Tue, Jan 9, 10:54am by Head Editor
Just as we’ve seen in each of the last four Ashes series, the home team has saluted, with Australia closing out a commanding 4-0 series win with a huge innings and 123-run win at the SCG on Monday.
Aussie captain Steve Smith was named man of the series after the world’s best batsman scored an incredible 687 runs at an astounding average of 137.4. The 28-year-old’s career average has ballooned to 63.75, which means he sits in second place behind Don Bradman’s celebrated figure of 99.94.
While Smith deserved to be named the Compton-Miller Medalist, Australia’s bowling attack of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon became only the third set of four bowlers to each take 20 wickets in a series.
In the lead-up to cricket’s most famous series, there were several questions marks on the Australian XI, with the number five and six in the batting order and the wicket-keeper far from set in stone, so the Aussie selectors must also take a bow.
The inclusions of Shaun Marsh at No.5, his brother Mitch at six and wicket keeper Tim Paine, who was omitted from the Tasmanian team last season for 19-year-old Jake Doran, all proved to be masterstrokes.
Credit must go to veteran England paceman James Anderson, who took 17 wickets at 27 in conditions that did not suit him. The 35-year-old put his hand up to play in the 2019 series in England and didn’t rule out returning to Australia in 2020 in the post-match media conference.
English skipper Joe Root’s summer went from bad to worse on Sunday when he was omitted to hospital for “severe dehydration”. The 27-year-old scored 378 runs at 47.25 this series, but failed to reach triple figures, which means his tour will be viewed as a failure as both a batsman and captain.
Both nations now turn their attention to One Day International cricket, with the first match of a five-game series to be played at the MCG on Sunday. As you’d expect, the Aussies are at $1.52 to begin with a win, England are $2.55.
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