Rashid Khan entered the history books as the first player picked in the draft for the inaugural season of The Hundred, while Andre Russell was snapped up but Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga went unsigned.

Afghanistan spinner Rashid, the ICC's top-ranked Twenty20 bowler, was selected in the top-tier £125,000 bracket by the Trent Rockets to join a team that also includes England Test captain Joe Root, Alex Hales and Australia big-hitter D'Arcy Short.

West Indies' electric all-rounder Andre Russell was the second man chosen and is bound for the Southern Brave, where Australia slogger David Warner and England's lightning paceman Jofra Archer are among his team-mates.

"I'm feeling good, I was nervous before, it's the first time being in the draft in this competition," Russell said. 

"I've got a lot to offer, a 100 ball [format] is definitely see ball, hit ball. I don't have to worry about my head [with Archer as a team-mate]. He's a great character. 

"I will try to just bowl faster than him."

Windies legend Gayle and veteran Sri Lanka quick Malinga will not be involved in the tournament, which starts in July next year, after their reserve prices were not met.

Welsh Fire selected world-class Australian quality with the menacing Mitchell Starc and superstar batsman Steve Smith joining England international Jonny Bairstow.

Northern Superchargers coach Darren Lehmann went with Australian familiarity by selecting Aaron Finch and Chris Lynn. 

Lehmann also chose Mujeeb Ur Rahman for a team that already has England's Cricket World Cup hero Ben Stokes.

Glenn Maxwell, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Amir and Mark Wood link up with Eoin Morgan – who skippered England to World Cup glory – at London Spirit, while classy New Zealand star Kane Williamson and Ravi Bopara are headed to the Birmingham Phoenix.

Manchester Originals landed Imran Tahir for their top-bracket selection, while Sunil Narine offers spin and top-order explosiveness for the Oval Invincibles.

Rugby league is leading the way when it comes to assessing and treating head injuries in sport, according to St Helens' Alex Walmsley.

Walmsley is set to feature for Saints as they take on Salford Red Devils in Saturday's Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, while he is also in line to tour New Zealand and Papua New Guinea with Great Britain Lions.

It marks a remarkable comeback for Walmsley, who broke his neck in March 2018 while in action for Saints.

Concussion protocols have been in the spotlight in 2019, with Australia cricketer Steve Smith missing the third Ashes Test against England after he was struck by a Jofra Archer delivery. In rugby union, it has been suggested 10 minutes is not enough for a head injury assessment.

Though he believes rugby league is at the forefront of tackling the stigma surrounding head injuries, Walmsley acknowledged there is still plenty of work to be done.

"I didn't know I'd broken my neck but there was a gut instinct where I knew I'd done something which meant I shouldn't play on," Walmsley told Omnisport.

"With the head injury as well, it forced our hand to get me off the pitch.

"You look at Steve Smith and how devastated he was but we're not just sportsmen. We get tagged with how we should put our bodies on the line, but a lot of us are family men, we've got partners and kids and I think the most important thing to do after a game is you see your family.

"The way [rugby league] has gone, with the doctors in place and the head [injury] protocols, we're making sure that's right.

"There was a time when you'd be considered soft or weak if you came off with a concussion or head injury, you'd be expected to crack on. We're tough men who play a physical game but ultimately, regardless of the sport, if you've got a head issue we need to make sure we're safe and our sport is at the front of that."

Walmsley claimed the psychological aspect of his rehabilitation was the toughest hurdle to overcome, but to be on the verge of a Grand Final and a Lions tour has left him in no doubt he made the right decision in returning to rugby.

"It was a mental battle as much as it was a physical battle," said the 29-year-old, who has made 22 league appearances this term.

"Not only getting back into a position where I was right to play again but being confident in my body. That was a tough battle, there was a lot of tough conversations to be had, mainly in my own head, about what I was going to do and was it worth it.

"Thankfully I came to the decision where I knew my body was right. To get back playing, it makes those times all worthwhile."

 

Alex Walmsley is working with Dacia on their We Make Heroes campaign, celebrating understated heroes throughout Rugby League. To find out more, visit Dacia.com.

Maybe Steve Smith is human after all? He proved England's nemesis throughout the Ashes, but Australia's talisman suffered a rare failure at the crease in a Sheffield Shield match on Thursday.

Making his first appearance in the Shield since leading the way with 774 runs as Australia retained the Ashes, Smith was dismissed for a duck at the Gabba in New South Wales' encounter with Queensland.

