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Sublime Smith the star as selectors get it right in the Ashes

Most things went right for Australia in the Ashes as Steve Smith's form was red hot and the selectors' gambles paid off.

NEWS
08 Jan 2018, 22:51 IST
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SteveSmith - Cropped
Australia captain Steve Smith

Steve Smith was so impeccable during the Ashes that he drew comparisons to the one and only Sir Donald Bradman, while Australia's selectors were handsomely rewarded.

The Australia captain spoke about his team's contribution across the board after their 4-0 series success against England on Monday.

While that may have been the case with the hosts' fine bowling attack, the batting effort was dominated by Smith.

The right-hander looked untouchable for the majority of the series, finishing with 687 runs at an average of 137.40.

Among that were three centuries, including a 239 in the third Test in Perth, where Australia reclaimed the urn.

Smith set the tone in Brisbane when he made an unbeaten 141 after coming to the crease with his team 30-2.

The 28-year-old had seven innings during the series and only once – in the first dig in Melbourne – did he stride to the crease with 100 already on the board.

While the Marsh brothers each made two centuries and David Warner and Usman Khawaja contributed one each, Australia's batting was built around Smith.

Just how good he, and the rest of the line-up, truly are is sure to come under greater examination in South Africa in March and April.

As with England, there were plenty of questions around Australia heading into the series as selectors took chances on Cameron Bancroft, Shaun Marsh, wicketkeeper Tim Paine and later Mitchell Marsh.

Bancroft aside, the oft-criticised Australia selectors were more than vindicated in their choices.

Only Smith scored more runs than Shaun Marsh (445 at 74.16) during the Ashes, while younger brother Mitchell averaged 106.66 in three Tests after replacing Peter Handscomb.

Paine was picked for his glovework and it proved to be a good decision, while he chipped in with 192 runs at 48.

While the tourists had their opportunities, they either gave them up or were undone in key moments, while Australia's relentless bowling attack was a class above.

Pat Cummins (23), Mitchell Starc (22), Josh Hazlewood (21) and Nathan Lyon (21) all took at least 20 wickets.

Often injured in the past, Cummins enjoyed a breakthrough series as he lived up to his potential, while he also proved to be a handy contributor with the bat.

This was a series where most things went right for Australia, led by a captain in irresistible form.

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