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Australia reignites to regain the Ashes 

Australia rose to the occasion to clinch the Ashes and looks well set to win the fifth test as well.

CONTRIBUTOR
05 Jan 2018, 08:00 IST
48

<p>Smith clears Ashes litmus with a splendid double century</p><p>C
Steve Smith clears Ashes litmus test with a splendid double century

With the Ashes surrendered, England would look to secure a consolation win in the final clash in Sydney.

Having clinched the series, the Australian team looks set to embark on emulating the Invincibles by repeating their past glory and will certainly look to deny a consolation victory to England.

Historical context of Ashes

Cricket is the national game of both these countries, but there is a stark difference in their approaches: Australia is more ruthless, while England still tries to cling to its old-school method. Both sides boast of some big names in world cricket.

Retrospectively, England would have wanted Ben Stokes as part of their playing eleven, as they have been found wanting in the all-rounder’s absence.

After their dominance from 1989 to 2003, Australia lost five of the seven Ashes series played between 2005 and 2015. But they managed two whitewashes in the period nevertheless.

What happened in this series?

Without an established opening pair and a dizzy middle order, Smith would have found it encumbering to fight the Ashes purely on the strength of his batting and the team’s bowling firepower.

In the end, though, it was a showcase of his determination and excellent test match batting that completely overpowered England and put them on the mat. Going into the series, Steve Smith and Darren Lehmann would have mulled on from where the runs would come than on who would pick the wickets. While David Warner was expected to fire, it was delightful to see centuries from the Marsh brothers and consistent contribution from Pat Cummins.

An Ashes contest always creates and stubs careers. This Ashes seems to have made Cummins a genuine world-class all-rounder. He has suffered a string of injuries since his debut in 2011 against South Africa but now looks well set for a long haul.

Cummins has become part of a formidable pace bowling unit along with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. Not only is Australia’s pace battery fully charged, in Nathan Lyon, they have a top-class off-spinner too.

Who will win the final test?

Australia will be the favorite to win this match as well. They would want more to come from Cameron Bancroft and Usman Khawaja to reduce the burden on Warner and Smith, however. Smith would want to crush England and win 4-0 before they go into the ODI series. His own thumping performance supports the theory that England has not yet figured out his weakness.

It will be Day 2 in Sydney when this gets posted. You must have already seen the evidence of yet another test match of Australian dominance. But, spare a thought for the Barmy Army and the other English cricket fans, who would also want to taste some success on this tour.

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