Coming in at 12-1 to partner David Warner, who endured an altogether different series in England, Smith was sent back to the pavilion without scoring from five balls when he flashed at a Cameron Gannon delivery.

Gannon dropped short and wide of off-stump but Smith failed to capitalise, sending an edge to Joe Burns at second slip.

It left New South Wales 14-2, with Moises Henriques losing his wicket two overs later having also failed to trouble the scorers.

With assistance from Nick Larkin, Warner (27 not out) managed to steady the ship and New South Wales ended day one on 50-3, 103 runs shy of Queensland's 153 all out.

Australia’s Ashes hero Steve Smith is ready to return to cricket after a much-needed break since returning home from England.

The batsman was a pivotal figure as Australia retained the Ashes with a 2-2 draw in England this European summer, having compiled 774 runs across four Tests for the Baggy Green.

Focus now turns to the Australian summer, with T20 series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka over the next month, and Smith says he feels refreshed after shaking off fatigue from the Ashes campaign.

"It was probably a bit of everything: mental, emotional, physical," Smith told reporters at Sydney Airport.

"Towards the last Test match it got to day two and my mind was saying 'keep going', but my body had shut down and wouldn't let me do anything.

"I was a little bit sick after that. I've had a good couple of weeks just to lay low. I just got back into things over the past week.

"I've had three hits now. That will be enough to be ready to go for this first Shield game."

Smith will make his first appearance in domestic first-class cricket since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal when NSW face Queensland in Thursday’s Sheffield Shield clash at the GABBA.

Our #SheffieldShield squad for our season opener against Queensland at the Gabba starting tomorrow! 

? https://t.co/4LZpCormJN #QLDvNSW pic.twitter.com/DgDLE7zmIV

— NSW Blues (@CricketNSWBlues) October 9, 2019

Questions have already been posed regarding the possibility of Smith captaining the Australia side again, with his leadership ban set to expire in 2020, but the 30-year-old played down speculation and praised the work of current skipper Tim Paine.

"I'm not even thinking about that at the moment," Smith said.

"I was pretty chilled out the whole time (in England). I'm obviously pretty intense when I am out there batting but I help out wherever I can.

"I don't want to sit back and not say something if I think it might help us. We will cross that bridge later if it comes. At the moment I am comfortable and Tim is doing a great job."

Smith is expected to make a domestic return to Test action in November when Australia host Pakistan in a three-match series.

Australia stars Steve Smith and David Warner have returned to the Twenty20 fold for back-to-back three-game series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Smith and Warner have already made Test and ODI comebacks following their year-long ball-tampering bans, however, the duo are back in the T20 setup for the first time since the infamous saga.

Australia named their 14-man squad on Tuesday, with an eye on the ICC T20 World Cup, which the country will host in October next year.

While Smith and Warner headline a squad captained by Aaron Finch, Australia have axed all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and overlooked big-hitting batsmen Chris Lynn and D'Arcy Short for the series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which gets underway in Adelaide on October 27.

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins will lead Australia's pace attack that also includes Billy Stanlake, while leg-spinner Adam Zampa retains his place as star Nathan Lyon continues to battle an ankle problem following the Ashes.

"It is almost a year to the day until Australia hosts the men's Twenty20 World Cup and we have selected this squad with that in mind," national selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement.

"We have looked to put a squad together that we think can take us through to that tournament. The squad we have selected is quite role specific and we believe it gives us the flexibility to thrive in all match conditions."

Hohns added: "In terms of batsmen, we have selected top and middle-order specialists. The likes of Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner and Carey provide us excellent options through the middle-order after Finch, Warner and Smith.

"In terms of spinners, we feel like the all-round package Ashton Agar possesses is irresistible at the moment and Adam Zampa has proven to be a very good T20 bowler in all conditions.

"We're also confident in the potency and flexibility of our fast bowling group. Mitchell Starc gives us a left-arm option and has earned a reputation as one of the world's leading quicks at the top of the innings and at the death.

"Pat Cummins is a world-class right-arm option and has been in superb form of late. Andrew Tye is a wicket-taking proposition, Billy Stanlake has the X-factor and Kane Richardson has been an excellent short-form player for some time now."

Australia will face Sri Lanka on October 27, 30 and November 1 before meeting Pakistan on November 3, 5 and 8.

