London - Australia captain Michael Clarke said his time was up after his last match in international cricket ended with an innings and 46-run win in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Clarke and Australia opener Chris Rogers, also retiring from international cricket, the convincing win came too late to sway the destiny of the Ashes, with England taking the five-match series 3-2.
"Chris and I are sick of the attention, the boys insisted we walked out first!," said Clarke.
"Chris and I made it clear this wasn't about us, it was about us showing fight and drive."
The 34-year-old Clarke has been one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation, scoring 8,643 runs in 115 Tests, including 28 hundreds, at an average of 49.10.
"It's been an amazing journey; whether you play one Test or a hundred," said Clarke.
"You never want to say goodbye, but our time is up. I've been really lucky to play with fantastic players, guys who've given everything."
He added: "When I woke up this (Sunday) morning I thought I might have felt it a bit more and that I might have been quite emotional walking off the field for the last time or being out there fielding.
"Fortunately, which is very rare for me, I've been able to hold my emotions in.
"It's nice, because, yes it's the end of my career and I'm very fortunate to have as much as I have for Australia," said Clarke, who earlier this year led his country to World Cup glory on home soil.
"But this is not about me -- what I want people and the Australian public in particular to see is the fight inside this change-room and how much they wanted to come out and play really good cricket in this last Test.
"To lose 3-2 is still disappointing but it's a nice way for Chris and myself to finish."
Clarke has struggled recently with his final knock of 15 at The Oval capping a series where he managed just 132 runs at 16.50.
"There's no doubt that my form over the last 12 months has gone downhill," said Clarke, plagued by a chronic back problem throughout his career."
Veteran opener Rogers, 37, was named Australia's man-of-the-series after scoring 480 runs at an average of 60, including a Test-best 173 in Australia's 405-run win in the second Test at Lord's.
"He's a great man, he deserves all the accolades he gets, the way he's played since he's been part of the Australian team shows that age doesn't matter," said Clarke.
"If you are 19 or 37 and you're good enough you are good enough.
"I am really proud that he got Australian man of the series, that's a great achievement for him."
For his part, Rogers said: "I've never been up here so this is special and it's nice to win the Test and be a part of Michael Clarke's last Test too.
"I am a very proud Australian but it's fitting I get to finish in England," said Rogers, who had stints with several counties, including a spell captaining Middlesex.
"It's been good to me and I owe it quite a lot."
Clarke was confident about the future of an Australia side who will be led by Steven Smith.
Captain-elect Smith scored 143 at The Oval, having made a career-best 215 at Lord's, as he became the first Australian since Matthew Elliott in 1997 to score more than 500 runs in an Ashes series in England.
"That team's full of talent, there's no doubt about it," said Clarke.
"I think 'Smithy' will do a fantastic job as captain, and I love that he's at the top of his game batting-wise.
"That helps you when you take over the captaincy, I believe. If you're comfortable with your own game, it means you can now focus on the team."