did – it was written in the stars.”
The skipper also praised off-spinner Moeen Ali (3-76), who did much of the damage Monday along with all-rounder Chris Woakes (4-50).
“Mo came into this squad through an unfortunate injury to Jack Leach,” he said. “A few things were said about him but I chose him because I know what he can do on his best days.
“When it really mattered he produced one of his best days. He changed the game for us. For him to do what he has done is just incredible. He has been a great servant to England.”
Stokes said 2-2 was a fair reflection of a thrilling series in which England had to battle back from 2-0 down.
“I don’t think many teams would have been able to respond from 2-0 down,” he said. “I am incredibly proud of everyone’s efforts.
“We have been do or die since the second game and that really suits us.”
He added: “I genuinely believe this is what Test cricket needed.
“Every player in an England and Australia shirt is a massive advocate for Test cricket to stay alive.
“We have been very vocal about that being an objective in the way we play and I think this series has really done that.
“It has captivated so many new fans and attracted a new audience. Test cricket is the purest form and I absolutely love it.
“I hope this series has got it even bigger.”
Meanwhile, Australia captain Pat Cummins was left to rue “key moments we didn’t get right” after his dream of leading the side to an Ashes series win in England was scuppered.
“We just missed what we were hoping to come over here to achieve,” he said. “But winning the World Test Championship and retaining the Ashes, it’s a pretty successful tour.”
The 30-year-old fast bowler also regretted off-spinner Nathan Lyon’s tour-ending calf injury in the second Test at Lord’s.
“It’s pretty clear just how important Nath is in all conditions,” said Cummins. “We probably felt that at times at Manchester [where England had the better of a rain-marred drawn fourth Test], not having a spinner out there.”
Cummins said he was well aware that for all Australia’s recent triumphs elsewhere, his side would be judged on the Ashes.
“Whether we like it or not, Ashes tend to define eras or legacies,” he said. “If that is the case on this one, it’s something we can be really proud of. The last two series over here we retained the Ashes.
“That doesn’t happen very often … the group has had some amazing achievements over the past few years, so if it is a legacy, that is one I am happy to have.”
© Agence France-Presse