Smith shifts focus to team effort

The tourists’ 303 for eight in Hobart was their highest total in 20 one-day international innings, largely thanks to record-breaker Ian Bell’s superb 141, but Smith’s nerveless 102 not out in his first game as ODI skipper helped Australia home with a ball to spare.

England were partial authors of their own downfall, setting a wonderful platform of 244 for two having been sent in by Smith only to lose six wickets for 59 in the last 10 overs.

And Smith was quick to praise his bowlers as they limited England after a flying start.

“I think they came back really well there at the end,” he told Sports 2. “I don’t think we started very well, we probably gave a few too many boundaries away early on and I thought they fought back really well.

“I think they only went for six an over the last 20 overs so that was an outstanding effort on that wicket.”

He added: “It was nice to get home in the end, I thought the boys did well throughout the middle there when we got off to a good start with the bat.

“We just had to cruise through the middle there and know we could have gone hard at the end.”

Smith has now scored six centuries in his last nine matches in all formats and admits he is hopeful he can ride his good form into the World Cup.

“I’ll never forget this summer, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed it and while everything is going well I’ve just got to try to keep going.

“The game can turn pretty quickly on you so I’ve got to keep scoring runs while I’m going well.”

England captain Eoin Morgan echoed Smith’s sentiments that Australia’s bowlers stole the show at the end of the England innings and thought that was the key to his side’s downfall.

“It wasn’t a bad day in general,” he said. “We played good cricket in stages.

“Ian Bell played a magnificent role at the top of the order, showing his class and experience, but I think ultimately the last 10 overs let us down a bit.

“Credit to Australia, they bowled really well and took advantage of the reverse swing that was available.

“Today was their day, the last 10 overs especially. Looking at what the guys were facing towards the end was extremely difficult to set up to and their variations were pretty good.

“We got the ball reverse swinging but not for a long enough period of time, which hurt us as well.”

Australia are now through to the Tri-Series final and Morgan is hoping to join them.

“Ultimately it’s preparation for the World Cup,” he said. “Ideally we’d want to win the Tri-Series but there are certainly areas of our game that we are improving on and striving to get better at.”

Bell could not have done any more, scoring 15 fours and a six as he eclipsed Paul Collingwood’s career tally of 5,092 to become England’s top one-day run-scorer.

The opener scored an unbeaten 88 against India on Tuesday and racked up 187 against a Prime Minister’s XI last week.

“It’s been stop-start for me I suppose in my one-day career so it’s nice to have a couple of good games back-to-back here in this series,” he said.

“I’m really enjoying being at the top of the order where you get full value for shots here in Australia in particular. It’s been good fun.

“It’s obviously disappointing not to be on the right side tonight but this group of guys, we’re in a good place as a team and we’ll keep driving forward.

“I’m really pleased with personally how it’s gone and a few records, it’s great.”