Legendary Ricky Ponting said on Sunday that the tourists’ “relentless” bowlers deserve as much credit for retaining the Ashes as Steve Smith.
The world’s top-ranked Test batsman, Smith has been in superb form this Ashes with 671 runs, including three hundreds, at an average of 134.20.
But Ponting – twice a losing Ashes series captain in England in 2005 and 2009 – insisted the bowlers’ efforts should not be ignored.
“I think they (Australia) should have had a bigger lead, not just on the back of Steve Smith,” Ponting, one of the best batsmen of his generation, told Sky Sports.
“Everyone is talking about what impact he has had, but the whole bowling department has been absolutely outstanding. Look at the difference in the bowling attacks in this game.
“(Mitchell) Starc, (Pat) Cummins, (Josh) Hazlewood and (Nathan) Lyon, match that up with the England attack. There were more holes in that England attack than the Australia one.
“They were relentless in everything they did.”
Meanwhile, ex-England skipper Nasser Hussain said Australia deserved to keep the Ashes.
“You can’t fault the character and resilience of this England side. Other England sides would have just crumbled in a heap.
“But the problem is they often find themselves 10 for 2, 20 for 2.
“Against certain sides you can come back from that, but from nought for two last night against this Australian attack, you can’t come back from that.”