SWEAT: England's Joe Root struggled to cope with the heat out in the middle during the Sydney Test.
SWEAT: England's Joe Root struggled to cope with the heat out in the middle during the Sydney Test. Rick Rycroft

Captain Smith leads by example in Ashes thumping

IT'S HARD to believe the Ashes has been and gone for another year, but looking back, it has been a very enjoyable series, even in spite of the lopsided final result.

This Australian side showed qualities that I haven't seen in an Australian team for a good decade or more.

My mind turns back to Queensland election day. I was standing in the bar of the Aussie Nash Hotel on the morning of the third day at the Gabba.

We were sneaking in a few cheeky schooners before heading into the game, which was still very much in the balance.

Smith and Marsh were in, but before we got to the ground, Marsh got out and Paine and Starc weren't far behind.

Australia still had a way to go at that point, but England still had to get through Smith, and a certain Pat Cummins, before they could be confident of a first innings lead.

Of course, like a lot of English plans this summer, it didn't eventuate.

Pat Cummins looked like a proper all-rounder and made a solid 40, while Smith went on to make a big ton that would set the tone for the remainder of the series.

From the time Steve Smith led that fightback, Australia has not looked like losing this one.

As much as we all want a good contest with the old enemy, it's just as satisfying to sit back and watch our boys smash the Poms.

The challenge for this unit of players will be to now take that confidence and quality into their overseas tours.

Stop your bellyaching

JOE Root's well-publicised tummy troubles in Sydney led to a chorus of whining from the safety-first brigade, who argued that play should have been stopped due to the extreme heat.

What this band of pitiful online commenting wowsers failed to acknowledge in their diatribe was that there were 21 other perfectly fit and professional sportsmen out there playing in the same conditions.

We all know the Poms have trouble dealing with anything over 25 degrees Celsius, so I thought it was admirable the way Joe stuck it out as long as he could in that heat, despite it being exacerbated by his illness.

At the same time, I think those people arguing that play should have been abandoned need to realise that there is a reason us average folk admire the elite sportsmen and women of the world, and that is because of their ability to battle on through difficult situations.

That's why they get paid the big bucks.