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Steve Smith, in the ongoing Ashes, must have heaved a huge sigh of relief after Jonny Bairstow chopped a Mitchell Starc delivery onto his stumps as Australia trounced England by 120 runs in the second Test at Adelaide to go two-nil up in the five-Test Ashes series.
Smith was under huge pressure after England fought back on the fourth day following his decision to not enforce a follow-on. England had bowled out the hosts for a paltry 138 and had finished day four on a promising 176 for 4 in pursuit of 354. David Saker, the Australia assistant coach, had also admitted that Smith’s decision not to enforce the follow-on had backfired.
“Steven has obviously made the decision that he felt the guys had bowled enough,” Saker had said after fourth day’s play. “In hindsight, we didn’t get an opportunity to bowl with the new ball under lights — that was our chance. Maybe we got it wrong. At the end of the Test match we will review that.
However, things changed pretty quickly on the final day as Australian bowlers took the remaining six wickets for just 57 runs to bundle the visitors for just 233 and fire Australia to a convincing 120-run win.
Speaking after the match, Smith admitted that he was a little nervous after the fourth day’s play. However, he had hope in his bowlers and had pinned his hopes on the second new ball.
“Was a little bit nervous last night but we always had the faith in the team. We thought if we got our lengths right today, things can happen quickly. We weren’t too far from the new ball, which was exciting. Credit to the boys for showing some character. It is a top class attack. Really proud of their achievements.,” he said.
He further lavished praise on Shaun Marsh who was adjudged the Man of the Match for scoring 126 not out in the first innings.
“Shaun was phenomenal. The way he played in the 1st innings after being sent in, I think it was an incredible hundred. I haven’t thought too much about the follow-on call. Would have had we lost. A lot of people have been asking that question (chuckles). Fortunately we won the game, so doesn’t make much of a difference now. Day-night Test cricket is a fantastic product. The support we had, here, was amazing. And the Barmy Army have been pretty amazing too. A terrific Test match,” he said.
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