 

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) once had Twenty20 vision to realise the potential for a new, shorter format to be added to the county structure.

What was set up as a method to attract a younger audience has become a global success worth millions, with T20 competitions springing up around the world - and not just traditional cricket-playing nations, either.

However, the ECB has decided the time is right to embrace change again. In 2020, the English game will see The Hundred come into existence.

Here, we attempt to answer some key questions about the tournament, including the teams involved, the players who are primed to play in it and where the games will take place.


The Hundred - what exactly is it?

A new concept for cricket in England that involves eight teams. A game will have two innings of 100 deliveries each (the clue is in the name).

There will be a change of end after 10 balls, rather than the usual six. Bowlers can send down five or 10 consecutive balls, while they are limited to 20 in the match. As for the powerplay, that will span 25 deliveries and a maximum of two fielders will be allowed outside the inner circle during that period of play.

It's cricket - just not as we know it.


And when will this take place?

From July 17 to August 16. The schedule – which runs during the school holidays in England – will see the teams play each other once, while each side will take on a 'rival' opponent both home and away, taking the total number of group games for each up to eight.

The top three in the table will then progress through to finals day, where second will play third in a semi-final to decide who will face the top seeds for the title.


What about the names and locations of the teams?

Well, the identities will be announced on Thursday at the initial draft. However, we do at least know the locations.

The 18 first-class counties have been grouped together in catchment areas based around international venues, two of which are situated in London. The full list is as follows (in alphabetical order):

- Birmingham (Warwickshire and Worcestershire - to play at Edgbaston)
- Cardiff (Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and Somerset - to play at Sophia Gardens)
- Leeds (Yorkshire and Durham - to play at Headingley)
- London (Middlesex, Essex, and Northamptonshire - to play at Lord's)
- London (Surrey and Kent - to plat at The Oval)
- Manchester (Lancashire - to play at Old Trafford)
- Nottingham (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire - to play at Trent Bridge)
- Southampton (Hampshire and Sussex - to play at the Rose Bowl)


Will England players be appearing in it?

Absolutely! That includes their Test players too, albeit only for a limited stretch due to a home series against Pakistan, which starts on July 30.

The 10 individuals who were handed red-ball contracts for the 2019-20 season are not guaranteed to play for their 'home' teams, however.  Each roster will have at least one Test representative, with the chance to choose from the options available from their counties. However, Cardiff and the London franchise based at Lord's have no red-ball options tied to them.

Those with multiple options will have to make a choice on Thursday at the initial draft.

For example, if Leeds opt for all-rounder Ben Stokes (and why wouldn't they?), it means Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root could end up elsewhere, though if they are not chosen by another team, they will automatically be added to their original team's roster.

As well as Test stars, the teams will have the opportunity to announce two 'icon' players from their catchment, which will also be revealed on Thursday.

This is likely to be when some of the England squad who won the Cricket World Cup on home soil earlier this year will find out whether they will be staying close to home. However, there also could be some lesser-known names - at least globally - rewarded for their T20 performances at county level.


How many players on each team, and what about international signings?

There will be 15-man rosters for the teams to work with, which will be filled out during a further player draft on October 20.

Organisers has revealed some of the registered players already, with the list including World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan and England team-mate Moeen Ali.

Australia duo Steve Smith and David Warner will also be involved, along with Pakistan batsman Babar Azam, South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock and Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan. Oh, and the evergreen Chris Gayle, of course. It would not be a white-ball event without the 'Universe Boss'...

Do not, however, get excited about the prospect of seeing Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma playing. India's current internationals are not set to be involved.


So how does the second player draft work, then?

A draw will decide the order for what will be a snake draft later in the month, meaning positions will be reversed in alternate rounds. Therefore, if you are up first in round one, you will be last second time around.

Each team must pick two players from seven set salary bands, which range from £30,000 to £125,000. Captains, by the way, get a £10,000 bonus.

Players have chosen their own reserve price, meaning they may pitch themselves out of the draft. Still, the biggest names will expect to earn the big money.

A team can pick three overseas recruits and, just prior to the tournament, will complete their 15-man line-ups by adding a wildcard - most likely an individual who impressed in the domestic T20 Blast earlier in the same season.

Cricket World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan, Ashes hero Steve Smith and West Indies superstar Chris Gayle have all made themselves available for The Hundred player draft later this month.

