The turning point of the Ashes came on the first day of the series: Smith

Certain moments shift the course of Ashes series. Ricky Ponting six weeks ago said Nathan Lyon produced the play of the series and on Monday n captain Steve Smith agreed.

Lyon’s run out of England batsman James Vince in Brisbane came on the first of 25 days of Ashes cricket this summer but was crucial for it ensured England did not go on and post a mammoth first innings total.

Vince, on 83 and on the cusp of a maiden Test ton, pushed a ball into the covers where Lyon swooped and threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end, much to the delight of teammates. It triggered an England collapse from a healthy 2-145 to all out 302, leaving the visitors in a vulnerable position.

Reflecting on a dominant 4-0 result, Smith said Lyon’s brilliance in the field was a turning point that put his side on the right trajectory.

“The moment that I think changed the whole series was Nathan Lyon and his run out at the Gabba – that was such a huge moment in the series,” Smith said. “Those sort of plays can change a series and I certainly think that was a series-changing moment.”

One moment alone cannot guarantee victory but the ability to change the course of a game goes a long way.

“We’ve been on top in some games, if not all the games at some stage, we’ve just not capitalised on the key moments,” said England seamer Jimmy Anderson. “If we kick on with the bat and get a big score in the first innings, then we put them under more pressure. We’ve just not been able to do it in those key moments. They’ve played those pressurised moments in those situations better than us.”

From Lyon’s defining moment of the series to perhaps one of the more humorous, Smith laughed off his theatrical display on day four when Shaun and Mitch Marsh looked like they could potentially be run out while celebrating the latter’s hundred.

Despite teammates celebrating around him, the image of an animated Smith yelling at the brothers to get back in their creases was one of the light-hearted moments of the summer.

“Looking back, it was quite funny,” Smith said. “When I’m watching or when I’m playing I’m sort of always in the moment. Watching the ball not going to the fence and seeing them start to hug in the middle just seemed a little bit bizarre. I just wanted both of them to get back in their ground and not get run out.

“Shaun came in the rooms after and I said ‘what happened there?’ He goes ‘I just wanted to hug him, I didn’t care about anything else, I just wanted to hug him’.

“It was a strange moment but a pretty special moment for the two brothers.”

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