Steve Smith has been on song in England. With his performances and attitude, he has won the crowd over and perhaps single-handedly led Australia to glory.
Australia won the fourth Test at Manchester to at least retain the coveted urn and take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series and post-game, Smith expressed his delight at being able to win the Ashes in England.
"I've been here a few times when things haven't quite gone our way or we haven't performed to the best of our ability. To come back and get the urn here was always one to tick off my bucket list," Smith said in a post-match TV interview at Old Trafford.
Smith has been leading the way for the Aussies and has achieved Don Bradman-esque status during the ongoing Test series with his batting. The 28-year-old has already slammed 671 runs in five innings so far at an average of 134.20, including three centuries. Two of them came in a match-winning effort in the first Test.
Tim Paine, who replaced Smith as Australia's test captain last year, on Sunday described the No. 4 batsman as the "best player I have ever seen."
And Paine had a warning which Root's England is likely to take seriously ahead of the fifth test in cricket's oldest regular international series.
Smith "is just a genius and I never had any doubt he would come back and be the player he was," Paine said. "The scary thing is he's getting better."
On Sunday, however, it was the bowlers who did the damage.
England, who scored 301 in its first innings, resumed Day 5 on 18/2, went to lunch on 87-4 and tea on 166/6.
Jack Leach, who scored a 51-ball 12, was promoted to No. 10 and batted for an hour with England fans hoping for a repeat of his third test heroics, or even bad light.
Australia held on to the Ashes in England for the first time in 18 years. It thrashed England by 251 runs in the opening Test at Edgbaston, the second test at Lord's was drawn before England won at Headingley by one wicket to level the series 1-1.
"Bitterly disappointed," England captain Joe Root said, "to come so close to taking it to The Oval is quite hard to take."
(With inputs from AP)