The new 100-ball competition begins next year, with the eight teams set to pick the England centrally contracted Test players they want to select on October 3.

A draft will follow 17 days later, with England's victorious skipper Morgan entering that alongside a host of premier international players.

Smith, who plundered 774 runs in the Ashes at an average of 110.57, will have a strong case for being selected early as an extremely accomplished batsman in all three major formats.

Gayle is another considerably talented player set to feature in the inaugural competition, as is the world's best ODI all-rounder, Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan, who was the third-highest run scorer at the Cricket World Cup behind Rohit Sharma and David Warner.

Teams will also be able to bid for the services of Warner, along with the likes of Babar Azam - the world's best T20 batsman - Rashid Khan, Quinton de Kock and Moeen Ali.

Players have the opportunity to select a minimum salary at which they will agree to play for a team. Each side is able to pick up two players in each of the seven salary bands, the highest being £125,000.

The Hundred starts on July 17, 2019 and runs until August 16.

The Ashes battle is over for this year - England fought hard and made sure they avoided a series defeat on home soil, but a 2-2 result sees Australia retain the urn.

Steve Smith was the catalyst for triumphs at Edgbaston and Old Trafford but, in the main, ball dominated bat.

Pitches offered some assistance to the two high-quality seam attacks and with the English weather occasionally getting involved, there was rarely a dull moment across the five matches between the old rivals.

After the first drawn series since 1972, we have picked some of the notable numbers from Opta...

 

2 - In making scores of 144 and 142 in the opening Test in Birmingham, Smith became the fifth player to record two centuries in the same Ashes Test.

4 - Nathan Lyon is just the fourth Australian bowler to reach 350 Test wickets. He moved above Dennis Lillee into third place on the all-time list for his country, with just Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne now above him.

5 - With victory at The Oval, England are still unbeaten in a Test series on home soil since June 2014. Sri Lanka were the last visiting team to prevail, recording a 1-0 triumph under Angelo Mathews.

7 - Stuart Broad dominated his personal duel with David Warner, dismissing the Australia opener seven times while conceding just 35 runs against him.

8 - England's eight-match unbeaten streak in Tests at Edgbaston came to an end; the last time they had previously tasted defeat at the venue was in 2008 (against South Africa).

10 - An impressive run of successive half-centuries in Ashes games for Smith came to an end in his final knock of the series. The right-hander was caught at leg slip off the bowling of Broad for 23 in the fifth Test.

16 - Broad got more left-handers out than anyone else (16); he averaged just 13.7 against them, compared to 56.3 against right-handed batsmen. 

20 - England had played 20 successive Tests without a draw before the game at Lord's, where rain wiped out the entire first day's play of the second Test.

29 - Pat Cummins set an unusual record - his tally of wickets is the most in a Test series by a bowler without claiming a five-for in any innings.

135 - Ben Stokes posted his highest Test score against Australia with an unforgettable match-winning knock at Headingley that included eight sixes.

390 - Left-hander Rory Burns was easily the top-scoring opener for either team. Australia's trio of David Warner (95 runs), Marcus Harris (58 runs) and Cameron Bancroft (44 runs) all struggled for the visitors.

Steve Smith certainly produced some eye-catching performances for Australia during the 2019 Ashes.

The world's top-ranked batsman in the longest format excelled in the five-match series, contributing 774 runs at an average of 110.57, including a double century in the fourth Test.

His fabulous knock of 211 laid the foundations for an Australia victory at Old Trafford – a result that put them 2-1 up in the series and, with just one game left to play, made sure they were certain to retain the urn.

Smith donned a pair of spectacles in the celebrations in Manchester, though the choice of eyewear was not mocking England's glasses-wearing spinner Jack Leach, as was initially thought.

Photographer Ryan Pierse, who captured the moment during Australia's post-match party, tweeted that, rather than poking fun at Leach – a cult hero with England fans after making one not out in the dramatic conclusion to the third Test – the ex-Australia captain was actually referencing former team-mate Chris Rogers.

And there was certainly no ill-feeling between Smith and Leach as they shared a drink after the series finale at The Oval on Sunday, with a picture on Twitter capturing the pair arm in arm while both wearing glasses.

"An all-time great – and Steve Smith," England's official account tweeted, along with a winking face emoji.

"Congratulations on an incredible #Ashes series @stevesmith49. Leachy loves the glasses."

