Steve Smith, Tim Paine quantify Australia’s Ashes achievement


Ashes-winning captain Tim Paine and player of the series Steve Smith reflected upon a disappointing defeat for Australia in the fifth and final Test of the series, but spoke jubilantly about the their country’s retention of the urn amid a spectacular series for cricket fans worldwide.

With the urn already in Australian hands going into the final Test at the Oval, both teams could’ve been forgiven for approaching the match with a lack of intensity, but fears were quickly allayed on day one of a pulsating encounter.

England eventually ran out victorious with a 135-run victory in four days, despite a heroic last stand by centurion Matthew Wade (117).

The result ensured Australia cannot claim to have won the series outright, but retain the Ashes due to their status as holders.

The undoubted star of the series was Aussie run-making metronome Steve Smith whose barely believeable average of 110.57 frustrated England at every turn.

Speaking upon the conclusion of the clash, player of the series Steve Smith said: “It’s been an amazing couple of months in England. The cricket’s been spectacular. The series has ebbed and flowed.

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“I’ve loved every minute and am proud to have been able to perform for Australia and bring the urn home.

“The middle of the wicket still played pretty well, and Wade applied himself, batted beautifully today. But England played terrific cricket.”

Matthew Wade PA

Despite an underwhelming personal performance with the bat, Australian captain Tim Paine achieved what Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke could not – returning Down Under with the Ashes on board the flight.

When quizzed on whether he had any regrets about how the fifth Test unfolded, Paine said: “Regrets? I’ve got a couple – to start with, the toss. We didn’t take our chances on day one, we didn’t back up our bowlers.

“England got ahead of the game. I can’t read a pitch so I’m always 50-50. We’ve got to bat, bowl better than we did in this Test match.

“No doubt today puts a dampener on it, but from where this group’s come from, to retain the Ashes is still a big deal.”

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