5 reasons why Australia are Ashes favourites
A lot of drama, speculation, bad mouthing - the usual prelude to an Ashes contest was witnessed prior to the first test match at the Gabba in Brisbane.
And the match lived up to the hype and expectations as we got to witness a gritty, determined performance from the hosts, Australia which certainly outclassed the visiting English team.
After a tricky and tough first three days, Australia stamped their authority and went on to thump England and win the test match by 10 wickets.
Looking at what transpired at the Gabba and the fact that Australia as a team didn’t really fire on all cylinders, here’s looking at reasons why they can go on to win this Ashes series:
Steven ‘Stellar’ Smith’s batting and captaincy
Steven Smith walked out to bat in a rather tricky situation at the Gabba. With 3 quick wickets, England were right on top. It was then the Aussie skipper Smith showed what he’s made of.
A knock laced with solid technique, his trademark shots and more importantly his presence of mind and the match situation. He had to guide the team out of a messy situation and also guide Shaun Marsh to hang in with him and put pressure on the English bowlers.
This innings of 141 not out from 326 balls was filled with 14 boundaries, most of which were sublime, exquisite shots. In terms of the pressure and the match situation when he came in to bat, the value of his century only increases.
Australian great Ricky Ponting termed this knock from Smith as “stellar” and commendable and also went on to say that it will go down as one of the finest knocks played by an Australian captain in the history of Ashes. That pretty much sums up the brilliance of Smith’s batting performance.
Apart from that what was pleasing to see what how well he was able to utilise the bowlers. With Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon in the team, Smith after a long time had the luxury of having 4 quality match-winners at his disposal.
Although all the bowlers didn’t perform to the best of their abilities, his field placement showed that he wanted to attack the England batsmen and not allow them to settle. That confidence and positivity was carried on by the bowlers especially in the second innings where they dismissed England for a modest total of 195.
On a whole, if Steven Smith can continue the good work as a batsman and captain, then there’s nothing stopping Australia from defeating their arch-rivals to go on to win this Ashes series.