After keeping Ben Stokes company to steer England to an unlikely one-wicket win at Headingley, Leach returned to the pitch after proceedings to recreate the single that had levelled the scores.

So, will Leach and Smith get to see each other again in the next Ashes? We will have to wait until 2021 to find out...
 

The 2019 Ashes certainly lived up to the pre-series hype.

England and Australia had no shortage of talent on display but also glaring holes in both sides were exposed over the course of five intriguing battles that provided plenty of twists and turns.

There were brilliant exhibitions of fast bowling. There were centuries (thanks largely to Steve Smith!). There was a fairy-tale finish for the ages, too, but in the end no outright winner.

Australia retained the Ashes but England's victory at The Oval in the fifth and final chapter means a 2-2 result, the first series draw between the rivals since 1972.

Here, Omnisport picks out the key moments as we recap each Test.

 

AUSTRALIA EIGHT DOWN, ANDERSON OUT

Tim Paine’s decision to bat first in the series opener appeared foolish when his side slipped to 122-8 on the opening day Edgbaston. Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes did the damage, but James Anderson was only able to bowl four overs before leaving the field.

His absence was keenly felt as, with Smith beginning his one-man crusade against the England attack, Australia’s last two wickets added 166 runs. Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon showed the supposed batsmen how it should be done in bowler-friendly conditions, supporting their former captain, who finished up with 144 as a potentially disastrous first innings was transformed into a competitive total.

Anderson, meanwhile, only appeared again in the game to bat due to a calf problem. He attempted a comeback in time to play at his home ground of Old Trafford later in the series, but a setback on second XI duty for Lancashire scuppered that plan, meaning England's all-time leading wicket-taker in the longest format sent down just 24 deliveries against Australia.

 

ARCHER MAKES AN INSTANT IMPACT 

With Anderson out, England handed a debut to Jofra Archer for the second Test at Lord's. The pace bowler had been a key component of the one-day squad that won the Cricket World Cup on home soil earlier in the year but warned the public not to expect "miracles" in his Test bow.

There was no miracle – Archer was not quite able to bowl England to victory in the final session of a game that had seen the entire first day wiped out by rain – but his performance caused quite a stir.

He claimed five wickets in the match, struck down Smith with a seriously quick bouncer when the batsman was seemingly on course for a third successive triple-figure knock and, subsequently, played his part in Test history as the first concussion substitute was used. Marnus Labuschagne was laid low by a delivery from Archer too, yet beat the count to carry on batting and make a crucial half-century to secure a draw.

 

HEADINGLEY MIRACLE - VOL II

At a venue where Ian Botham famously salvaged a seemingly lost cause to secure an unlikely Ashes victory in the 1981 series, Ben Stokes produced a performance at Headingley that will see him forever remembered in crick folklore.

Bowled out for just 67 in their first innings, England's valiant bid to reach a tough victory target of 359 appeared set to fall short when they slipped from 245-4 to 286-9 on the fourth afternoon. Yet Stokes refused to give in, choosing to go on the attack with a display of hitting that, with each boundary, raised the possibility of a stunning result.

The left-hander made 135 not out with eight sixes to drag his team over the line, aided by last-man Jack Leach surviving 17 balls and contributing a quick single that turned him into a cult hero. Australia failed to remain composed amid the carnage, wasting their final review and butchering a run-out chance when Lyon somehow fumbled a tame throw to the bowler's end.

 

SMITH AT THE DOUBLE

Having missed the defeat in Leeds due to concussion, Smith returned as the series shifted across the Pennines to Manchester – and made up for lost time with another telling contribution with the bat.  England's plans to rough him up with the short ball failed to pay off as the right-hander made his third Ashes double hundred, in the process taking his tally past 500 runs for a third successive series.

Given a life when dismissed off a no ball from spinner Leach, the former skipper finished up with 211 out of Australia's 497-8 declared. England avoided having to follow-on in reply but 82 from Smith second time around left Root's side needing another Herculean fourth-innings performance to keep the series alive.

While Stokes failed to fire again, it appeared the great escape could be on when Leach combined with Somerset colleague Craig Overton to push the game into the final hour. Fearing another opportunity was set to go begging, Paine turned to Labuschagne's leg spin. The move paid off as he dismissed Leach, opening the door just wide enough for the excellent Josh Hazlewood to wrap up victory in fading light as the tourists moved 2-1 ahead.

