Steve Smith is far from satisfied with his ODI team despite them registering a first win of the series against England to leave the scoreline 3-1 with one match to play.
With the hosts losing seven wickets in pursuit of England’s 196, the Australian captain acknowledged that it was only a sensational bowling display – which had England 8/5 at one stage – and a standout knock from Travis Head (96), that saved Australia from a fourth straight defeat.
“It was nice to get over the line in the end,” Smith said after the match. “But a pretty ordinary batting display really, apart from Heady who played really well.
“The rest of us probably need to have a good, hard look at ourselves, start scoring some more runs and helping this team win some games.”
Smith himself was dismissed for 4, well caught at slip by Joe Root off Adil Rashid, and is yet to pass 45 so far this series. Other than Aaron Finch, who was injured for this match following two hundreds and a half-century in the first three, none of the Australian batting line-up have fully fired this summer.
The bowling was a happier talking point for Smith, who was delighted to see an improvement in results with the new-ball. England had got off to a flier in the previous three matches but at Adelaide four of the top six were out for ducks, as Pat Cummins (4/24) and Josh Hazlewood (3/39) bowled beautifully.
“It all happened pretty quickly for a moment there. The guys started really well – Paddy and Josh – it’s an area we’ve been trying to work on, our starts haven’t been as good as they could have been. Today I just thought they hit really good areas, challenged the defence of the England batters and took early wickets.”
England captain Eoin Morgan agreed that their start had cost his team the match.
“It’s the difference in the game today,” he said.
Australia win by three wickets on the back of their early bowling efforts and Travis Head's 96, but the chase was a lot closer than they might have liked! 😳— ICC (@ICC) January 26, 2018
Scores ➡️ https://t.co/i9SiSlksbv pic.twitter.com/pdnjbBfqXp
“I thought we fought really well with 190 on the board, to have Australia seven down was an outstanding effort, but to have lost five wickets in the first 10 overs and not having hit a boundary for the first 12 really emphasised how much there was in the wicket. Full credit to Australia, I thought they bowled really well, didn’t really give us anything to hit, it was quite relentless, and they thoroughly deserved to win today.”
The teams head to the brand-new Perth Stadium for the fifth and final ODI on Sunday.
“It’s exciting,” said Smith. “The first event at the new stadium, it feels like it’s been a long time coming. The stadium looks incredible so it’s going to be a great occasion for all of us.”