Joe Root's absence and a Man of the Match performance from Pat Cummins helped Australia seal the Ashes 4-0 with an innings victory at the SCG. Once Root was struck down by dehydration, the result was all but a given and Pat Cummins swept off any doubts when he had Johnny Bairstow and Stuart Broad in the same over.
Steven Smith's Ashes came to an end on the fifth day at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The flamboyant and flair-oozing Aussie skipper was at his marauding best in the series, racking up 687 runs in 5 matches at an average of 137.40 with two hundreds, a double-hundred and a further two half-centuries.
It was safe to say that one man had dumped all hopes of the tourists into the abyss with his insane ability and hunger for runs. Not once did the Aussie skipper appear flustered or flushed at the crease and his overpowering presence at the wicket played a huge role in England ultimately succumbing. He was rightly adjudged the Player of the Series.
Australia continued to humiliate England in home Tests and regained the Ashes pompously with a 4-0 drubbing completed on the final day of the series at the SCG. With Joe Root down and out, Australia had a fairly easy task in front of them and Pat Cummins ensured that there was no coming back for the visitors when he sent Johnny Bairstow on his way.
The lower order was destroyed and although James Anderson and Tom Curran hung along for a while, Hazlewood completed the last scalp (Joe Root did not come out to bat) and England succumbed to an innings defeat to finish a rather poor series for them.
With Joe Root out sick, Australia had an avenue to channelize their attack and did so via Pat Cummins. The speedy pacer, at his very best this series, ripped apart England's lower order in no time. He sent England's hopes spiralling down when he had Johnny Bairstow trapped in front after a 143 ball stonewalling from the keeper.
He wasn't done and struck two balls later when a snorter of a bouncer to Stuart Broad. The tall left-hander had no idea how to sway out of this one and promptly gloves through to the keeper. Another sharp bumper saw Mason Crane caught behind and he even used up a review when he had clearly gloved the ball to the keeper.
Having walked out to bat first up on day 5, replacing a dehydrated Joe Root, Moeen Ali knew his job was to stonewall with Bairstow. He did that for 43 balls before Nathan Lyon, his nemesis, came around the wicket to trap him in front with a straighter ball.
Ali would be kicking himself for getting out to Lyon yet another time, his seventh in the series in nine attempts. The stat shows the kind of dominance his opposite number has had on him in this Test series. Ali hasn't bowled particularly well either and the series marks a new low for the England all-rounder.
Joe Root had remained unbeaten overnight alongside Johnny Bairstow but when England walked out to bat on the fifth day, it was Moeen Ali giving the wicket-keeper batsman company. Root had suffered from dehydration and was in the hospital, arriving just before the start of play on the fifth day.
When Ali was dismissed, the Yorkshire man walked out to a large round of applause in the stadium, one which was eerily reminiscent of Graeme Smith walking out to bat with a broken arm to face Mitchell Johnson. Root and Bairstow withstood everything thrown at them before the post-lunch session saw Tom Curran coming out with Johnny Bairstow because Root was unwell again. The visiting skipper had a dreadful final day of the Test series as his side succumbed to a 4-0 drubbing.
The 3-match T20I series between Australia and Sri Lanka drew a lot of criticism for its scheduling. With Australia slated to play India (in India) on the 22nd of February (1st Test), this series started on the 17th of February. Thus, with the Test team already in India, the Australian selectors picked a second string for the T20I series against Sri Lanka.
Despite all the criticism the series got, it produced one of the best T20I matches this year. Sri Lanka managed to sneak a win on the last ball (chasing 169) at the MCG in the first T20I to gain a 1-0 lead.