Australia Complete Emphatic Series Victory | The Ashes | All Days - 5th Test | Jan 08 - 2018
By Stuart Garlick
In the scheme of things, this match wasn't so bad for England when you consider all that went before - from head-butts to drunken displays in Perth nightclubs - but while the touring side have shown fight in bars, they haven't been at the races in the Ashes when it came to the pitch. Who is to blame is a harder question, but it's probably accurate to talk about a perfect storm of difficult circumstances that led to this point.
Few observers before the series gave any credit to the possibility of any other result than an Australia series win - the home side had a massive advantage with genuinely fast bowlers who understood and could use the pitch and weather conditions to their advantage. Australia also had Steve Smith leading by example in taking the highest number of runs for a batsman in the tour, David Warner again being just the guy you want in a crisis, as he and Smith often put together winning partnerships, and Nathan Lyon being the latest leg-spinner to prove that experience is everything when it comes to attacking with slow balls.
In the fifth test, England wanted to redeem themselves after a miserable tour, and began solidly, Joe Root with 82 and Dawid Malan, the team's highest-scoring batsman of the series, on 63, and yet Root later fell ill and was unable to take his place at number four in the second innings, coming on later. Mason Crane, the young spinner, was given his debut, but it was more to blood him for the future, as his one wicket in unfamiliar conditions proved. Although Usman Khawaja's 171 was the performance of the match, Smith took Man of the Series after his soaring 682 runs in all matches, a phenomenal achievement. The captaincy, specifically, hasn't affected Root's game adversely - however there were extraneous issues that led to him looking distracted at times when at the crease. Smith, though, is in a class of his own, and this is his Ashes.