Australia captain Steve Smith has been doing wonders in the longest format of cricket for quite some time now, but in the ongoing Ashes series the 28-year-old has taken his game to a different level altogether. Smith has 604 runs against his name in the 6 innings of this Ashes series thus far, including three centuries and a fifty.
In the opening Ashes Test at Gabba, Smith played a match-defining knock of 141* which helped the hosts registered a comprehensive 10-wicket victory over England. The Australian captain then displayed his remarkable batting prowess in the third Test at Perth, where he recorded his second double ton in the 5-day game.
Smith’s marathon knock of 239 in WACA also saw him attain the joint second highest Test batting ratings (945) ever alongside England’s Len Hutton and only behind the legendary Australian batsman Sir Donald Bradman’s staggering tally of 961 rating points.
The Aussie skipper’s appetite though doesn’t faded away in the fourth Ashes Test as he became only the second batsman after Don Bradman to score centuries in four consecutive Tests at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). After missing out on scoring a ton in the first innings, Smith constructed a gritty 102 off 275 balls in the second innings to ensure a draw for Australia and thereby became the third quickest (110 innings) batsman after Sunil Gavaskar (109) and the certain Don Bradman (59 innings) to complete 23 Test centuries in fewest innings.
Seeing Smith’s batting prowess in Test cricket in recent times, India’s off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has lauded the Australian captain and also raised a question as how to get rid of him in such a fantastic form.
Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Bhajji wrote: “How do you get this guy out???????????Take a bow champion @stevesmith49 class ???????????????????????? what a player⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️???? ???? #Ashes2017 #ENGVSAUS”.
Recently, the great Australian captain Ricky Ponting had hailed Smith as better than some of the best players in the game at the moment.
“You look at the other better players in the world; India’s Virat Kohli is on a pretty high pedestal but then you look at Joe Root and Kane Williamson, as far as I’m concerned those guys don’t match up to Steven Smith and I’ve said that for a long time,” Ponting had told cricket.com.au.
“I even had England players come to me this morning saying ‘Just give us something on Smith. What are we going to bowl to Smith?’ And I said, ‘Look, one, I’m not going to tell you. And two, I don’t know anyway because it seems like he’s got every base covered’,” he further added.
The two times World Cup winning Australian captain also went on to say that if Smith was playing in the era of Timeless Tests, he would have batted forever.
“You look at his wagon wheel, he’s got boundaries almost all around the ground and there’s no obvious weakness and with his appetite for runs that he’s got he’ll just keep batting forever. Imagine him back in the day when there were Timeless Tests he would’ve just batted forever!” remarked Ponting.
The New South Wales born Smith is the only batsman in contemporary cricket to average over 60 in Test cricket. His batting average of 63.55 is second only to Bradman in terms of batsmen with at least 20 Test innings. As far as Smith’s overall Test numbers are concerned – the Australian captain has amassed 5974 Test runs in 60 matches, including 23 tons and 22 fifties.