SYDNEY - Shane Warne likened retiring Australian captain Michael Clarke to all-time great and former skipper Allan Border Monday as the nation's media mourned the loss of the Ashes series.

Clarke ended his international career with 8,643 runs in 115 Tests, including 28 hundreds, going out on a high with a comprehensive innings and 46-run win in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval on Sunday. But it was a bittersweet moment with England taking the five-match series 3-2. Clarke, along with retiring opener Chris Rogers, were given an honour guard as they left the field and Warne paid tribute to his close friend with a touching video tribute. "Allan Border was the most meticulous in preparation and I think Michael Clarke rivals Allan Border for his preparation in leading up to a game," the spinning-bowling great said.

He highlighted Clarke's "unbelievable" leadership after the death of fellow batsman and friend Phillip Hughes, who was struck on the head by a bouncer in a domestic Sheffield Shield match last year and never recovered. "He was representing the family and Australian cricket, so to be able to handle that when it was one of his best mates, like his brother ... I thought the way he handled that stuff was unbelievable."

Warne hopes Clarke will go on to mentor the next generation of Australian cricketers and said he will be known not only for his skill but his on-field showmanship. "Clarke will be remembered as a fleet-footed batsman that was a fantastic player of spinners, was great to watch, was easy on the eye, was a flamboyant player," he said. "The way he got his runs was pretty great to watch, and the way he did it was with a bit of flair and imagination."

Despite a stellar career, Clarke, 34, had struggled recently with his final knock of 15 at The Oval capping a series where he managed just 132 runs at an average of 16.50, helping contribute to the series defeat. Fairfax Media lamented the loss of the series with Australia now needing to regroup ahead of a series in Bangladesh next month with batsman Steve Smith the new skipper. "Even in the moment of victory on Sunday, the Australians did not know whether to laugh, cry or seek counselling," said Fairfax chief sports columnist Greg Baum. "It was very much battle won, war lost."

He added that "generational transformation already was upon the Australian team, and when they convene again, it will be not only under a new captain, but as an almost unrecognisable ensemble from the one that began this series". The Sydney Daily Telegraph was equally disappointed with the Ashes outcome. "Not even the smiles of one last victory for the retiring skipper could negate the deep-seated disappointment that this was the Ashes series that got away," cricket writer Ben Horne said.

"Once the initial afterglow fades, perhaps on the plane journey home, these players will be forced to face the gnawing reality that for a bit of common sense, they would have broken Australia's 14-year Ashes curse on UK soil."

Lehmann bats away Warne criticisM: Australia coach Darren Lehmann has dismissed criticism from Shane Warne that the selectors made a mistake in picking Peter Siddle for the fifth and final Ashes Test against England.

Siddle, playing his first match of the series, was far and away Australia's best bowler at The Oval, taking four for 35 in England's second innings as Australia won by an innings and 46 runs on Sunday. But it was all too late to sway the destiny of the Ashes, with Australia's win merely reducing the margin of England's series victory to 3-2. Warne, commentating for Sky Sports television, repeatedly suggested that 30-year-old paceman Siddle should have been picked for the fourth Test when the series was up for grabs and that come a dead runner at The Oval the selectors would have been better off having a look at a younger bowler such as Pat Cummins,

Certainly the way Siddle bowled at The Oval made his omission from the previous four Tests look all the more bizarre with Warne, a close friend of retiring captain Michael Clarke, alleging that the skipper and Lehmann both wanted Cummins to play at The Oval only to be over-ruled by chairman of selectors Rodney Marsh. "Someone like Shane Warne always has his opinion because he loves an opinion full stop," said Lehmann. "That's fine but he doesn't know what goes on behind the scenes and we'll keep it like that. I'll probably stop there. "Peter bowled really well, I'm really pleased for him. Hats off to him, he was absolutely brilliant."

Although not as fast as other members of Australia's pace attack, Siddle provided a much-needed element of control in the field. "We're not saying we pick out and out fast bowlers all the time, obviously it may seem that way, but we pick the best team to try and win every game," former Australia batsman Lehmann said.

As for Warne's suggestion that Clarke hadn't got his preferred team, Lehmann said: "In my time I can't remember the captain not getting the side he wants. "I think the captain has a really important part to play and he's got to be really comfortable with the side he plays with. "It's our job to pick that final XI but you always consult the captain, that's important."

Meanwhile this Ashes continued the modern trend of home teams dominating Anglo-Australian contests. Only once in the past eight Test series clashes between the arch-rivals have the away team come out on top -- when Andrew Strauss's England side won 3-1 in Australia in 2010/11. And what is true of the Ashes is true of Test cricket as a whole, with just three of the last 14 completed Test series won by the away team -- Pakistan in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and Australia in the West Indies.

England's Ashes win will certainly be put into greater context by how Alastair Cook's men fare on tough tours later this year that see them face Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates before travelling to South Africa. "I think winning away from home for every Test country is the big thing now," said Lehmann.

"That's the challenge for the world game because there's a huge advantage playing at home. "We haven't adapted well enough here, so it's a big challenge when we come back here in 2019, but you can't look that far ahead. "What we've got to look at is a tough series against Bangladesh...we've got an away series against New Zealand, who are going to be tough over there. "The team that plays well away from home will be the best team in the world."