In-form Smith sizzles again as clinical Aussies smash England to wrap up series under new skipper Hazlewood

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Australia have thrashed a listless England side for the second straight match as the reigning one-day champions again played like they were still hungover from Sunday night’s T20 World Cup final win.

Steve Smith has sounded another ominous warning ahead of the Test summer, continuing his scintillating form in Australia’s 8-280 against an embarrassing England outfit to win the second ODI at the SCG by 72 runs.

After declaring he felt the best he had in six years in the series opener on Thursday night in Adelaide, Smith hit 94 from 114 balls before perishing in the deep on Saturday in Sydney.

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The tourists got off to a terrible start in their run-chase with opener Jason Roy and first drop Dawid Malan ripped out by Mitchell Starc for a duck within the first over.

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They put 34 on the board before the third wicket fell, Phil Salt for 23, before James Vince and Sam Billings gave them a sniff of a hope with a 122-run partnership.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 19: Steve Smith of Australia bats during Game 2 of the One Day International series between Australia and England at Sydney Cricket Ground on November 19, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

(Photo by Matt King – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Vince was trapped in front for 60 by Josh Hazlewood, who had become Australia’s second new skipper in as many games, taking over from fellow paceman Pat Cummins as he was rested ahead of the Test summer after his ODI captaincy debut in game one at Adelaide.

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Billings (71), Moeen Ali (10) and Sam Curran (duck) departed in quick succession at the hands of Adam Zampa and the tail put up little resistance as England finished nowhere near their victory target. Starc returned to clean up the tail to finish with 4-47. Zampa picked up the last wicket to fall to also claim four.

Smith was measured and controlled throughout his innings but was furious with himself when he tried to take on Adil Rashid in the 44th over and found Phil Salt at long off.

Regardless, his innings showed the kind of touch he is in after adjusting his batting grip while also making less movement at the crease.

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The 33-year-old hit just two boundaries in his first 50 runs, bringing up his half-century off 70 balls, before accelerating against the spinners.

He worked the ball nicely through the legside and one occasion swept for four, before playing his best shot when he cover-drove Rashid to the boundary.

His knock also came as part of a 101-run stand with Marnus Labuschagne, whose 58 marked his first score above 15 in his past seven innings at state or international level.

Mitch Marsh also hit 50 off 58, after Australia’s momentum threatened to stall when Rashid (3-57) dismissed Labuschagne and Alex Carey (0) in consecutive balls.

Chris Woakes also bowled neatly for England, claiming 2-42 off his 10 overs as he removed both Travis Head (19) and Marcus Stoinis (13).

But still, the positive for Australia was Smith on a day when Hazlewood won the toss and batted while deputising as captain for Cummins for the first time.

Smith now has scores of 61, 105, 80no and 94 in his past four ODIs, barely offering a chance in those last two knocks before his dismissal on Saturday.

The right-hander will have one more hit against England in Melbourne on Tuesday, before Australia enter camp for the first Test against West Indies starting November 30.

In a worrying sign for the West Indies, Smith’s SCG knock came on the same day their Test attack conceded 4-426 against a combined ACT/NSW top order that had just one first-class game between them.



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