Ashes 2017/18: Steven Smith's surge propels Australia towards greatness
Steven Smith is fully aware about the importance of the Ashes. He has known that the legacies and perceptions of Australian cricketers are often formed by momentous performances against England. Smith’s captaincy reign may be nestling but his first Ashes outing as captain always appeared as a major acid test.
Even though they entered the series as favorites, Australia team had been unpredictable in recent times. An Ashes series loss could have definitely raised questions over Smith’s captaincy. However, he never let all the pressure of expectations affect his batting and went on to become the most impressive campaigner of the series with the bat.
Australia marked an emphatic Ashes victory with a decisive innings and 41 runs victory in the third test at the WACA. In doing so, they have taken an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the series. But the Australian team still need to address some of their flaws and rectify them. Victories in home assignments are expected. However, overseas challenges in the near future will be the real litmus test for their star players.
Pace firepower lifts Australia
For now, the Australian team seem to have a settled unit which can continue for a longer period from here. There are still several questions revolving around the various batting positions. But their bowling strength ensures that they always have the potential of taking 20 wickets in almost every match.
Smith recently opened up on the team’s bowling firepower and even paid tribute to the diligent preparation done by the bowlers in order to stay away from injuries. It has been an enriching sight for the skipper to see his three quick bowlers doing a fantastic job against the traditional rivals.
On a dramatic last day of in Perth, Australia’s impending triumph was in danger as play was delayed due to a wet pitch from heavy overnight rain. The final day's play started late. However, the Australian bowlers needed just 34.3 more overs to demolish England's frail batting lineup.
Smith admitted that he was worried about Perth’s unusually chilly weather. Fortunately for him as well as the hosts, rain relented at the right time to assist Australia's quest to regain the fabled Ashes urn.
With the Ashes now wrapped up, Australia will definitely want to continue their dominance over the visitors and complete yet another home whitewash. Skipper Smith is in firm control of the steering wheel and this a great sign for the Aussies to march towards the top most peak in Test cricket.