He may not be Sir Donald Bradman, however Australia’s Steve Smith is potentially the closest replica to the former test great since the 1940’s. After a scandalous & controversial 2018 for Cricket Australia involving Steve Smith as the acting captain at the time, the 30-year-old has well & truly put that dark chapter in his life behind him with one of the most dominant batting displays in Ashes history.
It’s been a memorable Ashes series for Australia and Steven Smith in particular so far, England haven’t been able to bully the visitors like in the past where conditions tend to heavily-favor the hosts. Aiming to retain the Ashes after a dominant 4-0 series victory at home in 2017-18, the return of controversial-trio David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft gave the England supporters license to heckle (apparently).
While Warner and Bancroft have struggled to produce runs at the crease in the series, Steve Smith has been the complete-opposite. Smith’s return to test cricket at Edgbaston left English fans deflated, back-t0-back 140’s gifted the Aussies an early series-lead. Smith was awarded player of the match honors in what was a dream-return in the baggy green. It was more of the same at Lord’s where Smith looked to be outclassing England before Jofra Archer struck the Aussie No. 4 twice, once in forearm and a punishing-blow to the head-region. With concussion symptoms present, he still managed to score 92 before he was ruled out for the third test at Headingley.
England managed to make the most of Smith’s absence in Headingley, but only just thanks to a Ben Stokes masterclass in the dying stages of the match. With the series leveled at 1-1 apiece, Old Trafford was set to host an absolute blockbuster.
Surprise, surprise, it was Steve Smith who headlined the first day’s play alongside Marnus Labuschagne who continues to impress in this series. Labuschagne deserved a lot of the credit to before being knocked over by Craig Overton for 67. Unbeaten on 60 overnight, Steve Smith elevated his game to a whole new level on day two as he continued to chip away at the English bowlers who continue to have no answers for Australia’s most-dominant performer with the willow. It didn’t take long for Smith to raise his bat after reaching triple figures for the third time this series, what was to follow would leave both the English & Australian media outlets in a frenzy.
The right-handed Smith continued to express his extravagant leaves and stroke-play despite spending an enormous amount of time at the crease, England managed to capture to the wicket of Smith courtesy of Jack Leach who got Smith caught at slip. That was until the replay clearly showed that Leach had overstepped, NO BALL! Smith returned to the crease, and the rest is history. It was a costly miss for England as Australia’s batting-dynamo went on to score a clinical-211 before throwing his wicket away. Smith’s double-ton in the first innings at Old Trafford continues to rewrite the record books, he’s just recently achieved the No. 1 ICC test ranking as a batsman in the world overtaking India’s Virat Kohli and doesn’t look like slowing down either.
Smith’s stats in this Ashes series are simply out of this world, he’s scored 589 runs in just 4 outings and is averaging 147.25 with three hundreds to his name. Smith is now averaging over 63 in test cricket with the bat, 10 more than what Virat Kohli averages who is viewed as one of the greatest modern day batsman in the world.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.