 

A PAINE-FUL DECISION & JOE 90

Perhaps it was the fact the urn was already retained, almost akin to a last-day-of-school situation, that led to captain Paine opting to bowl first after winning the toss. England failed to fully capitalise on the opportunity, posting 294, but Smith only (only!) made 82 as Archer's second six-wicket haul in the series secured a useful first-innings lead.

Following a dash home after day one to see the birth of his daughter, England opener Joe Denly celebrated the new arrival with a Test-best score of 94, helping to set Australia plenty in the final innings on a worn surface.

Broad dismissed David Warner for a seventh time in 10 innings – the opener finished the series with 95 runs (only Hazlewood posted a lower average for the visitors than the left-hander's 9.50) – and when Smith fell into England’s leg-side trap, it was just a matter of when, not if, the hosts would triumph. Matthew Wade went down swinging with a hundred, but the topsy-turvy series ended level.

Steve Smith admitted he was "cooked" after helping Australia retain the Ashes with a 2-2 series draw against England.

Smith made his lowest score of the series – 23 – as the tourists slumped to a 135-run defeat in the fifth Test at The Oval on Sunday.

It gave England a 2-2 series draw, but that result was enough for Australia to retain the urn, with Smith awarded the Compton-Miller Medal as player of the series.

Smith, who made 774 runs at an average of 110.57 during the series, said he was exhausted.

"I guess it was a nice reception as I walked off. It would have been nice if I had a few more runs under my belt in this game as I walked off. It was a nice reception," he told a news conference.

"I've given it my all since I've been here, the last four and a half months and every Test match that we've played.

"I didn't have much left to give today, I'm pretty cooked to be honest, mentally and physically.

"I'm looking forward to a nice couple of weeks rest now before getting back into the Australian summer."

Smith carried Australia throughout the series despite missing the third Test due to concussion.

Australia captain Tim Paine said there was plenty of room for improvement from his team, acknowledging Smith's heroics.

"We've still got a way to go, Steve had an unbelievably good series and won us a couple of Tests by himself," he said.

"We've got some parts we need to improve but I think if we can click them into gear while we've got Steve at the height of his powers and the pace attack we've got then in the next few years we're going to be a very difficult team to beat."

Steve Smith insists he will continue to work to get better despite an outstanding series for Australia as they retained the Ashes in England.

Former captain Smith, making his Test return after a 12-month ban for his role in the team's ball-tampering scandal, was named the player of the series on Sunday after producing a number of sensational displays.

England earned a 2-2 draw by winning the fifth match at The Oval as Smith made just 23 in the second innings – by far his lowest total of the tour – yet his performances to that point had almost singlehandedly ensured the urn would return to Australia.

He scored 144 and 142 as Australia won the first Test at Edgbaston and then again starred in their second win, making 211 and 82 at Old Trafford in the fourth match.

Smith is not content to rest on his laurels following these efforts, though, determined he will do whatever he can to keep winning matches for Australia.

"Of course you always want to get better as a player," he said. "I'll continue to try to get better as long as I play.

"That's the key, I think. You've got to keep working hard. Nothing's ever too much, you've just got to keep working hard and try to do whatever you can to win the game for your team. I'll continue to do that as long as I can."

The ball-tampering scandal meant Smith was jeered by England fans throughout the tour, yet he received a standing ovation after being bowled out for the final time on Sunday.

"It meant a lot. It's been an amazing couple of months in England, with the World Cup and the Ashes. The cricket has been absolutely spectacular," he said.

"The series has ebbed and flowed throughout and there's been some terrific cricket played. I've loved every minute. I'm really proud to be able to perform for Australia and help to bring the urn home."

Australia came up 135 runs short of England in the fifth match, though, unable to secure even a fifth day as Smith rued his and his team-mates' failure to help Matthew Wade, who smashed 117.

"We thought the middle of the wicket still played pretty well and Matthew Wade showed that if you applied yourself and had really good plans and keep taking the game on, you can score runs," he added.

"He batted beautifully. Unfortunately, he didn't have many of us stick around with him long enough to help the team out.

"But England played some terrific cricket throughout this Test match and throughout this series as well. It's been great fun to be involved in."

England clinched the fifth and final Ashes Test by 135 runs on Sunday to draw the series in a fine response to Australia retaining the urn.

Another Steve Smith masterclass saw the tourists move 2-1 in front at Old Trafford to ensure the Ashes would be heading back to Australia, yet they could not end an 18-year wait for a series win in England.

