With the summer of cricket slowly reaching its conclusion for the 2017/18 season, Australia can take some confidence from their Test form, while improve on their dismal One Day form, and Steve Smith wants every part in fixing their woes in the shorter form of the game.
After a disappointing end to the series, suffering a 12-run defeat, he squashed reports that he should relinquish the role in the shorter form, telling cricket.com.au, “I’d like to keep taking this team forward and leading the boys and doing the best I can.”
The summer started with a bang, with the middle order keeping the high scores coming, with Steve Smith leading the pack, scoring 687 runs in The Ashes, at an astonishing average of 137.
In a gruelling match-up between both captains, with Smith and Joe Root being two of the top three batsmen in the world, the Aussie was too good on home soil, being the difference maker in the middle order, and Root being unable to capitalise on his solid starts in his innings.
Add this to the fact that Australia finished with nine centuries, and England just a disappointing three, the advantage was clearly with the Australians.
However, with a comprehensive tour thus far, and celebrations continuing with their dominant performances, Australia took the foot off the petal with the 50-over game.
With a new group rejuvenating the dressing room along with the many of the Australians still in the ODI squad, England were able to start fresh, and take the upper hand from the first delivery in Melbourne.
That same match-up, Root returned to a middle-order batsman with Eoin Morgan taking the reigns in the shorter form. Smith failed in each innings, failing to score a half-century in each game, while Root was able to notch up 226 runs, at an average just over 75.
It was clear, the effects of the Test summer was heavy, with David Warner, Smith and the strike bowlers looking fatigued and needing a break. Yet, while England took the series 4-1, Smith admits that while they need some work on the shorter form, that he will not give up the captaincy in the 50-over games.
“I’m happy leading these boys at the moment… Unfortunately I haven’t done well with the bat as I would have liked. Probably me and Dave as the senior players, haven’t stepped up,” Smith said.
Sunday’s matchup at the newly-opened Optus Stadium, painted the entire story for the Australian’s in the series.
Unable to capitalise in the opening spell, except for in Adelaide, each innings allowed the English middle-order big-hitters to have a green light at the end of the innings. While in the batting frame, unable to continue strong starts, and losing early wickets in the powerplay overs. Smith continued to explain, “We’ve got some strong boys that can clear the rope at will but we’re not getting ourselves in the positions to enable them to do that.”
Luckily for Smith and the strike bowling attack now, rest is priority as they have a short turnaround before a gruelling Tour of South Africa.
“A couple of weeks off now to I guess refresh, recharge and get myself ready for what’s [going to be] a challenging South African tour,” Smith added.
The tour of South Africa will begin on 1 March 2018, with the First Test at Kingsmead, Durban.