Sydney - Captain Steve Smith has praised the collective
efforts of his "exceptional" four front-line bowlers for contributing
to Australia's crushing 4-0 Ashes series win over England Monday.
The Australians rounded off a dominant five-match series
with an innings and 123-run hammering of the beleaguered tourists on the final
day of the fifth Sydney Test.
Mitchell Starc, John Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and spinner
Nathan Lyon all finished with 20 or more wickets in the series to take 87 in
total to dominate the England batsmen.
Despite this, Smith was not prepared to rate them higher
than the quartet of Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Lyon who
bowled Australia to a 5-0 whitewash in the last Ashes series in Australia in
"I think all the bowlers did an exceptional job,"
he told reporters.
"Each of our bowlers have over 20 wickets which showed
that the guys have bowled together as a group, bowled in partnerships, bowled
for one another and helped us take the 80-odd wickets that we've needed to take
four Test matches."
But he stopped of declaring them a better bowling unit than
their predecessors four years ago.
"I think they are all great bowlers. I can't put any of
them ahead of each other," he said.
"I think both attacks were outstanding and got the job
done. I can't say any one is better than the other."
Cummins, who captured four for 39 to finish man-of-the-match
in Sydney, finished as the leading wicket-taker in the series with 23 at 24.65
and played in all five Tests.
Starc claimed 22 wickets at 23.54, Hazlewood 21 at 25.90 and
Lyon 21 at 29.23.
Lyon, the leading all-time Australian off-spinner, has now
taken 290 wickets at 31.64 in 74 Tests.
"Nathan has been exceptional with the way he's bowled
and the consistency he's had has been outstanding," Smith said.
"For me the moment that changed the whole series was
Nathan Lyon and his run out (James Vince on 83) at the Gabba, that was such a
huge moment in the series.
"Those sorts of plays can change a series and I think
that was a series-changing moment."
Smith, who was the undoubted man-of-the-series with 687 runs
including three centuries at 137.40, praised the entire team's input into the
"Everyone has had a role to play and had some impact on
this series," he said.
"That's what has been so special about it, it hasn't
just been one or two guys stepping up and doing the job. You can't really win
an Ashes series when that's the case.
"Looking at the series as a whole, England had their
foot in the door in most Test matches.
"But we just won the key moments in the games and
didn't let England back into the games, which was crucial. I was really pleased
that we were able to do that."