Joe Root's side dominated at the Oval this week and Australia scarcely looked like troubling the target of 399 they were set when the hosts were bowled out early on day four.

Stuart Broad was in excellent form and, as well as continuing to dominate against the openers, he got the crucial wicket of Smith for a relatively paltry 23.

That set Australia up for a long, hard chase and Matthew Wade did the heavy lifting with a knock of 117.

But Root joined Broad and Co. in the attack and got Wade himself, as well as seeing his calls in the field - questioned earlier in the series - rewarded with good use of the other bowlers at his disposal.

Australia were struggling simply to see out the day and Root made catches from consecutive balls, giving England victory in their final match under Cricket World Cup-winning coach Trevor Bayliss.

Steve Smith finally fell cheaply to Stuart Broad and Joe Root struck to leave England needing five wickets to beat Australia and draw the series on day four of the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

Broad dismissed David Warner (11) for a record-equalling seventh time in the series and Marcus Harris (nine) after the tourists were set a mammoth 399 to win the series 3-1 on a glorious Sunday in London, with England all out for 329 early on.

Marnus Labuschagne fell to Jack Leach and Broad (3-40) ended the prolific Smith's run of 10 consecutive Ashes half-centuries, removing the former captain for 23 early in the afternoon session.

Root saw the back of Mitchell Marsh and although Matthew Wade was unbeaten on 60 at tea, Australia were 167-5 still needing another 232 to avoid failing to secure a first Ashes series win in England since 2001 a week after retaining the urn.

England added only 16 runs to their overnight total after resuming on 313-8, Jofra Archer gloving Pat Cummins (2-67) behind and Nathan Lyon (4-69) seeing the back of Leach to end the innings.

Broad smashed Cummins for two sixes into the leg side before Leach fell and the paceman did more damage with the ball to leave Australia in trouble on 29-2.

Australia's highest opening stand of 18 was ended when Harris – who needed seven stitches in his left hand after splitting the webbing when dropping Joe Denly on day two – lost his off stump to Broad.

Warner was unable to end a miserable series with the bat on a high note, edging a fired-up Broad to Rory Burns in the slips and departing to a chorus of boos.

Jonny Bairstow produced a sharp piece of work to stump Labuschagne (14) off Leach and Smith was given a standing ovation as he followed soon after lunch, Ben Stokes taking a fine diving catch at leg gully when the top-ranked batsman tried to steer Broad around the corner.

Marsh (24) failed to make Chris Woakes pay for overstepping when he edged to Burns, the all-rounder prodding Root to Jos Buttler at short-leg soon after that reprieve.

England wasted a view a review when they thought Tim Paine should have been given leg before facing Archer and Wade held them up with an attacking knock, striking nine boundaries in a fifth Test half-century.

Stuart Broad continued his dominance of David Warner as England took three wickets before lunch on day four at The Oval after Australia were set a mammoth 399 for a series victory.

England were bowled out for 329 early on a glorious Sunday in London, setting the tourists – already assured of retaining the urn – an unlikely target to secure a 3-1 triumph.

The wondrous Steve Smith was unbeaten 18 on at the end of the morning session, but Australia – seeking a first series win in England since 2001 – were up against it on 68-3 after losing Warner, Marcus Harris and Marnus Labuschagne.

Broad matched a Test record by dismissing Warner (11) for the seventh time in the series and also got rid of Harris (nine) before Jack Leach sent Labuschagne (14) on his way.

England added only 16 runs to their overnight total after resuming on 313-8, Jofra Archer gloving Pat Cummins (2-67) behind and Nathan Lyon (4-69) seeing the back of Leach to end the innings.

Broad smashed Cummins for two sixes into the leg side before Leach fell and the paceman did more damage with the ball to leave Australia in trouble on 29-2.

Australia's highest opening stand of 18 was ended when Harris – who needed seven stitches in his left hand after splitting the webbing when dropping Joe Denly on day two – lost his off stump to the paceman.

Warner was unable to end a miserable series with the bat on a high note, edging Broad to Rory Burns in the slips and departing to a chorus of boos.

The prolific Smith got off the mark with a glorious cover drive off Archer and was still there at lunch along with Matthew Wade (10no) after Labuschagne was smartly stumped by Jonny Bairstow when Leach got one to turn past his outside edge.

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