Ashes 2019: Smith is the best we've ever seen, says emotional Paine

Tim Paine is in no doubt that Steve Smith is his generation's finest cricketer after his starring role in Australia's Ashes triumph.

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Australia's Steve Smith scored 293 runs in the Old Trafford Test.   -  Getty Images

Captain Tim Paine hailed team-mate Steve Smith as "clearly the best player we've seen" after Australia retained the Ashes on Sunday.

Australia moved 2-1 up in the series with one match to play following a 185-run win over England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

READ | Australia retains Ashes after Old Trafford triumph

Central to its success on English soil has been the stunning form of former skipper Smith, who lit up Manchester with 211 and 82 in his two innings.

Speaking to the BBC, Paine said: "He's clearly the best player we've seen; there's no doubt about that. His ability to go anywhere in the world and score runs against all types of attacks is just phenomenal."

A visibly emotional Paine praised the English crowds and says the atmosphere they created makes the victory even sweeter.

Australia arrived in England as holders of the Ashes urn, meaning that to retain it the away side only needed to avoid a series defeat.

 

"I didn't think it would be this emotional," Paine said. "I'm really proud of this group and how we bounced back from [defeat at] Headingley.

"The atmosphere, I was just saying to the guys, at every ground has been unbelievable.

"The noise they make here and the passion they have for cricket makes this moment all the more special.

"We're thrilled. This is what we came here to do, to take the Ashes home. We'll have a bloody good night tonight together and celebrate, but we'll be back on deck next week [for the fifth test at the Oval]. We want to win the Ashes 3-1."