Australian captain Tim Paine eulogises Steve Smith, by describing him as the best cricketer he has ever seen.
Paine’s statement came after Australia’s 185 runs triumph over the world champions in the fourth Ashes Test. The win also saw the Aussies retain the Ashes.
"He is pretty handy, I won't lie. He is the best player I have ever seen. Obviously his 200 was phenomenal but yesterday to push the game forward put England under pressure. He has got a lot of courage to take teams on," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Paine as saying.
Steve Smith, who cumulated 82 runs in the second innings of the fourth Ashes Test, has been brilliant throughout the series. The 30 year old amassed 671 runs and also became the second fastest batsman to 26 Test hundreds.
In the first innings of the game, Smith went on to smash a double century, helping Australia to put up 497 on the score board. The Aussies then wraped England for 301 to secure a lead of 196 runs. In the second innings, the Aussies were at 44/4, but Steve Smith’s crucial 82 runs allowed Australia to declare at 186/6, setting a target of 383 runs.
Tim Paine also contributed in the second innings as he knocked a fifty, he became the first skipper to retain the Ashes in England after Steve Waugh in 2001.
The world champions were finally wrapped up for 197 in the fourth innings. Pat Cummins was the highest wicket taker as he claimed four wicket.
"It is a very funny game. Even half an hour ago (during England's ninth-wicket stand) I was thinking I should have taken that job. I am really humbled to come here as captain and do something really special. We will enjoy tonight but we came here to win them, not just to retain them. We would love to be 3-1 up when we hold the urn aloft," Paine said.
"I am pretty pumped. This team has been through a lot in the last 12-18 months. Some individuals more than others. The character we have shown to bounce back, even from Headingley last week, shows a lot about the quality of the people," he added.
Australia currently has a 2-1 lead in the Ashes series with one match left in hand, Australia and England will go face to face with each other in the last Test, from September 12th at the Oval.