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Ashes 2019 | Relentless Bowlers Deserve as Much Credit as Steve Smith: Ricky Ponting

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said on Sunday that the tourists' "relentless" bowlers deserve as much credit for retaining the Ashes as Steve Smith.

AFP |September 9, 2019, 10:43 AM IST
Ashes 2019 | Relentless Bowlers Deserve as Much Credit as Steve Smith: Ricky Ponting

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said on Sunday that the tourists' "relentless" bowlers deserve as much credit for retaining the Ashes as Steve Smith.

The world's top-ranked Test batsman, Smith has been in superb form this Ashes with 671 runs, including three hundreds, at an average of 134.20.

Smith made a commanding 211 in Australia's 185-run victory in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, a result that left them 2-1 up with just one to play ahead of next week's finale at The Oval.

But Ponting -- twice a losing Ashes series captain in England in 2005 and 2009 -- insisted the bowlers' efforts should not be ignored.

"I think they (Australia) should have had a bigger lead, not just on the back of Steve Smith," Ponting, one of the best batsmen of his generation, told Sky Sports.

"Everyone is talking about what impact he has had, but the whole bowling department has been absolutely outstanding. Look at the difference in the bowling attacks in this game.

"(Mitchell) Starc, (Pat) Cummins, (Josh) Hazlewood and (Nathan) Lyon, match that up with the England attack. There were more holes in that England attack than the Australia one.

"They were relentless in everything they did."

Meanwhile, ex-England skipper Nasser Hussain said Australia deserved to keep the Ashes.

That England took the game into the final hour of Sunday's last day before being dismissed for 197, having been none for two after Cummins took two wickets in two balls, said much about their resolve.

But Hussain, the last England captain to fail to win an Ashes series on home soil in 2001, said the hosts could have no complaints given they had lost the opener by 251 runs and then only drawn level thanks to Ben Stokes's stunning century that secured a one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley.

"There has been progress," said Hussain.

"You can't fault the character and resilience of this England side. Other England sides would have just crumbled in a heap.

"But the problem is they often find themselves 10 for 2, 20 for 2.

"Against certain sides you can come back from that, but from nought for two last night against this Australian attack, you can't come back from that."

"Let's be honest, if England had gone to The Oval at 1-1, I think it would have been a travesty," he added.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 Australia 4320 108
3 England 5253 105
4 New Zealand 3449 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5442 111
5 Australia 5854 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 6095 265
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 5248 262
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