January 16, 2019

‘I won the Test’: Smith sticks to his guns over no-follow-on call

Related Story: Australia blitzes England to complete Adelaide win and take 2-0 Ashes leadRelated Story: As it happened: Australia goes 2-0 up in Ashes series with Adelaide victory

Australia leads the Ashes series 2-0 after two Tests, and still Steve Smith can't escape questions over his decision not to enforce the follow-on.

Smith's contentious decision not to put the boot on the visitors' collective neck by calling for the follow-on under lights on day three looked like it might come back to bite Australia when Joe Root led a stern but ultimately futile resistance that had England in sight of an unlikely victory.

But Smith insisted his decision was justified by the result, saying factors of bowler fatigue and even picking the right ball at the start of the day came into play.

"Look, I think it's a really long summer and I think a lot of the time people say [the pink ball] does a lot more at night," he told Grandstand.

"It probably does a little bit more but I think a lot of the time it's the ball you choose.

"As we saw from the ball we had today, it swung around from ball one. That first ball straightened down the line nicely. I think a lot of the time it's the ball you actually pick.

"That's going to be something that we're going to have to look at going forward, but there's been a lot of debate around it, and I've read so much about it, but in the end we won the Test match, and that's the main thing.

"I won the Test match, so you know, we'll cross that path when it comes around again."

External Link: Interview: Steve Smith

Sitting just one win away from reclaiming the Ashes with three Tests to play, Smith said England's woes were being compounded by the unique challenges on offer down under.

Australia's Steve Smith celebrates second Ashes Test win in Adelaide

"I still think [England have] got some quality players in their team, there's no doubt about that. But playing in Australia is a tough place to play," he said.

"When you're down 2-0, things can feel a lot bigger on you than they perhaps are.

"It's important for us to keep this momentum up in Perth. We've got a bit of a break now, a good chance for quicks to freshen up, batters to freshen up their minds, and come there ready to win this series in Perth."

Marsh's exemplary ton earns match honours

Shaun Marsh took home man-of-the-match honours after his anchor-role first-innings century that proved the difference between the two sides.

Shaun Marsh defends

Similar to Smith's century in Brisbane, the captain lauded Marsh's patient knock which ultimately took the game away from England.

"Outstanding. Obviously after being sent in on a day-one wicket, I thought it was probably at its best at that point in time, personally. But I thought he played exceptionally well," Smith said.

"He left really well, he was patient, and he put away the bad balls. That's batting, isn't it? He did it to a tee and I'm really proud of his performance."

Marsh came into the series under pressure to do well, and while his vital knock helped set up the win, he said there was still work to do.

"Obviously it was a fantastic feeling to score an Ashes hundred on my home soil in Adelaide in front of my dad, my wife and my little son was pretty special," Marsh told Grandstand.

"I've just got to keep working hard now and keep looking forward to Perth."

External Link: Interview: Shaun Marsh

He said it was a big celebration with family after his century.

"It was a little emotional — certainly it's been a fair bit of hard work over the last three or four months," he said.

"I've really tried to enjoy my cricket and go there and stay nice and relaxed. It seems to be working at the moment — I've just got to keep it going."

Shaun Marsh levitates after scoring a century in Adelaide

Marsh lost his Cricket Australia contract this year, but he said he had remained optimistic heading into this summer.

"I wasn't too sure. I never gave up hope, that's for sure," he said.

"I went away to England and played over there and really enjoyed my time over there.

"I came back and I didn't put too many expectations on myself, just tried to score as many runs for WA as I could, just went from there.

"I guess I'm nice and relaxed out there at the moment, and I'm having fun out there, and I feel like my feet are moving, which is the main thing.

"[I just need to] keep working hard and hopefully there's a few more runs out there."

External Link: Second Ashes Test scorecard

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